Things in Singapore haven’t been the same since Nov 5 when the use of electric scooters on footpaths was banned. If found doing so, offenders can be fined up to $2,000 and jailed up to three months, once the ban is strictly enforced next year. Food delivery riders got concerned about carrying out their jobs sans personal mobility devices (PMDs). Other PMD riders began searching for creative ways to sidestep the new ruling, like, riding on grass patches next to footpaths. Or like this guy:
Yes, the aftermath of the PMD footpath ban has been complicated.
And this may come as a shock to some, but not all PMD users are breaking the law. Law-abiding PMD riders are now up in arms over pedestrians who’ve been a little too quick to jump to conclusions. Some have taken to social media to air their grievances, while one e-scooter user penned a forum letter, and said passers-by have given him “dirty looks” and “even gesticulated to indicate that [he] was breaking the law” as he was pushing his e-scooter to a park connector, which is allowed.
So let’s set the record straight. What’s allowed to be ridden where, and what’s not? We break it down for you.
#1: People can still ride hoverboards, e-unicycles and other non-motorised PMDs on footpaths. For now.
Unlike what most people believe, not all PMDs have been banned. E -scooters, defined by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) as “PMDs with a handle bar and electric motor” (below), have been barred from footpaths. Power-assisted bicycles (PABs) are also not allowed.
So technically, motorised PMDs such as hoverboards and electric unicycles (below) are still legally allowed on footpaths, since they don't come with handle bars. But not for long. There are plans to progressively ban other types of motorised PMDs on footpaths by the first quarter of 2020.
Personal mobility aids (PMAs) such as motorised wheelchairs or mobility scooters, designed to help people with mobility difficulties, are also exempt from the ban.
Non-motorised PMDs such as and manual kick scooters, as well as the good ol’ bicycle, are still allowed on footpaths.
All active mobility devices that are allowed on footpaths still have to adhere to the 10km/h speed limit.
And just to make sure everyone’s still on the same page, footpaths are defined as those that “do not have any markings and are generally grey in colour”, according to the LTA website.
#2: Folks are allowed to push their PMDs on footpaths.
E-scooter users may not be able to zip around on footpaths, but they can still push their PMDs along the footpath.
#3: People can still ride PMDs on park connectors and cycling paths
You’re taking an evening stroll in the park and see someone zipping past with their PMD or power-assisted bicycle (PAB) or PMA. Resist the urge to shame them on social media. They are not flouting the rules. These, including e-scooters, can be used on shared paths, cycling paths and park connector networks (PCN). These paths have a speed limit of 25km/h. When in doubt, look out for markings on the ground (pictured below).
#4: Not okay: Riding PMDs and PMAs on the road.
The use of PMDs and PABs on the road has been included in an amended Highway Code in Singapore, which will come in place Dec 1. It emphasises that PMDs like e-scooters and PMAs like motorised wheelchairs are not allowed to be used on the roads. However, bicycles and PABs such as e-bikes are allowed.
#5: All mobility devices have to be LTA compliant, of course.
That is, PMDs, PABs and even bicycles can be used only if they weigh 20kg or less, have a width of 70cm or less, and have a maximum motorised device speed of 25km/h. All PABs must have an LTA-approved seal, while PMDs need to be UL2272 certified.
Main photo: Unsplash