E-scooter registration: Proposal 'too blunt' a step

A recommendation has been submitted to the Ministry of Transport by an expert committee - the Active Mobility Advisory Panel - to require all e-scooters here to be registered. The ministry said it is reviewing the panel's proposal.
A recommendation has been submitted to the Ministry of Transport by an expert committee - the Active Mobility Advisory Panel - to require all e-scooters here to be registered. The ministry said it is reviewing the panel's proposal.

Interest groups, retailers say only heavier and faster devices should be regulated

Requiring all electric scooter riders to register their devices may be too blunt and heavy-handed a measure, said interest groups and retailers yesterday.

They say e-scooter users are a diverse group, ranging from commuters who use the devices for first-and last-mile journeys, to leisure riders, to elderly folk who are less mobile.

There is also a wide range of e-scooter models, and it is only the heavier and faster ones which pose a danger and should be regulated, some also argued.

These responses come a day after an expert committee submitted a recommendation to the Ministry of Transport (MOT) to require all e-scooters here to be registered.

The Active Mobility Advisory Panel said there is an increasing number of errant riders who are endangering themselves and others, and regulation will "increase e-scooter user responsibility and facilitate enforcement" against reckless users. MOT said it is reviewing the panel's proposal.

Industry players estimate that there are between 30,000 and 100,000 e-scooters. Those sold here cost anywhere from $300 to over $7,000.

Mr Arif Abdul Hamid, 45, administrator of interest group Singapore Inokim Riders, said: "The black sheep (riders), who are using bigger and faster e-scooters which do not meet the authorities' specifications, are creating a problem."

Mr Arif reckons that the bulk of users have compliant e-scooters - adhering to the maximum weight of 20kg and top speed of 25kmh - which they use to travel a few kilometres from home to the MRT station before boarding the train.

Mr James Ng, 42, founder of the Electric Kick Scooter Singapore interest group, said he has no issues with mandatory registration of e-scooters.

But he hopes that if the authorities require registration, they will allow for heavier devices above the 20kg limit, which he claims are safer and more stable. "Heavier scooters, for example, can have wider tyres and better braking systems," Mr Ng added.

The managing director of e-scooter maker Mobot, Mr Ifrey Lai, is against registering e-scooters. To curb errant riding, Mr Lai, 48, said the authorities should clamp down on retailers selling non-compliant e-scooters, or legislate that dealers cannot import illegal ones.

Members of the public who were in favour of registering e-scooters said third-party insurance should be mandatory too, and riders should be put through training.

Mr Lee Joo Mong, 64, a resident technical officer, said: "Instead of allowing them to learn through trial and error about safety, proper training would be much safer. Many of them currently expect pedestrians on the footpath to give way."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2018, with the headline 'E-scooter registration: Proposal 'too blunt' a step'. Print Edition | Subscribe