Stiffer fines, possible jail, for errant PMD users

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Higher fines, jail terms for PMD users caught riding on public roads from Jan 15

From Jan 15, personal mobility device (PMD) users caught riding on public roads will face fines of up to $2,000 or a jail term of three months, in addition to having their devices impounded.

In a toughened stance against an increasing number of offenders, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday that a composition fine of $300 will be slapped on first-time offenders who ride on local roads, and $500 for those caught on major roads.

First-timers nabbed on expressways will be charged in court. If convicted, they will face a maximum fine of $2,000, as well as a possible jail term of up to three months.

Repeat court convictions will carry a maximum fine of $5,000 and, possibly, a jail term of up to six months. This applies to those caught using PMDs on any public road.

The current penalty is a $100 composition fine for first-timers, regardless of the type of road it is used on. Second-timers are fined $200, and those caught for the third time onwards are fined $500.

Since the introduction of PMDs such as electric scooters and hoverboards two years ago, more have been seen on roads, despite being strictly for use on footpaths and park connectors.

In the first 11 months of last year, an average of 40 users were caught a month, 18 per cent more than the monthly average of 34 in 2016.

The LTA said it is an offence under the Road Traffic Act to ride PMDs on roads. Electric bicycles, however, are allowed on roads except expressways.

Pedestrians have the right of way, but do they feel that way?
These devices should not have been approved in the first place.

Motorist Mervyn Tan on personal mobility device users

But observers said the line separating e-bikes and other PMDs is fast blurring. The new Active Mobility Act may address the situation.

The Act, which will take effect soon, will require users, among other things, to ensure their PMDs weigh no more than 20kg and measure no wider than 700mm. They also cannot exceed a speed limit of 15kmh on footpaths, and 25kmh on cycling and shared paths in park connectors.

Meanwhile, the LTA has increased the number of enforcement officers from 24 in June to more than 50. Officers are also being equipped with speed guns to make sure users stick to the speed limits in the new Act.

"With the increasing popularity of food-delivery services, we have also been working with such companies to educate their PMD delivery crew on safe riding tips and rules, like not riding on the roads," it added.

The tougher laws follow several PMD-related incidents.

In November, a 52-year-old man using a PMD died in an accident with a double-decker bus in Kaki Bukit. The same month, another man was arrested after a video showing an e-scooter zipping on the Pan-Island Expressway went viral on social media.

In October, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan told Parliament there were about 90 accidents involving electric bicycles and PMDs in the first half of 2017. These resulted in four deaths and about 90 injuries.

Motorist Mervyn Tan, 52, an insurance agent, is glad tougher laws are on hand, but wonders if enforcement would be adequate.

"There are too few officers, and too many of these riders," he said. "Having them on the pavement is not ideal either. Pedestrians have the right of way, but do they feel that way? These devices should not have been approved in the first place."