E-scooters. Common understanding around the world pegs it as an affordable short-range mobility device that gets you from point to point in a jiffy, much faster than cycling and even driving.
Not for Singaporeans though. Common sight in our country recently, users of these devices range from food delivery riders to your 9 to 5 office worker, and to less commonly, the reason for this article, the garang & reckless rider.
Sure, e-scooters creates a positive environment for many. For example, delivery riders without a driving/motorcycle license can choose to ride these devices without breaking a sweat as compared to cycling, thus creating jobs for them. However, it also be a bane to society when accidents like this happen.
Worry no more! Authorities have decided to clamp down on PMD (Personal Mobility Device) users, HARD. Some of these rules apply to cyclists as well, so if you have been cycling as a means of transportation or for leisure, the information is good to know!
Here are 5 facts that we have gathered from the latest rules published by LTA.
1. E-scooters are not allowed on roads at all times
You might have come across a video where a man was caught on camera keeping up to speed with a public bus and then overtaking it on Mandai Road.
We can even forgive you if you thought that riding the device on highways, like this man did on the PIE.
However unaware you may be, PMDs are not allowed on roads at all times, even if it is in the wee hours of the morning with no vehicles in sight.
You think no one is watching, but think again. The authorities are everywhere.
2. Harsher penalties for errant riders
Hit-and-run accidents are not cool.
Like this accident involving an ex-national runner who was cycling alone at 6:15am who got knocked down by a vehicle. Different devices, same context.
Or this incident involving an elderly lady at Ang Mo Kio.
Deciding not to help accident victims after knocking them down? Consequences are dire, with a fine of up to $3000, a year in prison or even both.
Haven’t learnt your lesson and got yourself involved in another hit & run accident? When you get caught, you will be fined up to $5000 or jailed up to 2 years, or even both.
Just don’t even try.
3. Max weight & width for PMDs
Gone are the days when owning a mobility device meant having a simple & lightweight bicycle for you to cycle from one point to another without much effort.
As compared to what we have in modern times, cycling seemed like a graceful act of using raw leg power to get to your destination as efficiently as possible.
Nowadays, the flashier, the heavier and the bigger your PMD is, the cooler and the more ‘hustle’ you have on the footpaths in Singapore. Getting to your destination is still the main objective, but you want to get there in style with lots of attention on you.
Ever got hit by a 92kg E-scooter? Neither have we, or never will we want to.
With new rules by LTA in place, devices have to measure to standards set by LTA so as to reduce collision risk and injury severity if they should ever occur.
4. PMDs to conform with fire safety standards by 2021
Splashed a cool thousand dollars on your new ride, feeling like you have made a good investment for your work commute the next 5 years?
Think again. With the new PMD rules comes the need for all models of PMDs, especially e-scooters in Singapore to be compliant to the standard set by LTA. The ruling follows the UL2272 Certification that is widely used by a well-known company called Segway.
With the new and mandatory certification in place, owners and vendors of e-scooters must get all existing stock of e-scooters to be certified by 2021, or risk breaking the law.
5. Speed limit to be cut to 10km/h on footpaths for PMDs and cyclists
Ever felt how annoying it is to have a cyclist behind you on a footpath constantly ringing their bell to warn you of their presence, and then overtake you dangerously? We feel you.
Starting 2019, the speed limit for cyclists cycling on footpaths would be cut to 10km/h, from the 15km/h allowed.
The cut is even more drastic for motorised devices like PMD’s as the old ruling’s speed was 25km/h. Ouch.
The rationale for LTA doing so is to allow PMD users, cyclists and pedestrians enough time to react in unforeseen & common circumstances like the first paragraph.
With all the above rules coming into place sooner, rather or later, it has become more apparent that the authorities are taking a harsher stand towards errant PMD riding due to accidents that have left several victims injured; some with no way to claim medical fees from the perpetrators.
However, we feel that more can be done to deter errant riding other than imposing the usual fines and risk of imprisonment. The latter is aimed at addressing only the symptoms of a widespread problem, but not getting to the root of it. What would you suggest? Leave your comments below!