Saturday, 24 September 2016

Man rides electric scooter at 70kmh, overtakes bus in Mandai; More than 700 caught for unsafe cycling and riding since May 2016

Clip of e-scooter user overtaking bus sparks safety concerns
By Jalelah Abu Baker, The Straits Times, 24 Sep 2016

A video of a man on an electric scooter overtaking a bus in Mandai Road has sparked safety concerns over the use of such personal mobility devices.

The minute-long clip shows the e-scooter user wearing a helmet and riding on the left-most lane of the three-lane road. At one point, he veered past a bus, nipping in ahead of a taxi, before cutting back close in front of the bus.

The incident was recorded on a phone camera in a car following the e-scooter, and uploaded on citizen journalism site Stomp on Thursday.

The car passenger who took the video said the incident happened on Thursday at about 8am.

"I think it is too dangerous for him to ride his e-scooter in this way and all the vehicles had to slow down for him," said the man, who did not want to be named.

According to what was said in the video, the e-scooter was travelling at at least 60kmh. The passenger started taking the video after the e-scooter user overtook another vehicle travelling at 50kmh, he said.

Mr Denis Koh, chairman of Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, a community of scooter enthusiasts, said the e-scooter rider tested all limits in doing what he did.

"He wobbled while overtaking. The wheels are not as big as a motorbike's or bicycle's, so it's difficult and dangerous to make such manoeuvres at that speed," he said.

He added that a standard e-scooter would be able to travel at about 30kmh, and the one in question was likely to have been modified illegally. The rider was also breaking the law by using it on the road.

"The Land Transport Authority will investigate the use of such personal mobility devices on the road," said a spokesman.

Mr Koh is part of the Active Mobility Advisory Panel, which proposed guidelines earlier this year, including a speed limit of 15kmh on pavements and the use of lights on such vehicles. These rules are set to become law by the year end.

Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Zainal Sapari said the rules should address illegal modification of personal mobility devices that also include e-bikes. "We should come down hard on shops that offer illegal modification services," he said.

One of his residents, housewife Ang Liu Kiow, 53, was a victim in an accident that allegedly involved an e-scooter in Pasir Ris last Saturday.

She underwent two brain operations at Changi General Hospital and remains unconscious there.A 17-year-old has been arrested in connection with the accident, on suspicion of causing grievous hurt.

Mr Ang Hin Kee, an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC and vice-chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, said that even with rules in place, there will be concerns over safety if riders are irresponsible.

"While there are riders who endanger themselves and others, there are riders who dismount at traffic lights and pay attention to safety," he added.

Income, the NTUC insurance cooperative, said about 400 people have been insured against medical expenses and personal liabilities due to accidents while riding a bicycle or a personal mobility device since it launched a plan for this purpose in April. It has received fewer than 10 claims for medical expenses so far.

Stop blame game, learn to be gracious road users

Mr Allein Godfrey Moore's argument that bicycles are best used in the parks for leisure is understandable ("Reconsider plans for shared footpaths" ; last Friday).

However, people who use their bicycles for leisure also include those who cycle to the market, or to and from meals.

This group can comprise the young and elderly who cycle slowly on the pavement, as the roads are too dangerous for them.

Surely we do not want to see them on the road with motor vehicles whizzing past them.

With the expansion of the park connector network and wider shared paths, there is also a growing number of people who commute to work on bicycles or personal mobility devices (PMDs).

Some use the roads, but there are many motorists who drive dangerously close to them.

From personal experience, I find that pedestrians usually contribute equally when there is an accident with a cyclist or PMD user.

Many pedestrians have their eyes glued to their mobile phones while walking and are oblivious to what is going on around them.

Accidents happen when they make abrupt movements, such as stopping or turning. Even as a pedestrian, I have knocked into people who stopped abruptly in front of me.

Instead of playing the blame game when accidents happen, we should learn to be more gracious to one another while out on our commute.

Irresponsible or ungracious acts cause many accidents. On the other hand, giving way to a fellow commuter takes up only a few extra seconds and does not spoil the day for anyone.

Educating all road users on responsible behaviour is the way forward.

Charles Tan Kim Seng
ST Forum, 26 Sep 2016

* Unsafe cycling, riding: More than 700 caught

Three in five users stopped by LTA team since May were e-bike users on footpaths
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 6 Oct 2016

More considerate behaviour is what the authorities are after, having stopped over 700 cyclists and personal mobility device (PMD) users for unsafe riding since May.

Three in five were e-bike users caught riding on footpaths, which is not allowed.

The remainder were stopped for infringements such as not having a light while riding at night, riding recklessly and speeding.

In May, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) launched its Active Mobility Enforcement team to police foot and cycling paths. It has since conducted more than 400 enforcement operations across the island, the authority said in a statement yesterday.

Right now, the team is giving only advisories to errant riders and handing out brochures on safe riding.

This is because the legislative changes that will give it powers to issue fines are not yet law, though they are likely to be debated in Parliament before the end of the year.

The changes will allow bicycles and PMDs on footpaths, to encourage the use of these devices for short trips. E-bikes, however, are allowed only on cycling paths, park connectors and the road.

Yesterday morning, a team of eight LTA officers conducted a two-hour enforcement exercise in Taman Jurong, together with the Traffic Police. The area is heavily plied by residents who cycle or use PMDs to get to work in the Jurong Port vicinity.

The officers were keeping an eye out for reckless riders, and those using PMDs that did not meet weight criteria or speed limits, said Mr Willy Soo, deputy manager at the Active Mobility Enforcement section. The upcoming rules will set a speed limit of 15kmh on footpaths, and require all PMDs to be under 20kg.

Besides giving out about 360 brochures, the officers also checked e-bikes in case they were illegally modified. Those whose e-bikes looked like they might be will need further inspections.

Five advisories were also handed out for unsafe riding such as failing to give way to pedestrians.

Forklift driver Michael Lee, 53, was on his way to work on his e-bike when he was stopped.

It was not modified so Mr Lee was allowed to go on after he was given a safe riding brochure.

"I just want to go to work; I don't need to go fast," said Mr Lee. But he said speedsters were common in the area, with many modifying their rides to look like motorcycles.

Port officer Toh Soon Chong, 42, said e-bike and e-scooter users need to slow down when they see elderly pedestrians or children.

Last month, a serious accident occurred in which a 53-year-old housewife was knocked down by an e-scooter in Pasir Ris.

Madam Ang Liu Kiow, who needed brain surgery, was transferred to a normal ward last week, but is still unconscious. A 17-year-old e-scooter rider was arrested.

Her son, undergraduate Wilson Leong, 22, feels more enforcement will help prevent serious accidents from happening.

"There are a handful of them who speed recklessly. They are the black sheep," he said. "If we can identify, and educate or punish them, it would be better for the community."

* LTA cracks down on reckless e-scooter riders amid calls to ban devices

Spate of complaints, videos of dangerous riding spur action; two e-scooters seized
By Zhaki Abdullah and Nadia Chevroulet, The Straits Times, 20 Oct 2016

Two e-scooters were seized by the authorities over the past week as part of a crackdown on reckless riders, while calls have been made by the public to ban the devices after riders were caught on video speeding on roads.

After complaints by members of the public, several enforcement operations were carried out over the past few weeks to clamp down on reckless e-scooter users on roads as well as footpaths, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday.


One e-scooter was seized on Tuesday in operations carried out in Upper Aljunied Road. The rider, who had been speeding on the road, is currently assisting the LTA with investigations.

Another e-scooter was confiscated on Saturday in Yishun.

Said the LTA: "We take this opportunity to remind all e-scooter riders that it is an offence to use their personal mobility devices on the road and we will not hesitate to take enforcement action against any rider found doing so."

Those who use unauthorised vehicles such as e-scooters on roads face a fine of up to $2,000 or a jail term of up to three months for the first offence if convicted.

News of the clampdown comes after a number of videos depicting unsafe e-scooter-riding went viral over the past week.


In a video taken last Friday, a man on an e-scooter, said to have been travelling at about 50kmh along Aljunied Road, is seen riding beside a bus. Another showed an e-scooter user riding in the middle lane of what is believed to be Serangoon Road, surrounded by traffic.

A third video showed six e-scooter users, said to be moving at about 80kmh or 90kmh, racing down a deserted stretch of road. It is not known when or where the video was taken.

These clips sparked calls by members of the public for stricter regulations on the devices, with some saying that they should be banned.

Mr Victor Lee, general manager of e-scooter distributor Falcon PEV, however, said that banning was "too serious a call", given that most users are law-abiding. He added that as an additional measure, e-scooter users could be licensed.

The authorities are currently considering rules which limit how fast these e-scooters and other personal mobility devices, such as hoverboards, should be allowed to travel.

They will be permitted on footpaths at a maximum speed of 15kmh, and on cycling and shared paths at up to 25kmh. They should be no more than 700mm wide and have a maximum unladen weight of 20kg.

The chairman of e-scooter enthusiast group Big Wheel Scooter Singapore, Mr Denis Koh, who sat on the Active Mobility Advisory Panel that proposed these regulations, has warned members that the group will not hesitate to give information on errant riders to the authorities.

Mr Lee said distributors and retailers had a responsibility to sell devices that meet the proposed criteria, and that riders should not modify their devices such that they become unsafe.

Some members of the public have called for further measures though, such as making registration and third-party insurance for e-scooters mandatory.

Ms Winda Mohamed,33, said further regulations are a must for e-scooters. The corporate communications manager said she saw a mother and child riding an e-scooter together on the road while she was driving a few months back.

"The father and another child were riding on another e-scooter. None of them was wearing a helmet, so it was very dangerous."

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