SINGAPORE - With mandatory theory tests for e-scooter and electric bicycle riders set to begin from the middle of this year, proposed amendments to traffic laws will make it an offence to ride an e-bike on roads without passing the test.
E-bikes, also known as power-assisted bicycles (PABs), are allowed on roads, cycling paths and shared paths such as park connectors. They are banned from footpaths.
The amendments tabled on Monday (April 5) will bring the Road Traffic Act in line with the Active Mobility Act, which was amended last year to require PAB riders to pass a theory test before they can ride on cycling or shared paths.
PAB riders will need to pass only a single online theory test governed by both Acts and administered by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), with the proposed change.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the test will cover modules on both path and road safety to ensure that riders are aware of active mobility rules, a general code of conduct, and safe riding behaviour.
A compulsory test for e-scooter and PAB riders was first mooted by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel in September 2019, following a spate of accidents and the death of a cyclist after a collision with a speeding, non-compliant e-scooter user.
During the debate on his ministry's budget last month, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Baey Yam Keng said a test handbook will be released some time this month.
The amendments proposed on Monday also include a new offence penalising companies and individuals that employ, or intentionally or negligently allow, a person to ride a PAB on roads if he or she has not passed the theory test.
For example, a food delivery company that does not check to ensure delivery personnel who ride PABs have already passed the test, including workers who are not its employees, will be committing an offence, said an MHA spokesman in response to queries.
For the two new offences that have been introduced, first-time offenders can be fined up to $2,000, jailed for up to six months, or both.
Repeat offenders can be find up to $5,000, jailed for up to a year, or both.
Amendments to the Road Traffic Act and Rapid Transit Systems Act tabled on Monday will also empower police officers and other authorised persons to perform security searches on public transport commuters.
Currently, searches can be conducted only on bags or other items carried by commuters.
LTA said the amendments will allow searches on persons to be carried out at designated entrances of bus interchanges, before commuters enter the fare gates at MRT and LRT stations, or within any parts of these transport nodes.
If necessary, these searches can also be carried out on board buses and trains.
"Singapore needs to remain vigilant against evolving security threats," LTA said.
"Our public transport system serves millions of commuters daily and can be an attractive target for security threats due to their vulnerability and potential for mass casualties.
"There is a need to step up our existing security measures to stay vigilant against any potential security attacks."
Another amendment seeks to extend the existing autonomous vehicle regulatory sandbox - which facilitates trials and supports research and development in the industry - by another five years until Aug 2027.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.