In response to the growing number of accidents involving e-scooters and pedestrians and stronger calls from the public for the ban of such devices on shared spaces, the government has officially announced that it will ban the use of such on footpaths starting Tuesday (November 5).
The decision comes a year and a half after the Active Mobility Act was fully set in place, allowing the use of e-scooters on footpaths, which are typically just 1.5m wide.
E-Scooters No Longer Allowed to Pass through Footpaths in Singapore Starting November 5
Relaying the development to the Parliament on Monday (November 4), Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min shared, “As more accidents occur, the calls for a total ban on PMD (personal mobility device) usage gets louder,” as shared in a report by Yahoo! News Singapore.
Lam further noted, “This ban of e-scooters from footpaths is a difficult decision. But it is a necessary step for pedestrians to feel safe again on public paths, while still allowing e-scooters to grow in tandem with cycling path infrastructure.”
The explanation was directed to MPs Sitoh Yih Pin, Dennis Tan, and Lim Biow Chuan who shared their concerns regarding the transport ministry’s plans to improve safety on footpaths.
In line with the ban, e-scooters will now be restricted to cycling paths and the park connector network. There are currently more than 5,500km of footpaths compared with 440km of cycling paths.
Lam cited in his speech, that last week France has banned e-scooters on pavements, following hundreds of accidents and several deaths. Japan also prohibits such devices on footpaths.
He pointed out, “Cities have allowed the use of such devices on footpaths as they are non-pollutive, inexpensive and if properly used, convenient for short intra-town travels. We expected the co-sharing of footpaths to be challenging but were hopeful that with public education, PMD users would be gracious and responsible. Unfortunately, this was not so.
At present, there are about 100,000 registered e-scooters in Singapore.”
For its part, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) enforcement officers nab a monthly average of 370 errant riders who use non-compliant devices or ride dangerously.
Lam clarified, however, that in order for the device users to adjust to the ban, there will be an “advisory period” until the end of the year. While errant users may still be prosecuted, most will likely be let off with a warning.
Also, the ban will not apply to personal mobility aids such as motorized wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Bicycles will also still be allowed on footpaths. The ban against e-bikes on footpaths has been in effect since May 2018.
When asked if the ban will affect hoverboards and unicycles – which are categorized as PMDs alongside e-scooters – the LTA explained, “We will progressively extend the ban to other motorized PMDs by the first quarter of 2020. In the meantime, LTA will issue warnings to all motorized PMD riders found riding on footpaths.”
Furthermore, in line with these developments, the LTA will also stop accepting new applications for PMD-sharing licenses. LTA will also reject existing applications.