E-scooter users must take theory test and be at least 16
New requirements among five proposals accepted by Transport Ministry to improve path and road safety
Electric scooter users may soon have to undergo a theory test and be at least 16 years old before they are allowed to ride in public.
The new requirements are among five recommendations by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP) to further improve the safety of pedestrians and mobility device users.
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) said in a press statement yesterday that it has accepted all five recommendations but did not say when they will be implemented.
MOT said that those below the minimum age can continue to ride on cycling paths under adult supervision.
It was announced last month that anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult to buy a personal mobility device (PMD) such as an e-scooter.
MOT also said the mandatory theory test will be extended to users of power-assisted bicycles (PABs), which are allowed on roads and cycling paths.
The other recommendations are:
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR PATH USERS
Originally focusing mainly on mobility device users, the code has been expanded to include guidelines for pedestrians to keep left on shared paths or to keep to footpaths.
All path users must also be alert to their surroundings.
MOBILE PHONE USE
Users of active mobility devices are not allowed to use their mobile phones when riding on paths or roads unless the phone is mounted or used in a hands-free manner.
THIRD-PARTY LIABILITY INSURANCE
Businesses must ensure that those who use e-scooters for work are covered by third-party liability insurance. It is also aimed at preparing the industry and community to move towards mandatory insurance for e-scooter riders.
MOT said it will extend this requirement on businesses to cover users of all mobility devices - including bicycles, PABs and personal mobility aids - and will work with AMAP on whether this should be made mandatory for individual users as well.
The ministry, which received the recommendations on Sept 27, said they are timely and will complement existing efforts to improve path and road safety.
Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport Lam Pin Min said in a Facebook post: "The active mobility landscape has undergone much change recently, in our continuous effort to make public paths safer."
The latest development follows the ban of e-scooters from footpaths on Nov 5 after several pedestrians were injured in accidents involving the devices.
In September, cyclist Ong Bee Eng, 65, became the first person to die as a result of being hit by an e-scooter.
E-scooters can now be used only on the 440km of cycling paths islandwide.
Errant riders will mainly receive warnings until the end of the year, when a zero-tolerance approach will kick in.
Those caught breaking the rules can be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed for up to three months if convicted.
The ban will be extended to other motorised PMDs such as hoverboards and unicycles in the first quarter of next year.
Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay told The New Paper: "I think the recommendations address the most significant issues surrounding the use of mobility devices.
"Including pedestrians in the Code of Conduct is a good reminder that pedestrians can also cause accidents and that everyone is responsible for safety on shared paths."
On liability insurance, Mr Tay said: "If an organisation puts their staff on the road, they must also be responsible to protect their riders and pedestrians from accidents."
Mr Denis Koh, chairman of PMD enthusiast group Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, told TNP: "Active mobility does not just encompass e-scooters alone. The ultimate priority is to ensure the safety of everyone by sharing the space together in a harmonious way."
Mr Koh, who also sits on the AMAP panel, added: "It is understandable that riders may feel restricted and may not like more rules on how to use the path. This is common for any group in the community.
"(But the recommendations) are necessary for the future of active mobility and how it will continue to play an important integrated role in Singapore."