SINGAPORE: New restrictions on electric scooters in Singapore will come into place after the Government said on Wednesday (Dec 4) it has accepted all recommendations put forward by a panel studying the use of the devices.
No start date has been announced for the implementation of the regulations, which include a minimum age of 16 for e-scooter users to ride on cycling paths. Those under the age of 16 will have to be supervised by adults.
Before riding on cycling paths, e-scooter users will also have to pass a theory test – a requirement which will be extended to electric bicycle users before they are allowed to ride on cycling paths and the roads.
The latest restrictions come after e-scooters were banned from Singapore's footpaths on Nov 5, with offenders facing fines of up to S$2,000 and jail time of up to three months once the ban is strictly enforced from 2020.
The ban followed a rise in the number of accidents involving e-scooters, including a fatal collision involving an elderly cyclist in September.
Several days after the ban came into effect, the Government launched a S$7 million programme to encourage food delivery riders to trade in their e-scooters for other devices.
READ: E-scooter riders gather to voice frustration over ban at Meet-the-People session in Ang Mo Kio
Under the latest regulations, food delivery companies and other businesses which use e-scooter riders will have to obtain third-party liability insurance for them.
This is in preparation for a move towards mandatory insurance for all e-scooter users, the Ministry of Transport said.
These businesses will also have to ensure that its other active mobility device users, including bicycles, e-bikes and personal mobility aids such as motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters, are covered by third-party liability insurance.
All active mobility users will be barred from using mobile phones while riding on both cycling paths and roads, unless the phone is mounted or "used in a hands-free manner".
The current code of conduct focusing on device users will be expanded to include guidelines to encourage pedestrians to keep left, keep to footpaths, and for all path users to be alert to their surroundings.
"DIFFICULT BUT BALANCED" RECOMMENDATIONS
The recommendations by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel, submitted to Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in September, were the latest in a series of measures it proposed to improve safety for public path users in Singapore.
The panel, which was set up in 2015, proposed several measures last year including the mandatory registration of e-scooters and the lowering of speed limits on footpaths.
These were later accepted and implemented by the Government.
The transport ministry said on Wednesday the panel's latest recommendations were timely and will complement existing efforts to improve path and road safety.
In a Facebook post, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said the panel made "difficult but balanced recommendations".
"The active mobility landscape has undergone much change recently, in our continuous effort to make public paths safer," he said, adding that many members of the public have given feedback.
The Government will work with the panel to implement the recommendations, he added.