Tighter rules for e-bikes
Fines raised; only models up to 20kg allowed on roads
From Dec 1, tighter regulations will be implemented on the use and sale of electric bicycles, or what is known as power-assisted bicycles (PAB), on Singapore roads.
The revised rules, announced yesterday by Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA), follow the European Standard EN15194 and aim to improve road safety for PAB users and others.
The measures include PABs having a maximum weight of 20kg.
The agency also announced that with immediate effect, the fines for first time offenders will be raised to $300, up from $100.
LTA's press release stated: "Special attention is being paid to PABs because they are currently allowed on public roads, and hence there are significant safety concerns... In addition, models which comply with the standard are harder to illegally modify."
The EN15194 standard is in use in 33 countries across Europe and in Australia.
The LTA said that PABs that have been approved under the current requirements and affixed with a blue seal will still be allowed on public roads.
From Feb 1 next year, only electric bicycles which comply with the new requirements will be approved and given orange seals.
Two electric bike distributors told The New Paper they welcomed the move.
Mr Jason Koh of MKP Bikes said the power and speed is sufficient for the average person.
His company sells electric bikes with prices ranging from $1,400 to $5,000.
Said Mr Koh, an operations manager: "Hopefully, this will put an end to illegal modifications that allow electric bikes to reach speeds above 60kmh. At such speeds, you might as well ride a motorcycle."
Mr Chris Kuah, managing director of Xiao Dao Electric Bicycles, said keeping the weight of the PABs low will reduce impact in any collision.
Those who modify their bikes for speed and power choose heavier frames, forks and wheels for more stability.
But only a minority customise their PABs in Singapore, said Mr Kuah, who has been in the business for eight years.
He said: "I saw the trend for lighter and reliable electric bicycles overseas where they adopt the European standard. So I was prepared.
"It was only a matter of time that Singapore would follow suit."
Aside from getting rid of stock which do not adhere to the new regulations, there is one concern that may affect sellers.
Said Mr Koh: "It's going to be a problem sourcing for electric bicycles below 20kg. Most electric bicycles that are produced are just under 30kg. Also, a lighter electric bicycle may not be suitable for heavier riders."
Mr Kuah also hopes the authorities can give a 5kg allowance, so that there is a 25kg limit instead.
BY THE NUMBERS
1,280 The number of notices issued for offences involving the use or sale of non-regulation power-assisted bicycles from January to October this year. There were only 11 notices in 2008, said the LTA.