Mandatory online theory test for e-scooter, e-bike riders to cost $5 till Sept 30

The new laws will enable the authorities to implement a single theory test for PAB riders on both roads and cycling paths. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - E-scooter and electric bicycle riders will pay $5 for two attempts of a mandatory online theory test that will start from June 30.

This rate will apply till Sept 30. Subsequently, each attempt will cost $10.

Providing these details on Tuesday (May 11) during a debate on proposed changes to the Road Traffic Act, Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor said the test will be conducted online in the four official languages.

Special provisions can be made on a case-by-case basis for those who are less digitally savvy or literate to take the test in other formats like an oral test, she added.

E-bikes, also known as power-assisted bicycles (PABs), are allowed on roads, cycling paths and shared paths such as park connectors. They are banned from footpaths.

The new laws passed on Tuesday will enable the authorities to implement a single theory test for PAB riders on both roads and cycling paths.

The changes also include stiffer measures to tackle illegal street racing, road rage, the obstruction of justice in road traffic incidents, and motorcycle helmet safety. These include harsher penalties and the creation of new offences.

The debate saw 13 MPs raise concerns about whether the PAB theory test would be accessible and affordable, especially for seniors and those who use PABs for work.

Labour MP Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC) said: "We must not forget that a day a delivery rider does not have a competency certificate translates into a day without income."

In response, Dr Khor said the initial $5 fee is a discounted rate to encourage more to take the test sooner.

She also assured MPs that there will be an adequate transition period for riders to complete the test before enforcement kicks in. More details will be given in June, she added.

The registration process, including for those retaking the test, will also be kept simple with minimal turnaround time, she said. Once riders pass the test, they will be issued with a digital certificate, which will be valid for life.

Dr Khor said the authorities will have the means to verify whether a certificate has been unlawfully manipulated.

Under the new laws, it is an offence to ride a PAB on roads without passing the theory test.

It will also be an offence for companies and individuals to employ, or intentionally or negligently allow, a person to ride a PAB on roads if he or she has not passed the theory test.

For both offences, first-time offenders can be fined up to $2,000, jailed for up to six months, or both. Repeat offenders can be find up to $5,000, jailed for up to a year, or both.

Dr Khor said the Land Transport Authority will work with NTUC, food delivery companies and interest groups to raise awareness and ensure riders are certified before they ride.

Responding to Mr Darryl David (Ang Mo Kio GRC) who asked if PAB riders may need a simplified practical test or some basic practical training before being allowed on roads, she said the authorities will update the testing requirements if necessary.

But there is a need to balance this against how onerous the regime will be, she added.

"This is not a licensing regime... Instead, it is a one-time theory test, which will ensure that riders are familiar with active mobility rules, regulations, and codes of conduct."

Mr Choo, Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC) and Ms Yeo Wan Ling (Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC) called on delivery platforms to take more responsibility for their riders, and asked for a review of the payout and reward systems used by these firms.

Nominated MP Abdul Samad said more can be done to ensure vocational PAB riders who are self-employed or freelancers are compensated for work-related injuries.

The issue of safe cycling was also raised, with Mr Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang) suggesting enhanced legislation and creating more dedicated lanes by reclaiming road lanes.

Workers' Party MP Raeesah Khan (Sengkang GRC) said future infrastructure should also factor in the needs of cyclists with disabilities.

Meanwhile, fellow WP MP Dennis Tan (Hougang) urged the Government to get Singapore's riding culture right once and for all.

"Consistent enforcement must go beyond occasional or even weekly spot checks in selected spots and public education must go beyond just safe riding courses or online publicity," he said. "It will boil down to political will. We should not be half-hearted about this."

Dr Khor said promoting safe cycling has been an ongoing effort that the LTA has devoted a lot of attention and resources to over the years.

She added: "Road safety has to be a collective effort from all road users, to play their part by driving and riding safely, to be considerate to one another, and to do their part to build up a safe riding culture."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.