SINGAPORE - Fewer notices to pay fines or attend court were issued to errant electric bicycle and electric scooter riders here in January and February.
This came after the authorities began checking whether such riders have passed a mandatory theory test that was rolled out in June last year, Transport Minister S. Iswaran said on Monday (April 4).
But given the Covid-19 pandemic's impact on enforcement resources, it is still too early to tell whether the test has led to fewer errant riders, he said.
"LTA (the Land Transport Authority) will continue to monitor closely to assess the impact more accurately," he added, without specifying how Covid-19 has affected enforcement.
In a written parliamentary reply to Mr Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC), Mr Iswaran said an average of 350 notices were issued each month to errant riders in January and February for offences such as speeding and reckless riding.
This is 17 per cent lower than the 420 notices issued each month in 2021 on average.
Since the start of this year, all e-scooter and e-bike riders must pass the mandatory theory test before they can use public paths.
A digital certificate, with no expiry date, is issued to those who pass the test.
Since January, about 120 notices have been issued to those who ride without valid theory test certification. Those caught can be fined up to $2,000, jailed for up to six months, or both, for the first offence.
Mr Iswaran said more than 31,000 e-bike and e-scooter riders have passed the theory test as at March 15, a significant number when viewed against the roughly 40,000 e-scooters and e-bikes registered here.
As at the end of 2021, there were 6,388 registered e-scooters, down from the peak of about 100,000 in November 2019, and 33,453 registered e-bikes.
LTA has implemented various initiatives to encourage e-bike and e-scooter riders to take and pass the test, such as offering a discounted test fee of $5 from June to December 2021, Mr Iswaran said.
The $5 fee, which was subject to the 7 per cent goods and services tax, also covered one free re-attempt in case a rider failed the test.
Riders were supposed to pay $10 per test attempt after Sept 30, but the discount was extended by three months.
LTA also provided materials to help riders prepare for the test, and worked with the National Trades Union Congress, food delivery companies and interest groups to raise awareness and ensure that riders obtained their theory test certification.
Meanwhile, both the Traffic Police and LTA carry out enforcement operations day and night across the 9,500 lane-km of roads and close to 6,000km of footpaths and cycling paths islandwide, Mr Iswaran added.
LTA is augmenting its enforcement capabilities with technology, such as closed-circuit cameras, and through public feedback via the MyTransport app.
The Ministry of Transport said Mr Iswaran's reply was also partly in response to a letter published in The Straits Times' Forum page last Thursday from a reader who claimed to have observed many traffic offences occur daily and blamed it on the lack of surveillance and enforcement by the authorities.