Advisory panel recommends registration for electric scooters

E-scooter users may have to register their devices in the future, if the Government accepts an advisory panel's recommendation to license them.
E-scooter users may have to register their devices in the future, if the Government accepts an advisory panel's recommendation to license them. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Electric scooter users may have to register their devices if an expert panel's recommendation is accepted. .

The Active Mobility Advisory Panel said action is needed given the increasing number of e-scooter riders driving in a inconsiderate and reckless manner, endangering themselves as well as other path users.

Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who chairs the body, said on Thursday (Feb 22) that it has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Transport (MOT) to regulate e-scooters.

"This will increase e-scooter user responsibility and facilitate enforcement against errant e-scooter users," he wrote in a Facebook post.

"This is something we are very concerned about. We cannot allow these errant riders to cause harm and compromise the safety of other path and road users."

Prof Faishal is also the GRC MP for Nee Soon and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Social and Family Development.

Registration of other personal mobility devices such as electric hoverboards and unicycles is not required, the panel said, because "their usage is less widespread and their speeds are lower when used".

But the panel recommended in its letter to Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan that the situation be monitored, and the need for further measures for these devices to be assessed.

Motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters used by the elderly and disabled should also be exempted, the panel added.

An MOT spokesman said it is reviewing the panel's recommendations.

The 14-member Active Mobility Advisory Panel was formed in 2015 to develop a set of rules governing the use of footpaths and cycling paths by cyclists and users of personal mobility devices.

The panel's initial set of guidelines - which mandated that such devices adhere to weight, width and speed restrictions - was adopted into the Active Mobility Act, which takes effect later this year.

Registration for e-scooters was not on the cards then.

Former Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo said in Parliament in October 2016 that registration and compulsory insurance would be "too onerous and costly" for the vast majority of safe and responsible users.

However, the growing danger of e-scooters has prompted a rethink, with Mr Khaw asking the advisory panel to review the rules and regulations.

There is an average of about three accidents a week involving users of mobility devices like e-scooters.

There were 110 accidents between January and September last year (2017), with about 30 of them occurring on public paths between pedestrians and a mobility device.

The rest took place at road junctions and on roads when users were illegally riding parallel to vehicle traffic.

Toa Payoh resident William Liau, 60, wants e-scooters registered: "Some of the riders go very fast and close to pedestrians. I think riders should have a minimum age, perhaps of 18 years and above."

E-scooter rider Rukaini Danial, 16, felt it would be unfair if all e-scooters had to be registered just because of a few errant users.

Mr Danial, a Secondary Four student, added: "I ride safely and only on pavements. I hope the registration won't cost too much."

Last November a 52-year-old e-scooter user was killed in a collision with a double-decker bus in Kaki Bukit.

And an 18-year-old rider was charged last October with allegedly hitting a 54-year-old woman in Pasir Ris with his e-scooter, leaving her with life-threatening injuries and putting her in a coma for a month. The accident occurred in September 2016.