Govt looking into rules on personal mobility devices

Govt looking into rules on personal mobility devices
Mr Andrew Kwong, 36, a strategic account manager, is one of many commuters who are using personal mobility devices, such as electric kick scooters, to complete the "last-mile" of their commutes.

WITH the growing popularity of motorised bicycles and other personal mobility devices such as kick scooters, the Government is looking into rules on their use.

This will include deciding whether they can be used on shared spaces such as footpaths, in parks and on the roads.

To do this, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will hold a consultation exercise in the coming months.

Announcing this yesterday, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said that while there are currently rules in the Road Traffic Act, as well as in regulations by the National Parks Board (NParks) and under the by-laws of some town councils that could apply to the use of such devices, they lack clarity.

The rules may not be clear to the man in the street, and may not be consistently applied, he said during a parliamentary debate yesterday.

"Since the law is silent, a strict interpretation of the rules could suggest that they should not be allowed on both footpaths and shared paths.

"However, this is clearly not a sensible policy, since they are a convenient way to get around the neighbourhood and are increasingly common," he said. Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport Cedric Foo highlighted an urgent need to set out clear rules and norms, given the increasing use of personal mobility devices on pathways.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) said that motorised bicycles, which can reach speeds of up to 120kmh, are becoming a "major hazard" on pavements and roads.

Dr Faishal said that there are currently around 11,600 authorised motorised bicycles, and over the past five years, NParks had issued 220 summonses to riders for using them in parks and park connectors.

In the same period, the Traffic Police issued around 3,500 summonses to cyclists, including those on motorised bicycles, for cycling on footpaths. Dr Faishal noted that given the differences in views on such devices, there may not be a "one size fits all" solution.

Instead, there could be a general set of rules and norms that apply across Singapore, but slightly different rules tailored to the needs of individual towns. In Tampines, for example, there are rules such that residents can use footpaths for both cycling and walking.

Given the coordination needed between different government agencies to manage cycling and walking issues, the LTA will take the lead and head a new active mobility unit.

Dr Faishal also said that there are plans to extend pilot schemes for bicycle-sharing, which are currently being worked out for the Jurong Lake District and the Marina Bay city centre, to Tampines and Pasir Ris.

However, this will depend on the response of potential service providers.

adrianl@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 12, 2015.
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