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Jail, Fines to Combat Reckless Use Of Personal Mobility Devices
Active Mobility Enforcement Officers seen checking on a personal mobility devices along Yung Seng Road. | PHOTO: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY
January 11th, 2017 | 09:44 AM | 982 views
The safety of pedestrians and the various provisions to protect them were foremost on the minds of Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday, as laws were passed to regulate the use of electric bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs). The new Active Mobility Act will impose penalties for offences such as riding e-bikes or PMDs on paths meant only for pedestrians, or using PMDs recklessly, but the MPs wanted more stringent regulations, such as registering all users of such devices, and making it mandatory for them to purchase third-party insurance and put on safety gear.
They also questioned the enforceability of these laws and expressed concern over how to deal with a potential rise in hit-and-run cases.
Under the new laws, which take effect later this year, a person cannot ride a bicycle, an e-bike or PMD on pedestrian-only paths. Subjected to speed limits, only those riding bicycles and PMDs are permitted on footpaths while shared paths, such as cycling paths and park connectors, can be used by those riding bicycles, PMDs and e-bikes.
Those who flout these rules can be fined up to S$1,000, or jailed up to three months or both.
It is also an offence if users fail to provide assistance in a car accident, while sellers face hefty penalties if they display, advertise and sell devices that do not comply with guidelines.
The laws come after the Government accepted recommendations from a panel on rules and norms for the use of footpaths and cycling paths, and began clamping down on errant riders through a dedicated enforcement team formed last May.
In her opening speech during the second reading of the Bill yesterday, Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo noted that as cycling and the use of PMDs have become more popular, some members of the public have also expressed concerns about the safety of pedestrians.
The approach taken by the Government is to continue to build more dedicated cycling paths where possible, while establishing a set of rules and norms for cyclists and PMD users when sharing footpaths with pedestrians.
Yesterday, 13 MPs debated the Bill. Noting the lack of a mandatory compensation scheme, Mr Sitoh Yih Pin (Potong Pasir) said this could leave many unwitting accident victims involving PMDs with no recourse to seek compensation for any personal injury suffered.
Mr Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) suggested banning the use of bicycles and e-bikes on the main road to those below 18 years old and making it compulsory for PMD users to have basic knowledge of the Highway Code.
Others proposed legislating the need to put on safety gear while riding their devices. Dr Teo Ho Pin (Bukit Panjang) suggested that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) register all riders, bicycles, e-bikes and PMDs to facilitate enforcement.
In response to these concerns, Mrs Teo stressed that the new laws can be refined in future.
On the issue of insurance and compensation, she noted that there is a very broad range of users, from frequent to occasional riders, as well as the more affluent, to the less well-off users.
Mandatory insurance, which is not an insignificant amount to pay annually, comes at some cost to the rider, added Mrs Teo, who also noted that cities with a strong culture of using these devices also do not make it mandatory to buy insurance and instead, focus on cultivating safe and responsible behaviours.
On the calls to set varying age limits, Mrs Teo said that patrols by LTA officers in the last few months found that errant users were from all age groups. “It is, therefore, important to focus on education and enforcement,” she added.
While only e-bikes have to be licensed, the authorities will continue to monitor the situation and consider extending registration to all motorised devices.
courtesy of TODAY
by Siau Ming En
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