Panel seeks to register electric scooters

On average, there are about three accidents a week involving users of mobility devices like e-scooters.
On average, there are about three accidents a week involving users of mobility devices like e-scooters. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

It submits proposal to Transport Ministry amid rising number of reckless riders

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

The Active Mobility Advisory Panel said some action is needed given the increasing number of e-scooter riders who endanger themselves and others by riding recklessly.

Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who chairs the body, said yesterday 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," said Prof Faishal, who is Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education, and Social and Family Development.

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

But it also recommended in its letter to Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan that the situation be monitored, and to assess if further measures are needed.

The panel added that motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters used by the elderly and disabled should be exempted from registering. The Land Transport Authority started registering electric, or power-assisted, bicycles last August.

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

The 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 included mandating that such devices adhere to weight, width and speed restrictions - was adopted into the Active Mobility Act, which takes effect this year.

Registration for e-scooters was not on the cards then. But the growing danger of e-scooters has prompted a rethink, with Mr Khaw asking the advisory panel to review the rules.

On average, there are about three accidents a week involving users of mobility devices like e-scooters.

There were 110 accidents between January and September last year, 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. The Secondary 4 student said: "I ride safely and only on pavements. I hope the registration won't cost too much."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2018, with the headline 'Panel seeks to register electric scooters'. Print Edition | Subscribe