SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Transport (MOT) has no plans to ban Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs), despite calls from some Members of Parliament to remove them from footpaths due to the increasing number of reports of accidents to pedestrians.
This was made known by Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Transport, in Parliament on Tuesday (May 7).
Responding to a query by MP Lee Bee Wah, Dr Lam said that MOT will continue to study the regulations of foreign cities regarding e-scooters, but noted that “there is a wide range of practices across jurisdictions”.
He cited that Paris will ban the use of e-scooters on footpaths from September, while Berlin will allow them but with a device speed limit of 12kmh. Queensland in Australia also allows e-scooters on footpaths, but sets a higher device speed limit of 25kmh.
Since early 2019, the speed limit on footpaths for PMDs and bicycles was brought down from 15kmh to 10kmh. MOT said that the lower speed will give PMD users, cyclists and pedestrians enough time to react to each other in unforeseen circumstances.
Dr Lam said that to date, more than 1,630 individuals have been caught for e-scooter related offences.
“We have to tailor our approach to our local context and the needs of Singaporeans. In Singapore, such active mobility devices are useful for short journeys within towns and as first-last mile options,” said Dr Lam.
“Footpaths form a significant part of our connectivity network, connecting from point A to point B, from homes to places of work, places of schooling as well as recreation.
"And if we do disallow active mobility devices on footpaths, basically what it means is that active mobility (device) users will have to operate on roads, and that actually poses more risk to both the active mobility (device) users and other vehicles including motorbikes, cars, lorries, trucks or even buses.
"And we understand that the severity of injuries, should an accident happen on the roads can be even more series and fatality more likely."
He added: “Therefore, banning the use of active mobility devices on footpaths is not the solution. We do agree that active mobility plays an important role in our vision to making Singapore a car-lite society.
"And we should instead cultivate a culture of graciousness, responsibility and respect in sharing the use of our common space.”
FEEDBACK AND ENFORCEMENT
He also said that MOT encourages members of the public as well as other PMD users to help spot and report errant riders to the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
Meanwhile, MP Joan Pereira asked what process is undertaken by MOT when it receives such complaints and feedback.
Dr Lam said that such concerns can be raised to the LTA through phone hotlines, online feedback forms, social media, and mobile apps like MyTransport.SG or OneService.
He added that LTA also receives feedback from other MPs as well as community and industry stakeholders. He also said that anyone in accidents with PMDs should immediately file a report with the police.
“Such feedback helps LTA identify the hotspots to determine the appropriate enforcement efforts," said Dr Lam.
"LTA also shares the information with the relevant Active Mobility Patrol teams so that they can patrol the area more frequently to engage the community and distribute educational materials."
On third-party insurance for food delivery companies that engage deliverymen using PMDs or e-bikes to make food deliveries, Dr Lam said that LTA has been engaging with major food delivery companies such as Deliveroo and GrabFood to purchase third-party liability insurance for their e-scooter riders,
He added that the Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP) is considering stronger measures to ensure that food delivery riders will be covered by third-party liability insurance when riding for work.
Dr Lam also said that LTA has engaged with such companies to educate their riders on safe riding practices and to promote rider awareness on regulations, as well as to disseminate safety messages and reminders via their phone applications and during their on-boarding sessions for new riders.
Their riders will also be encouraged to attend the Safe Riding Programme, which is organised by LTA.