SINGAPORE: The mandatory online theory test for e-scooter and e-bike riders will be kept affordable, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor in Parliament on Tuesday (May 11).
For the first three months, the test will cost S$5. If the person fails on their first attempt, they can take the test for free a second time.
"This is a discounted rate to encourage greater test take-up. Subsequently, the test will be chargeable at $10 for each attempt," said Dr Khor.
Tests fees will be kept affordable to "minimise the financial impact" on riders of such devices, in particular those who ride for work, she said.
The test will be conducted online in Singapore’s four official languages, said Dr Khor, adding that special provisions can be made on a case-by-case basis for those who are not digitally savvy or illiterate.
Digital certificates will be issued upon passing the test, she said, stressing that the authorities will have the means to verify unlawful manipulation of the certificate.
“We will provide an adequate transition period for riders to prepare, take and complete the test before enforcement kicks in,” said Dr Khor.
She added that the process for registering and taking the test, including retakes, would be kept simple with "minimal turnaround time".
Dr Khor was speaking during the debate on amendments to the Road Traffic Act, which were passed on Tuesday after almost four hours of debate.
The debate saw 13 Members of Parliament (MPs) seek clarity about the theory test for users of power-assisted bicycles, also known as e-bikes.
The authorities will work through the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), food delivery companies and active mobility interest groups to raise awareness and ensure all riders are certified before they ride, said Dr Khor.
“It will be an offence for a company to allow an uncertified rider to ride on the road, with the knowledge that the rider is uncertified or being negligent as to whether the rider is uncertified,” she said, responding to a question from MP Desmond Choo (PAP-Tampines) on the issue.
She added she was glad to hear from NMP Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab that NTUC is working on a training programme to prepare delivery riders for the test.
Mr Abdul Samad - who is vice-president of NTUC - called on the Ministry of Transport's and the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) support in funding such a programme, adding that the NTUC is working with LTA to ensure that questions are manageable for PAB riders to understand and answer.
Dr Khor said the LTA will provide more details in June, when these tests are expected to start.
ALTERNATIVE MOTORCYCLE HELMET STANDARDS
Other MPs asked questions about the other aspects of the amendments.
MP Sharael Taha (PAP-Pasir Ris-Punggol) said he supported the introduction of stiffer penalties for those selling poor quality non-approved helmets.
However, he noted the current high price of testing and approval of helmets could be passed on to riders, deterring them from buying such helmets. He asked if helmet standards other than the current TUV SUD PSB Standard could be accepted.
He gave examples of standards from the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and non-profit organisation Snell, already internationally certified as safe.
In response, Minister of State for Home Affairs Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim noted that Singapore’s current standards are derived in consultation with the industry and technical experts, and were in line with ECE requirements.
The country has additional requirements, such as a “penetration test”, which tests how easily a helmet is pierced when it hits a sharp object.
The authorities are aware of the concerns about the cost of certification, but these have to be balanced with ensuring the safety of road users, said Assoc Prof Faishal.
READ: Motorcycle association urges review of helmet safety standard after stiffer penalties for sellers proposed
Other MPs, including MP Sylvia Lim (WP-Aljunied) and MP Louis Ng (PAP-Nee Soon), raised concerns regarding the authorisation of “senior approved persons” to conduct frisk searches on public transport under the amendments.
Stating that the terrorist threat to Singapore “remains serious”, Dr Khor said authorised officers carrying out security searches will have to undergo “proper training” and must complete the necessary Security Workforce Skills Qualification courses approved by the Singapore Police Force before their deployment.
All authorised officers have to be in uniform when performing such searches, she said.
"In addition, security searches will be conducted within the video surveillance coverage, to provide assurance to the public that any alleged abuses will be investigated accordingly.
"To safeguard the modesty of a female person and to ensure frisk searches are conducted professionally, only authorised female officers can conduct frisk searches on a female person," said Dr Khor, adding that the authorities have the powers to enforce against imposters, as provided under the LTA Act.
A slew of other amendments to the Road Traffic Act were also passed on Tuesday, including increasing penalties for offences such as illegal speed trials, which will see first-time offenders face up to a year in jail and up to S$5,000 in fines.
People who take the fall for another driver who committed an offence will now face penalties. Those who are convicted of doing so are liable to be jailed for up to a year or fined up to S$10,000, or both.