10kmh speed limit to be set for PMDs, bicycles on footpaths

An e-scooter rider seen outside Kallang Wave Mall. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

Come early next year, the speed limit on footpaths for personal mobility device (PMD) users and cyclists will be cut to 10kmh, said the Ministry of Transport (MOT) on Tuesday (4 September).

This will be a nearly 33 per cent reduction from the existing 15kmh speed limit, said the MOT in a press release announcing its acceptance of the Active Mobility Advisory Panel’s recommendations for safer path sharing.

The ministry said the move would afford “(PMD) users, cyclists and pedestrians more time to reach to each other in unforeseen circumstances” and aims to reduce the number of accidents as well as the severity of injuries sustained.

This new speed limit will also be applied to motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters so as to prevent retailers and able-bodied users from abusing such devices to dodge stricter regulations on PMDs.

“As the Panel had noted, most PMAs (personal mobility aids) today already comply with the 10km/h device speed criterion, and thus this should not be too onerous on genuine PMA users,” said the MOT.

Other recommendations accepted

All of the panel’s recommendations, which were submitted on 24 August, were accepted by the ministry and will be implemented early next year.

These include making it mandatory for cyclists and PMD users to wear helmets while riding on roads. This rule will not apply to those crossing roads as part of their journey along footpaths or cycling and shared paths.

Another move will be to require PMD users and cyclists to “stop and look” out for vehicles at road crossings, before moving off.

“This will provide active mobility device users and motorists with more reaction time, thereby reducing the risk of accidents,” said the MOT.

“Likewise, motorists should also play their part by slowing down at crossings and looking out for cyclists, PMD users and pedestrians.”

With regard to third-party liability insurance, the MOT said it had accepted the panel’s recommendation to not make it mandatory for PMD users and cyclists to take up such coverage. This is in light of the “diversity in device users and so as to not significantly reduce the uptake of active mobility”.

The ministry added that it will, however, strongly encourage the take-up of such insurance, especially among food delivery companies so as to cover their employees. “We will also raise awareness of and accessibility to existing avenues of seeking compensation, such as by working with the Singapore Mediation Centre on making mediation more readily accessible,” said the MOT.

As recommended by the panel, the ministry will also strengthen its public education efforts on the safe sharing of paths and roads.

Registration of e-scooters from January 2019

In its announcement, the MOT reiterated that it would be implementing a registration regime for e-scooters from January next year.

Announced during the ministry’s Committee of Supply debate in March, the move aims to deter reckless riding, accord more responsibility to e-scooter users and facilitate enforcement against errant users.

“We hope that all these measures will help to create a safe riding culture in Singapore,” said the MOT.

Related stories:

Mandatory registration of e-scooters by end-2018: Lam Pin Min

LTA seizes 18 PMDs, 2 e-bikes in islandwide operation against errant retailers

Three e-scooter riders charged in court for causing hurt to pedestrians

2 e-scooter riders, 1 cyclist charged for causing hurt in separate cases