Ride on drain covers? You may face fine, jail term

This screengrab from a video posted on Facebook shows a PMD user riding on the drain covers beside a footpath.
This screengrab from a video posted on Facebook shows a PMD user riding on the drain covers beside a footpath. PHOTO: LEONARDO CLYDE ALFONSO/ FACEBOOK

Electric scooter users should not ride their devices on drain covers or gratings as they try to find a loophole in the ban on e-scooters on footpaths.

That is the recommendation of the national water agency PUB, which is responsible for drains, in response to queries by The Sunday Times.

"PUB does not recommend riding PMDs (personal mobility devices) on drain gratings, which are an essential part of the drainage system that ensure effective storm water management," the agency said on Friday.

"Damaging any drain or storm water drainage system is considered an offence under the Sewerage and Drainage Act. Those convicted may be fined up to $40,000 or jailed up to three months, or both," it added.

A 23-second-long video posted online by Facebook user Leonardo Clyde Alfonso following the ban's implementation last Tuesday shows a PMD user riding on the drain covers that border a footpath.

When the rider is stopped by the person filming him, he says: "Government never say drain cannot."

Several PMD users had also attempted to get around the ban by riding their devices on grass patches alongside footpaths.

 
 
 

But the National Parks Board said last Tuesday that PMD users should not ride on the green verges beside footpaths without permission. If convicted of doing so, they can be fined up to $5,000.

The ban on riding e-scooters on footpaths was announced in Parliament last Monday, following public safety concerns surrounding the use of such devices.

 

Those caught flouting the rules can be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed for up to three months if they are convicted.

The authorities have said they will mainly issue warnings to errant riders from now until the end of the year, but will adopt a zero-tolerance approach from next year.

On Friday, the Transport Ministry announced a $7 million grant to help food delivery riders replace their e-scooters, in response to concerns from such riders that the ban would jeopardise their livelihood.

Under the scheme, food delivery riders who trade in their existing e-scooters will each get up to $1,000 to buy a power-assisted bicycle, or $600 for a conventional bicycle.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 10, 2019, with the headline 'Ride on drain covers? You may face fine, jail term'. Print Edition | Subscribe