38 caught riding PMDs on roads since start of year

ST VIDEO: LIM YAOHUI
Users of personal mobility devices who were caught riding on the road yesterday had their devices seized and face a fine of $300. The joint enforcement operation by the Land Transport Authority and Traffic Police was conducted in the industrial area
Users of personal mobility devices who were caught riding on the road yesterday had their devices seized and face a fine of $300. The joint enforcement operation by the Land Transport Authority and Traffic Police was conducted in the industrial area of Loyang Drive.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Eleven nabbed in two hours in Loyang Drive after stiffer penalties kicked in yesterday

On the morning that stiffer penalties kicked in for users of personal mobility devices (PMD) riding on roads, 11 people were nabbed doing this in just two hours in Loyang Drive.

Each had his device seized, and faced a fine of $300 for reckless riding.

With PMDs becoming more popular, it marked the start of a tougher regime to rein in risks on the road posed by errant users.

Already, 38 PMD users have been nabbed riding on roads in the weeks since the new year began. This is up sharply from just 22 for the same period last year, and almost as high as the monthly average for last year - 40.

As The Straits Times witnessed a joint enforcement operation by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Traffic Police in the industrial area of Loyang Drive yesterday morning, several PMD users were seen riding on the road, when they are only allowed to be on the pavement.

Some were taken aback when stopped by officers, who were spread out along the road, and slapped with hefty fines.

Others could be seen swerving back onto the pedestrian paths once they spotted the enforcement officers at work.

Mr Murugan Gurusamy, a 45-year-old quality inspector, was caught crossing the road on his e-scooter. He said he did not know that stiffer penalties had kicked in yesterday morning.

Those caught riding on minor roads now face a fine of $300 for the first offence, $500 for the second offence and $800 for subsequent offences.

Those found riding on major roads face a $500 fine for the first offence, $800 for the second offence and $1,000 for subsequent offences.

PMD users found riding on expressways will be charged in court. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of a $2,000 fine and a jail term of three months.

The fine was previously $100 for the first offence, $200 for the second offence and $500 for subsequent offences on all roads.

To remind users that riding on the roads is an offence, banners have been placed on lamp posts at 175 locations across the island.

The number of enforcement officers has also increased, from 24 in June last year to more than 50 currently.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan revealed in Parliament earlier this month that there were about 110 accidents involving PMDs between January and September last year, more than 70 per cent of which occurred on roads.

Mr Khaw also said the Active Mobility Advisory Panel will review the current code of conduct and regulations on the use of PMDs. The panel drew up the guidelines on PMD use that were incorporated into the Active Mobility Act passed in January last year.

To encourage greater awareness of safe riding, LTA will be rolling out a Safe Riding Programme from Feb 1 at places such as schools, community clubs and foreign worker dormitories.

The 90-minute voluntary programme aims to help both cyclists and PMD riders better understand how to ride safely. It will include theory and practical components, and will be conducted on a training circuit.

The programme will be mandatory for reckless riders once the Active Mobility Act goes into effect, which is expected to happen later this year.

On his Facebook page yesterday, Senior Parliamentary Secretary Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who chairs the Active Mobility Advisory Panel, encouraged PMD users to attend the new programme.

"While we rely on enforcement efforts to deter reckless behaviour and illegal use of PMDs, I believe that public education is equally important to help users understand the importance of safety, and to have greater consideration for others," he said.

Though his e-scooter, which cost him $1,400, was impounded, Mr Murugan acknowledged that the regulations were in place for the safety of all road users. He added: "I guess I will have to take the public bus to work for now."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2018, with the headline '38 caught riding PMDs on roads since start of year'. Print Edition | Subscribe