Personal mobility devices

Freewheeling days of scooting set to end soon

Speed, weight limits of 25kmh, 20kg proposed by Active Mobility Advisory Panel expected to become law soon

A pedestrian walks past a man travelling on an e-scooter on the pavement at Pasir Ris Drive 1.
A pedestrian walks past a man travelling on an e-scooter on the pavement at Pasir Ris Drive 1. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

Electric scooters are growing in popularity here, with some stores selling hundreds a month even though certain models may be outlawed at the end of the year.

In March, the Active Mobility Advisory Panel recommended that criteria for permitted personal mobility devices (PMDs) should include a 25kmh top speed and maximum weight of 20kg .

Its recommendations are expected to become law soon.

However, the Speedway 3 and Dualtron models - both of which can reach speeds of 45kmh - are for sale online and in stores. The latter also weighs over 25kg.

On e-commerce websites such as Carousell, other models are advertised as having top speeds of 55kmh. People who continue to use such devices run the risk of being fined in the future.

While the Land Transport Authority's Active Mobility Enforcement Team has stopped 700 cyclists and PMD users for unsafe riding since May, it has not yet been able to issue penalities.

In September, 53-year-old housewife Ang Liu Kiow needed brain surgery after being hit by an e-scooter in Pasir Ris.

The scooters can be ridden on pavements but are illegal on roads.

Chairman of enthusiast group Big Wheel Scooters Singapore Denis Koh said shops selling e-scooters that go faster than 25kmh may have to modify them to restrict their speeds.

"Those who currently own faster e-scooters might also have to bring them back to the retailers to have their speeds capped," said Mr Koh, who sat on the Active Mobility Advisory Panel.

Some shops have started initiatives to educate users in safe riding.

Personal mobility device retailer Mobot held an e-scooter safe rider contest yesterday at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, which required contestants to negotiate courses similar to those in car driving tests.

E-scooter shop Falcon PEV is considering having customers take a required test before buying its products, which would include questions on speed limits and what to do when approaching crowds or traffic lights.

Some users feel the recommended regulations are too stringent.

"Faster speeds help when going up hills," said facilities officer Alvin Chng, 34, who added that he normally keeps to 20kmh when travelling on his Speedway 3.

Others said they can ride safely even on the faster models.

Mr Michael Soh, who also rides a Speedway 3, said he observes safe riding practices, such as dismounting when he approaches crowds or young children.

Said the 35-year-old technical officer: "We're not here to be a nuisance to anyone."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2016, with the headline 'Freewheeling days of scooting set to end soon '. Subscribe