SINGAPORE: Two people have been caught riding their e-scooters on footpaths, as stiffer penalties came into place for the offence with the new year.
The two were caught in Yishun and Sengkang, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in a Facebook post on Wednesday (Jan 1).
The LTA noted this is part of “strict enforcement action” it is now taking against e-scooter users caught riding on footpaths. It added that its enforcement officers were on the ground in areas such as Ang Mo Kio, Punggol and Sembawang on Wednesday.
The use of e-scooters on footpaths - which was allowed under the Active Mobility Act since May 2018 - has been banned since November.
However, errant riders were previously issued warnings as part of a two month "advisory period".
However, from Jan 1, those found riding on footpaths face a S$2,000 fine or up to three months in jail, or both.
Six LTA enforcement officers were stationed outside Compass One mall in Sengkang on Wednesday afternoon, though no e-scooter riders were caught during the two hours that CNA observed them in action.
The rows of e-scooters, ridden by food delivery riders, that were previously a common sight outside Compass One as well as Waterway Point in neighbouring Punggol, had been replaced by bicycles and e-bikes.
In November, the S$7 million e-scooter grant was introduced to allow delivery riders from Deliveroo, Foodpanda and GrabFood to trade in their e-scooters for e-bikes or bicycles. The scheme, which ended on Dec 31, received more than 3,000 applications.
Elsewhere, in places such as Yishun and Punggol, most riders were using their e-scooters on cycling paths, where their use is still allowed.
Still, a handful were seen flouting the rules.
CNA spotted two delivery riders riding their e-scooters on footpaths along Punggol Way, near Waterway Point, and another three around Yishun Park Hawker Centre along Yishun Avenue 11.
The ban has had some impact on the livelihood of some food delivery riders, who say they are not able to fulfill as many trips using either bicycles or e-bikes.
Mr Zuraime Yangakub was able to complete 30 or more orders a day using his e-scooter, which he used for food deliveries for four months prior to the announcement of the ban.
The 46-year-old said he is now able to hit a maximum of 20 orders using a bicycle, which has reduced his income.
He added that he needs to rest in between trips, noting he suffered a heart attack two years ago. He is now learning how to ride a motorbike so that he can work more efficiently and with less physical exertion.
Mr Abdul Manaf Jantan, 47, who switched to an e-bike after the footpath ban was announced, said dedicated on-road cycling lanes could help keep food delivery riders safe while on the job.
While e-bikes, like e-scooters, are not allowed on footpaths, they can be used on roads and cycling paths.
Riding his e-bike on the roads can be dangerous, said Mr Abdul Manaf, adding cars swerve into his path while he is on the job.
“Why not give us the (cycling) lane, so we can ride safely? Cars can see us there, and there is a bit of safety for us.”
“It is important that all path and road users continue to be gracious, and keep a look out for each other’s safety during their commutes,” said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min in a Facebook post, reminding users about the footpath ban.
“Pedestrians should also do their part by keeping to their left, and avoid walking on cycling paths, and staying alert to their surroundings.”