E-scooters (which are a type of personal mobility device, or PMD) have recently been growing in popularity in Singapore. These devices can be especially helpful for those who have reduced mobility, or who need to move between several relatively nearby locations multiple times a day, or who simply appreciate the added convenience of having another transportation option.
The use of e-scooters on public paths in Singapore is governed by the Active Mobility Act (AMA), which fully came into effect on 1 May 2018. Riders of e-scooters and other PMDs should be mindful of their rights and obligations under the AMA to avoid being fined, jailed or even having their e-scooters/other PMDs seized.
This article covers the following:
- Is Your E-Scooter/PMD LTA-Approved?
- (From January 2019) Have You Registered Your E-Scooter?
- (From January 2021) Does Your E-Scooter/PMD Comply with the UL2272 Fire Safety Standard?
- On Which Public Paths Can You Ride Your E-Scooter/PMD?
- What is the Maximum Speed Limit You Can Travel At?
- (From Early 2019) “Stop and Look Out” for Vehicles at Road Crossings
- Must E-Scooter/PMD Riders Wear Helmets?
- Can You Bring Your E-Scooter/PMD onto Public Transport? Or into Shopping Centres?
- Must You Buy E-Scooter/PMD Insurance?
- Enforcement of E-Scooter/PMD Offences Under the Active Mobility Act
This article does not cover e-bicycles/e-bikes, as these are not considered PMDs and are governed by different rules under the AMA.
Is Your E-Scooter/PMD LTA-Approved?
Before you use your e-scooter/PMD, check that it is of a model approved by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). Your e-scooter/PMD must have a:
- Maximum width of 70 cm
- Maximum weight of 20 kg; and
- Maximum speed of 25 km/h
While businesses operating in Singapore are obliged under the AMA to only sell approved e-scooters and other PMDs, you should still check that your e-scooter/PMD is LTA-approved by yourself. This is especially if you bought your e-scooter secondhand.
If you use a non-LTA approved e-scooter/PMD, you can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed up to 3 months. Penalties may be doubled for repeat offenders. Your e-scooter/PMD can also be seized and later forfeited.
These penalties also apply if your e-scooter/PMD was initially LTA-approved but later modified so as to become non-LTA approved.
(From 2 January 2019) Have You Registered Your E-Scooter?
From 2 January 2019, it will be compulsory for persons aged 16 and above to register their e-scooter with the LTA. (Persons below 16 years old may still ride e-scooters, but these e-scooters will have to be registered by someone who is 16 years old or older.)
Registration must be done by 30 June 2019 and costs $20. You will have to provide your personal particulars, which will be stored in a register, and declare that your e-scooter is compliant with the restrictions set by the LTA. These restrictions include the maximum width, weight and speed requirements mentioned above.
Persons who make false declarations in their registration can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to 1 year.
Upon successful registration, you will be issued with a unique registration number. This registration number is to be displayed on an identification plate on your e-scooter. You will also have to display a separate registration mark on the e-scooter.
From July 2019 onwards, persons found riding unregistered e-scooters on public paths (more on public paths below) can be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed up to 3 months. Repeat offenders can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed up to 6 months.
To register your e-scooter, visit the LTA’s OneMotoring website or SingPost’s post offices.
This registration requirement does not apply to other PMDs such as electric hoverboards.
(From January 2021) Does Your E-Scooter/PMD Comply with the UL2272 Fire Safety Standard?
From January 2021 onwards, all PMDs (including e-scooters) intended for use on public paths must comply with the UL2272 fire safety standard.
Before then, existing owners of motorised PMDs that are not UL2272-compliant can continue to use their devices until the end of 2020. However, from January 2021 onwards, the use of motorised PMDs that are not UL2272-compliant will be illegal.
Retailers will be banned from selling PMDs which do not comply with the UL2272 standard from July 2019 onwards. But to be doubly sure, you may want to still ask the retailer whether a particular PMD you’re eyeing is UL2272-compliant before buying it.
On Which Public Paths Can You Ride Your E-Scooter/PMD?
Under the AMA, e-scooters/PMDs can only be used on footpaths and shared paths (shared paths are also known as cycling paths). E-scooters/PMDs must not be used on roads or on pedestrian-only paths.
It will usually be clear whether you are on a road: if it has cars and/or has traffic lights then you should not use your e-scooter/PMD there. Roads in SAF camps are included too. So if you happen to be an NSF or SAF regular, you cannot use your e-scooter/PMD to get around camp using in-camp roads.
However, how do you distinguish between pedestrian-only paths, shared paths and footpaths?
What is a pedestrian-only path?
Pedestrian-only paths are only for pedestrians to use (e.g. walking, jogging or running). E-scooter/PMD riders are not allowed on pedestrian-only paths.
If the public path you are on has “Dismount and Push” signs, you are likely to be on a pedestrian-only path:
What is a shared path?
Also known as cycling paths, shared paths are marked by shared path signs and are for pedestrians, e-scooter/PMD riders and cyclists to use.
This is an example of a shared path sign:
What is a footpath?
Footpaths are public paths that are not pedestrian-only paths, shared paths or roads. However, they do not come with specific signs, “cycle lanes” or floor markings. Like shared paths, footpaths can be used by pedestrians, e-scooter/PMD riders and cyclists too.
E-scooter/PMD riders who use their e-scooters/PMDs on a pedestrian-only path can be fined up to $1,000 and/or jailed up to 3 months. Penalties may be doubled for repeat offenders.
For those who use their e-scooters/PMDs on the road, the penalties are even steeper: first-time offenders can be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed up to 3 months. Repeat offenders can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed up to 6 months.
In both cases, your e-scooter/PMD can also be seized and later forfeited.
There are exceptions to these rules preventing e-scooter/PMD riders from using pedestrian-only paths or roads, but in only 2 situations:
- If you are crossing the pedestrian-only path or road by the shortest safe route; or
- The footpath/shared path you were on is blocked (e.g. a tree fell) and you need to use the pedestrian-only path or road to avoid the obstruction
In either case, take note that you must not stay on the pedestrian-only path or road for longer than is necessary. This means you cannot take advantage of the situation and ride on a pedestrian-only path or road for any substantial distance.
What is the Maximum Speed Limit You Can Travel At?
You are advised to avoid speeding as the likelihood of you getting into an accident is higher. The current speed limits for e-scooter/PMD riders on footpaths and shared paths are:
|Shared paths||25 km/h|
Note: From 1 Feb 2019, the speed limit for footpaths will be reduced from 15 km/h to 10 km/h.
Penalties for speeding
E-scooter/PMD riders caught speeding can be fined up to $1,000 and/or jailed up to 3 months. Penalties may be doubled for repeat offenders. Your e-scooter can also be seized and later forfeited.
Similarly, e-scooter/PMD riders who ride dangerously can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed up to 6 months. What counts as “dangerous” will depend on the situation, but the LTA has released a Code of Conduct to provide guidance on how e-scooter/PMD riders can ride responsibly. As the information in the Code of Conduct is relatively brief, e-scooter/PMD users may find it helpful to refer to the LTA’s Guide to Intra-Town Cycling.
While some aspects of their advice would only apply to cyclists, other aspects like giving way to pedestrians where appropriate would apply to e-scooter/PMD riders too.
(From Early 2019) “Stop and Look Out” for Vehicles at Road Crossings
From early 2019, e-scooter/PMD riders must “stop and look out” for vehicles at road crossings before continuing with their journeys.
This is to give riders and motorists more reaction time and so reduce the risk of accidents.
Must E-Scooter/PMD Riders Wear Helmets?
The Ministry of Transport intends to make it compulsory for cyclists (including e-bike riders) to wear helmets when riding on roads from early 2019. This is unless they are crossing the road as part of their journey on footpaths or shared paths.
This helmet rule will not apply to riders of e-scooters and other PMDs, as these devices are not allowed to be used on roads in the first place.
In other words, it is not compulsory for e-scooter/PMD riders to wear helmets. However, riders of such devices are still “strongly encouraged” to do so.
Can You Bring Your E-Scooter/PMD onto Public Transport? Or into Shopping Centres?
E-scooters/PMDs are allowed on public buses and trains at any time of the day as long as they are kept folded at all times. They must also be pushed or carried instead of being ridden on.
Your e-scooter/PMD must be smaller than 120 cm by 70 cm by 40 cm when folded to qualify, and any protruding parts (like handles) must be retracted. There are often size checkers in MRT stations which you can check your e-scooter/PMD’s dimensions against.
E-scooters/PMDs which are wet or dirty must also be wrapped up before being brought onto public transport.
If in doubt, check with the bus driver or train staff on whether your e-scooter/PMD can be brought on-board the bus or train.
Shopping centres are generally privately-owned spaces so the management of each individual shopping centre has the discretion to decide what can or cannot be brought into their premises.
While there is no uniform rule in place, it may be suggested that pushing a clean, folded e-scooter/PMD through a shopping centre as a shortcut is generally permissible. However, you should try to avoid riding your e-scooter/PMD within a shopping centre, or bring it with you for a long day of shopping in a crowded location.
Must You Buy E-Scooter/PMD Insurance?
It is not compulsory for e-scooter/PMD riders to buy third-party liability insurance. However, the Ministry of Transport strongly encourages riders to take up such insurance policies.
Enforcement of E-Scooter/PMD Offences Under the Active Mobility Act
E-scooter/PMD offences under the AMA are enforced by police officers, auxiliary police officers, other suitable trained public servants (such as LTA officers) as well as volunteer public path wardens. They can, for example:
- Check your e-scooter/PMD to see if it is LTA-approved
- Stop you from riding your e-scooter/PMD on public paths which you are not allowed to be on
- Stop you from riding a banned e-scooter/PMD on approved public paths (even if it is LTA-approved)
- Seize your e-scooter/PMD if they have reason to believe you have committed an offence
Before exercising their powers, authorised officials are required to show you their identity card to prove that they are authorised to do so. You are encouraged to co-operate with them.
E-scooters and other PMDs can be useful, viable options for last-mile transportation to and from MRT stations and bus stops, as well as a good way to carry out simple errands around your neighbourhood without having to use a car or public transport. However, riders of e-scooters and PMDs should know their rights and obligations under the AMA to avoid being fined, jailed or even having their e-scooters/PMDs seized.
If you are in the unfortunate position of being charged with committing an offence under the AMA, you may find it helpful to consult with a criminal defence lawyer.
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