Singapore—In the wake of the ban last month that disallows e-scooter riders from using their devices on public footpaths, new rules have been set for both e-scooter riders and electric bicycle riders, that will precede their being allowed to take to roads and bike lanes.
Senior Minister of State for Transport, Dr Lam Pin Min, summarized these new restrictions in a Facebook post:
1) Mandate that businesses procure third-party liability insurance to cover all active mobility devices (e.g. e-scooter, bicycle, power-assisted bicycle and personal mobility aid etc.) users who ride in the course of work.
2) Mandate that e-scooter and power-assisted bicycle users pass a theory test before they are allowed to ride on cycling paths, and on both cycling paths and roads, respectively.
3) Introduce a requirement that e-scooter users must be at least 16 of age.
4) Ban the use of mobile phones when riding any active mobility device unless the mobile phone is mounted or used in a hands-free manner.
5) Introduce a Code of Conduct for all path users on how to share paths safely and responsibly.
The ban on e-scooters on public footpaths, announced in Parliament on November 4, as well as the latest restrictions that have followed it, was put in place due to concerns over public safety, as the numbers of accidents involving PMDs (Personal Mobility Devices) have gone up, with one fatality in September when an elderly woman on a bicycle collided with a PMD user.
While some PMD users, especially food delivery riders whose incomes and livelihoods have been threatened by the ban, voiced their dissatisfaction with it, there has been a trade-in scheme from the Government worth S$7 million that has sought to mitigate its effects on affected parties.
Another new regulation is that the businesses that make use of e-scooters are new required to get third-party liability insurance for their employees who use these devices for work, which would prepare for all e-scooter users to obtain mandatory insurance, Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reports the Ministry of Transport as saying.
Companies will need to get third-party liability insurance for all mobility device users—including the ones on e-bikes and personal mobility aids such as motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Aside from this PMD riders are now forbidden from using their cellphones while they are on roads and bike paths, unless these are used “hands-free” or if the mobile phones are mounted.
All of the above were recommended by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel, and were submitted to Singapores Minister of Transport, Khaw Boon Wan, three months ago.
Dr Lam said on his Facebook post, “The active mobility landscape has undergone much change recently, in our continuous effort to make public paths safer,” noting also the feedback that the public has given. He added that the Government would collaborate with the panel for the recommendations to be implemented.
The panel already recommended in 2018 that speed limits on footpaths be decreased and that e-scooters should be required to be registered, both of which the Government later implemented. -/TISG