E-scooters were banned from footpaths from Tuesday (5 November), following an announcement by Senior Minister of State for Transport Dr Lam Pin Min the day before, a move that will see E-scooters confined to 440km of cycling paths islandwide. Errant users will be given warnings till 31 December, before beefing up to a “zero-tolerance” approach from 2020. While the ban is only on E-scooters, it is expected to extend to other motorised personal mobility devices (PMDs) next year.
What led to this?
PMDs have proliferated across the island in recent years, especially E-scooters which many, including food delivery workers, have used to commute conveniently. The Active Mobility Act came into force on May 2018, regulating for a safer sharing of public paths among various users, including those with PMDs. The Act stipulates users to ride on footpaths at speeds no more than 10km/h, with other regulations on weight limit, top speed and compliance to the UL2272 fire safety certification. However, these did not stop errant users, who were frequently caught flouting the rules. According to SCDF, there were a total of 54 reported fires involving PMDs from January to June this year. There were also a total of 761 PMD-related offences in August this year, with hospitals seeing a spike in the number of patients involved in PMD-related incidents. Public scrutiny reached a zenith in September, when a 65-year old woman died after colliding with a PMD that was riding above the speed limit. An online petition to ban PMDs and e-bikes here gained traction following the case, with more than 75,000 signatures.
Responses after the announcement
Many pedestrians are lauding the ban while other e-scooter users, most notably food delivery riders, are lamenting the lack of cycling paths and the sudden nature of the ban. About 30 food delivery riders met Mr K. Shanmugam at his Meet-the-People Session to voice their concerns. Meanwhile, NParks also reminded E-scooter users that riding on the grass alongside sidewalks could also be fined up to S$5,000 under the Parks and Trees Act.