Man turns himself in for e-bike hit-and-run

A 49-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run accident along Jalan Bukit Merah last week that resulted in the death of a 78-year-old man.

On Thursday morning, Mr Song Chee Keong was hit by a power-assisted bicycle - or e-bike - on the road outside a McDonald's outlet along Jalan Bukit Merah, sustaining serious head injuries.

The suspect fled the scene before police arrived. Mr Song died of his injuries in hospital two days later.

Chinese paper Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday that the suspect turned himself in on Monday after the police released his photo that day.

The police said he was arrested for causing death by rash act, which carries a maximum penalty of five years' jail and a fine.

Investigations are ongoing.

Since 2015, the two-wheelers have to meet a number of specifications, which include having a maximum speed of 25kmh, a maximum weight of 20kg, and not possessing a throttle, which allows them to move without pedalling.

Earlier this month, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced that riders must register their e-bikes by Jan 31 next year, or be fined, jailed or both.

Under the Active Mobility Bill, which was passed in January, users of e-bikes and other devices found riding in an unsafe or reckless manner can be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to six months, or face both penalties upon conviction.

In June, The Straits Times reported that there were 54 accidents involving e-bikes last year, up from 39 the previous year, though the number of fatal accidents dropped from five in 2015 to three last year.

While figures are not available for 2017, there were at least two other reported fatal accidents this year.

In February, a 57-year-old man who was riding an e-bike died in hospital after he was involved in an accident with a car at the junction of Hougang Street 93 and Buangkok Green.

In June, a 59-year-old male e-bike rider died in an accident with a prime mover at the junction of Lorong 13 Geylang and Sims Avenue.

Observers are divided on how best to address the issue of reckless riding by e-bikers.

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der Horng believes stricter regulations and greater enforcement efforts may be needed to curb the problem.

"We may have been a bit too rushed in allowing electric bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMD) to be used here," he said.

However, Mr Denis Koh, chairman of PMD enthusiast group Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, noted that the accidents accounted for only a small percentage of the total e-bike population here, which is estimated to number around 30,000.

Although the LTA has a team of 24 active mobility enforcement officers - who work to deter reckless riding of PMDs, bicycles and e-bikes - supported by about 800 community volunteers, there is "only so much they can do", said Mr Koh.

What is needed instead is greater awareness among e-bike users of the rules governing the use of their devices here, he said.


Land Transport Authorityaccidente-bike