E-scooter and e-bike users must take theory test soon

People waiting in line to dispose of their e-scooters last month. Owners of registered e-scooters receive $100 for early disposal of non-compliant devices. The Ministry of Transport has accepted all the recommendations made by the Active Mobility Adv
People waiting in line to dispose of their e-scooters last month. Owners of registered e-scooters receive $100 for early disposal of non-compliant devices. The Ministry of Transport has accepted all the recommendations made by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel, which include a minimum age requirement of 16 to ride e-scooters on public paths.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Code of conduct to be expanded to cover pedestrians, who should keep left while using footpaths

A code of conduct that currently focuses on mobility device users will be expanded to cover pedestrians, and will include guidelines such as encouraging them to keep left on footpaths.

In addition, users of e-scooters and power-assisted bicycles, also called electric bicycles, will soon need to go for a theory test before they are allowed to ride their devices in public.

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) made these announcements yesterday in accepting all the recommendations made by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel.

The panel submitted the recommendations, which seek to improve the safety of pedestrians and active mobility device users, on Sept 27.

Other recommendations by the panel include compulsory third-party liability insurance for those who use e-scooters in their work, a minimum age requirement of 16 years to ride e-scooters on public paths, and banning the use of mobile phones when riding an active mobility device.

The ministry said the recommendations are timely and will complement existing efforts to improve path and road safety. It said the Government will work closely with the panel to implement the recommendations.

On the code of conduct, the ministry said it is meant to encourage people to share paths safely.

"We will expand the current code of conduct, which focuses on device users, to include guidelines to encourage pedestrians to keep left, keep to footpaths and for all path users to be alert to their surroundings," it said.

An MOT spokesman said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is looking into implementation details and will announce more details in due course.

SHARING PATHS SAFELY

We will expand the current code of conduct, which focuses on device users, to include guidelines to encourage pedestrians to keep left, keep to footpaths and for all path users to be alert to their surroundings.

MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT

In a Facebook post, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min thanked members of the panel for their collective wisdom "to make difficult but balanced recommendations".

The panel had recommended that e-scooter users be required to take the mandatory theory test amid mounting safety concerns about the use of the devices.

The ministry said it has also accepted the Active Mobility Advisory Panel's recommendation to make third-party liability insurance compulsory for those who ride e-scooters in the course of their work.

"The Government accepts the recommendation and will extend the requirement on businesses to cover all other active mobility device users, including users of bicycles, power-assisted bicycles and personal mobility aids," MOT said in a statement.

  • Measures to be implemented

  • THEORY TEST

    Owners of e-scooters and power-assisted bicycles will have to take a compulsory theory test before they are allowed to ride their devices in public.

    THIRD-PARTY LIABILITY INSURANCE 

    Businesses which have workers using active mobility devices for work will be required to buy third-party liability insurance for the workers. Active mobility devices include electric bicycles, bicycles, personal mobility aids and e-scooters.

    The Government will also work with the Active Mobility Advisory Panel to consider whether the insurance should be made compulsory for other device users.

    MINIMUM AGE 

    Riders must be at least 16 years old to use an e-scooter on cycling paths. Those below age 16 can use the devices only under adult supervision.

    MOBILE PHONE USE

    Users of active mobility devices will not be allowed to use their mobile phones while riding their devices in public, unless the phones are used in a hands-free manner.

    CODE OF CONDUCT FOR ALL PATH USERS

    A code of conduct on how all path users can share paths safely will be introduced. This will include guidelines to encourage pedestrians to keep left and keep to footpaths, and for all path users to be alert to their surroundings.

    Toh Ting Wei

There were about 100,000 registered e-scooters in Singapore as of last month, but the circumstances surrounding the devices have changed significantly since.

E-scooters are now banned from footpaths, and can be used only on the 440km of cycling paths islandwide. The LTA will expand this network to 750km by 2025, and triple the current distance by 2030.

Following the e-scooter ban from footpaths, about 7,000 food delivery riders from the three major food delivery companies were given the option to tap a $7 million grant to switch to devices including e-bicycles.

The grant is separate from a scheme which has owners of registered e-scooters receiving $100 for early disposal of devices that are not compliant with UL2272 standards and may be a fire hazard. Owners have filed more than 14,000 applications for this incentive.

Mr Denis Koh, an Active Mobility Advisory Panel member and chairman of PMD enthusiast group Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, said: "The Government has been relooking the safety aspects and made a decision (on the footpath ban).

"But after the dust settles we still need to move forward, so this is one way of doing so. It is a continuous process of finding the right balance."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2019, with the headline 'E-scooter and e-bike users must take theory test soon'. Print Edition | Subscribe