My rant about e-Scooter and how you or the authority can help

Share this post: http://bit.ly/eScooterRant

As some may know, I am always interested in the last mile options in Singapore. In the recent years, I tested an electric bike, an e-Scooter, bought two bicycles (one mountain bike and one foldable), written many articles related to transportation (especially e-transport), and also shared the Land Transport Master Plan 2013 from LTA with my readers.

gocycle-sg-IMAG0535m

As Singapore progresses towards a greener society, I embrace the call by our Government to the people to use the public transport (to lessen the congestion on the road), ride (a bicycle) to work (or to the nearest public transportation station) and make full use of the park connectors that are across the country to reach your destination.

It seems so logical and well planned. If you look at the LTMP 2013 (Watch the video if you have time), it mentions more (and longer) sheltered walkways, more buses and MRT, more new MRT routes and by 2030, 700 km of cycling path around Singapore. That means you can literally travel to your destination easily with the transportation system in Singapore.

So, what prompted me to write this article?

THIS is what prompted me to write this article. In the article, it stated clearly that you are NOT ALLOWED to ride an e-Scooter literally anywhere in Singapore (except your own backyard, and you know that we live in HDB with no backyard). Pavements, Park Connectors, Roads are all out of bound to these e-scooters.

no-e-scooter

An excerpt from the article:

The Land Transport Authority (LTA), Traffic Police and the National Parks Board (NParks) said e-scooters are not allowed or not advised to be used on public roads, pavements and park connectors.

In response to questions from The New Paper, an LTA spokesman said: “To ensure the safety of all road users, enforcement action is taken against riders of unauthorised vehicles on public roads.

“Riders caught using unauthorised vehicles on public roads are liable, on conviction, to a fine of up to $2,000 or a jail term of up to three months for the first offence.”

But there is no regulations on e-scooter yet. I remembered the saga over Segway many years ago where most places are out of bound for it. I believe the situation is still the same but now, you have to deal with e-scooters, AirWheel and etc instead of just the Segway. It seems that there is no progress in setting regulations for such portable electric vehicles.

There are other options right?

Yes, you can go ride a bicycle to your workplace/school and etc, or ride to the nearest MRT or bus stops, or you could have just walked to your destination. But in a tropical country with high humidity like Singapore, can you imagine what will happen? Sweat, lots of sweat.

You will sweat like buckets even before you reach your destination, even if it is just to travel to your nearest MRT/bus stop. I cannot imagine a bus or MRT full of sweaty commuters to start the day.

There is still the LTA-Approved Power-Assist Bicycle, right?

You can use this type of approved electric bicycle to travel to work? YES, you can do that and NO, I am not going to do it. You will still sweat since you need to pedal. It is a good form of exercise but no thanks if you are on your way to work.

But if you are traveling to the nearest MRT/Bus stop, it may be doable. There is just one problem. How do I keep my bicycle? I can’t bring it into the train or buses. Unless we have this (super nice bicycle storage system in Japan), I will not park my Power Assist Bicycle (that easily cost above S$1,000) at some MRT stations.

Why I am ranting?

For your information, I drive. Thanks to my situation, I can drive my personal car to work. The only “problems” I faced each day on the road are road congestion and ERPs (Electronics Road Pricing).

But I do take public transport (although not as much). When I travel on public transport, I can feel the frustration of the commuters, especially on weekends and at popular places. Sometimes you are packed like sardines (but not as bad as in Japan) and you do not have much choices.

As mentioned earlier, I tried many forms of transportation (even the Segway). Here are my personal verdict on them (based on a good weather day traveling to work, to school or to MRT stations or bus stop, and lets forget whether they are legal or illegal on the road for the time being):

Bicycle (City, Mountain bike): Short to long distance trip is ok but sweating is the biggest problem. Most MRT stations do have parking for bicycles but park at your own risk. You cannot bring the bicycle onto the trains and of course, you can forget about the buses.

Bicycle (foldable): Short to long distance trip is ok but sweating is the biggest problem. Most MRT stations do have parking for bicycles but park at your own risk. You can bring the bicycle onto the trains if it meets the requirement (You can read it here or download the PDF).

Power Assist Bicycle: Short distance trip is ok but sweat is a problem. Parking is a big problem unless you don’t mind your expensive bicycle being damaged or stolen (don’t get me wrong. Singapore is still safe. Just like any countries, there are crimes whether you like it or not).

e-Bicycle (throttle control and lever control with brakes): Good for the distance but it is dangerous to road users and motorists if the users are irresponsible. Parking is a big problem unless you don’t mind your expensive e-bicycle being damaged or stolen.

Segway: Good for short to medium distance. However, as it is using your body to control movement, there are chances you might lose control over it. There is no physical brake. Everything is based on reflex actions. Parking is a problem. It is small but heavy (around 50kg)

Skate Scooter: Good for short distance. Sweating is a problem. However, it is very light and portable to bring up a bus or MRT. Not for long distance or uneven roads as wheels tend to be small.

AirWheel: Like the Segway, it is using body movement to control the speed, direction and braking. And as mentioned, there might be chances you will lose control over it. Fortunately, the speed is not fast and it is not heavy. I don’t think anyone hit by it will be seriously injured. It is good for short distance travel. It is small, light and compact. Bringing it onto trains and buses is definitely no problem.

e-Scooter (small wheels): Good for short to medium distance. There are usually physical brakes (or lever for regenerative braking). Speed is usually capped at 25km/hr. In terms of traveling, it should be used on park connectors or broad pavements. It needs to travel on flat surface as the ground clearance is usually very little. It is light and portable enough to carry onto trains or buses.

e-Scooter (large wheels 8-inch to 10-inch): Good for short to medium distance. There are usually physical brakes (or lever for regenerative braking). Speed might be faster but usually capped at 25km/hr. In terms of traveling, it should be used on park connectors or broad pavements. It is portable to carry onto trains or buses (depending on models).

Summary

I am trying to be as rationale as possible in listing out the options. From my own opinion, I think foldable bicycle and e-Scooter are the best candidates. But if you are a cyclist, you will already know that you will sweat when you pedal. Unless you have shower facilities near or at your destination, I would not think that this option is popular among the commuters.

Therefore, I think the most doable is the e-Scooter. It is light and portable with safety feature like brakes, and can install accessories like light and horn, it can be the best last mile option for many. With the popularity soaring each day, the authority should try finding out the reason(s) from those that use them instead of fining them (pun intended).

And the authority should start discussing regulations on PEVs on the road (pavement, parks and etc). Many will appreciate that and it can create more awareness of the last mile options in Singapore. Please leave your comments, opinions on this topic. I would love to hear from you whether you agree with me or not. As this post is going to be on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook Page and my personal Facebook account, feel free to engage me in any of them. I am dying to hear from you. Do share with your friends if you think it is relevant.

(source)
(source2)

  • alan

    I totally agreed that the e-scooter should not be banned from PCN..I don’t see how different it will be from a riding bicycle on PCN and parks…speeds are usually capped at lower speeds..and it definitely help to get you to your (short) destination without sweating it out! And of course I agreed that it should not be on the public roads in view of their own safety. It just boils to your own responsibilities to make the PCN and parks safe to ride. Just my 2 cents.

  • joeteh

    Thanks for sharing. I think some bicycles can go much faster than e-scooter in PCNs. So, the authority should consider that too. why ban e-Scooter 🙁

  • Jason

    LTA should NOT ban the use of e-scooter on PCNs. Don’t just take the easy way out by banning everything. Learn from 1st world country like Denmark.
    The lack of pathways for cyclists and e-scooter is the problem of the government, not citizen. They lack planning and they should have started long ago.

  • joeteh

    I think there is no clear law refining the e-Scooter scene yet. That is why we have to bring awareness to our authority (might be a few agencies) to understand that we love e-Scooter or anything that can transport us safely at a fraction of the cost of a car (in Singapore).

  • ien

    I tried foldable bikes and mrt only to realise the 11am- 4pm window to travel.
    I’ve since switched to e scooter. Very small foot print in crowded train or bus.

    I have one suggestion which is to let the neighbourhood police try e scooters instead of bicycle for their patrol. They won’t sweat and the speed of e scooter is just as good. Not to mention it’s portability compared to their current bicycles.

  • joeteh

    Ya.. That is something not many will know. And they also restrict one foldable bike to one bus or something like that.

    As for your suggestions for the Police, I guess it will be tough since they have just started the neighborhood cycling scheme..

  • Jet

    I totally agree with you. Now i am so scared to ride my e-scooter to swimming pool or to the nearby gym because of the stupid regulation set. It was basically previously so convenient to use and improve my mobility tremendously! i dun understand why the govt have to do this.

  • Belle

    Totally agree that the various agencies should not fine e-scooters’ users. It’s a very affordable form of transportation, especially the last mile. Cars are so expensive and public transport is mostly crowded. E-scooter is a convenient and affordable form of transportation. How do we get the message to the various government to allow e-scooters on park connectors and pavements? The reason for the fine is due to safety but aren’t e-bicycle the same?Any pev can be deemed unsafe if ridden by an unsafe user. Importantly is the user would need to be a responsible and public conscious rider.

  • kay

    so is scooter approve or not?

  • kay

    i Agree

  • Teddy

    Agreed. I would think a stand-up scooter is much safer than an electric bicycle. The ability to perform emergency brake and to dogde is much easier compared to a full size bicycle? Why resort to banning as a first option and not studying how these wonderful portable pev can help improve the public transport situation which so many M had failure to adequately address. Think!

  • joeteh

    The PEV is not approved on roads or NParks and most (if not all) pavement. However, you can still purchase them and use them in your private area.

  • Sam

    Yeah. the gov seem to be taking the easy way out without considering the convenience it can provide for everyday commuters. They probably just want to avoid any situations where they can be blamed for legalising it. Come on gov, don’t be over cautious! take some time to weigh out the pros and cons.

  • joeteh

    I guess it will take years to study the impact and to get the right team to handle it. No use getting a team that does not know anything about bike or PEV and starts taking (negative) actions..

  • Jeannie Sew

    E-scooters should not be banned. Instead government should consider wider pavement for all users and divide lanes for PEV and footpath at all N-parks.

    And for the safety of the pedestrians, government should limit the speed allowed for e-scooters.

    Honestly… Why would one need an e-scooter at his.her own backyard?

  • Adrian Tan

    Does anyone know if progress has been made on legislation?

  • John

    You don’t have that ‘private area’ here, it’s not like there’s a subdivision or executive villages here in Singapore. I’m actually thinking of getting an e-Scooter just a way of transport for short distances.

  • John

    I hoping to hear any experience from anyone who already got fined for using e-Scooters here in Singapore.

  • gabrielgorilla
  • Anon_91

    Word from the news paper recently says that e-scooters are not allowed to be used on pavements, parks or public roads. Then where? If so, why are there still legal services of shops selling these motorized gadgets? I mean seriously, in my point of view, it is ridiculous. It is totally up to the user. It is unfair to generalize the whole population of people who own these gadgets as a possible breach to safety hazards. I for one, use my own e scooter to go to and fro from work, and even nearby destinations. By doing this, i’m reducing my own carbon footprint. If Singapore is working its way to being a more greener environment, then shouldn’t they consider these type of gadgets as an option? Furthermore, there are no emissions or whatsoever. I feel that they should work something out rather than to straight away ban the use of these gadgets, im sure there are better solutions for this right?

  • joeteh

    You are right on the illegal part (as of now). To simply put it across, you can buy them if you intend to use them in your own property.. If you are using roads or public areas, they are not allow.

    Agree on the point that the authority must do something.. which I think they are already starting to realize the importance of PEV.

    It is always the pedestrian against the cyclists/users point of view. It only takes some errant users/cyclists to spoil the whole image of the community.

    BTW, thanks for dropping by.

  • linlaobei

    its so simple.. if the govt cant earn from it, they wont allow it. imagine what will happen when majority starts to ride these e-scooters/bicycles to and fro work??? transport companies revenue will drop drastically.. ppl will start to ride these unless they don mind paying ERPs and parking fees.. temasek holdings and GIC takings will take a big hit.. so govt will not allow these to be legalized on the roads.

  • linlaobei

    its so simple.. if the govt cant earn from it, they wont allow it.
    imagine what will happen when majority starts to ride these
    e-scooters/bicycles to and fro work??? transport companies revenue will
    drop drastically.. ppl will start to ride these unless they don mind
    paying ERPs and parking fees.. temasek holdings and GIC takings will
    take a big hit.. so govt will not allow these to be legalized on the
    roads……

  • Adrian147

    I too got stopped by 2 malay guys on my e-scooter on east coast park also with cameras on the shirts, I think its the same guys. I got fined as well.

  • joeteh

    Sorry to hear that. Yes, it is illegal to do that. Hopefully the bros/sis from the @thewheelies can help to “enlighten” our authority that biking and e-scootering pose the same “danger” as per what they describe.

  • Adrian147

    The thing is, buying an e-scooter is not illegal, however using it is. I live in Pasir Ris and work in Tampines, to go to my workplace via car take 15 mins, by public transport 45 mins to and hour (2 buses and a train or 2 buses). But if I use my e-scooter it takes me only 20 to 25 mins vids park connectors and bicycle paths. Now my scooter is at home collecting dust and has become a white elephant. There is nowhere to scoot. Even sentosa which has e-bikes and segways for rent but they do not allow you to bring your own motorized gadgets, what’s the difference? I guess the just want you to pay. We should at least be allowed to use the pcn and bicycle paths and also have a place where motorized gadget lovers can go and used their equipment.

  • a scientist

    Actually when you go through the law – It is legal to ride an e-scooter. It is illegal to ride it on the road (yet a bike is legal), it is illegal to ride it on any NParks regulated pathway, park/parkway connector etc. However it is legal to ride on normal government regulated footpaths/bike tracks.

  • Manthinks

    Law is like a tool – it is there to serve a least one purpose and often it is only used when situation demands. In another words, as long as usage of these motorised-portable personal mobility devices do not result in escalation of serious or even life-threatening incidents, the authority will be selective in the degree of enforcement required.

    Yes, you might get a fine or warning letter from law enforcers, but one still have the option to write in the explain why you should be let off with a warning.

    Again, it is up to individual responsibility and common safety sense when using ANY transportation devices be it a kick scooter, a roller blade or e-bike.

    If you fail in that basic department, then for your own sake, a pair of good walking shoe is suffice.

  • Tan Goek

    Great blog. Given the societal and environmental benefits involved, I fail to see how an e-scooter limited to 25 kph can be more dangerous than a racing cycle that whiz past me even when I am at that speed on park connector tracks that allow cyclists and skaters.

  • thunder storm

    With regards to the recent new regulations on the ebikes in singapore, I have some points to share with all for your consideration :

    1. Safety being cited as reason to impose the stiffer regulations :
    A. Ferrari engine is super powerful and not even a fraction of its power can be used in singapore legally. So, why is ferrari engines not controlled? Because some are more equal than others? The ECU can control the engine power of the V8 to pur like a V4. Comparing an Ebike with a Ferrari, do you see a double-standard some where? Is a Ferrari a ‘SAFE’ vehicle with such extremely powerful engine ? Is an Ebike having 251Watts power comparable with a Ferrari?

    2. SAFETY : Will limiting the ebike power to 250w make an ebike SAFE? Really? An EN 15164 euro standard Ebike running at 20km/h can still kill a person. So, where is the Safety? Safety is a mirage. Your home is the most dangerous place if you know what i mean. So, ban the house?

    3. DISCIPLINE : Most road rage and road accidents are involving drivers having passed driving tests. Many illegal activities using cars are done by drivers holding driver’s license. So, where is the SAFETY ? The REAL issue is Discipline of driver and not power of engine .

    4. Motorcycles: They are heavier than any ebike by a mile. So , where is the SAFETY? Why are these monsters legal? Question yourselves the meaning of Legality. Why are laws repealed or amended? Why does the statue of the lady with blindfold exist?

    Singaporeans base on Perception and Lazy to think and accept what they are told. Singapore is a Comformist society. Creativity is essentially Stiffled.
    This is why singaporeans can be good workers and not creative people.

  • thunder storm

    A few important people complain and their voice is louder. Many pedestrians think they own the pavements. Since they are not riders they find it nothing to lose to complain and ban electric. Its ignorance. Pedestrians can also be riders. Rider and Pedestrian can be one. Its pure ignorance and selfishness. The key is self discipline and not regulations. Regulations should apply only on extremely high power engines. Even Ferraris are not banned or speed limited by ECU to 100km/h since anything above that is illegal. Its a intellectual insult and self-deceiving excercise. Most people are not 1st world yet to understand the ignorance .

  • thunder storm

    Either migrate or join the ConFormist singaporeans.

  • thunder storm

    Its legal to own a scooter that has few places to ride it on. So, you are right. All public pavements and roads out-of-bounds. So, what’s left? Do not continue to deceive yourself and live in denial.

  • thunder storm

    Best joke of the era.

  • thunder storm

    Most singaporeans are nurtured to be Resigned to their fate.

  • thunder storm

    Which person want to take the responsibility and allow ebikes on the pavements when existing outdated law prohibits it? Why would they want to be responsible? You riders need to be proactive. But being singaporeans we are terribly shy of voicing up especially to authority, we being CONFORMISTS. So, your fate is sealed. Migrate or masturbate.

  • thunder storm

    Agree. when it comes to regulations, it will take forever to change. Don’t wait.

  • thunder storm

    Its not up to you to think.

  • thunder storm

    Only if the entire community unite and voice up can there be pressure on them. Being singaporeans, your fate is as good as sealed. Singaporeans are singaporeans, if you know what i mean.

  • thunder storm

    I differ. The law clearly classified escooters are motorised vehicles. See the ban signs at parks? The key term to note is Motorised vehicles.

  • thunder storm

    Why Ferraris allowed to have such high power engines ? Why the law never limit their speed electronically to 100km/h in sg? Where is the double standard? Can you spot it?

    Motorcycles are ten times more heavy and 100 times more powerful and dangerous than ebikes. YET.

  • Cal Kew

    Firstly I really failed to understand the rationale behind the ban of e-scooter on PCN. I thought it would actually complement the purpose of our PCN. Yet bicycle (with bigger wheels and wider handle bar) which has a higher chances of knocking on someone is allowed.

    If just because e-scooter can go faster, anyone could pedal their bicycles just as fast or even faster. It all depends on the riders discipline and not the machine. Otherwise Ferrari and Lamborghini should be banned on our road for the same reason. I believe a fast moving bicycle is far more dangerous than an e-scooter moving at a moderate speed (say below 15km/h).

    In short, speed regulation should be imposed instead of banning the use of e-scooter altogether from PCN.

    Likewise for the pavement too. As a pedestrian walking on pavement, I often felt more insecured and fear of my hand being hit by the bicycle handle bar but I don’t have that same fear when an e-scooter passes me by. Widening of the existing pavements would go a long way to benefit everyone where all users can co-exists harmoniously.

  • Ben Ng Ben

    Hi how much is the fine?

  • Ben Ng Ben

    Hi how much is the fine?

  • Ben Ng Ben

    For those who are booked by NPark for escooting, how much is the fine?

  • Tinker

    Personally I would love to have escooter to ride on, it will be so convenient to reach my destinations and bonus for being able to bring into public transport such as bus, MRT, LRT, taxi. While I was surfing for the right escooter, how to modify your escooter is also within the search page. This prompt me from thinking “Will other riders choose to modify the speed “quietly” to a super fast speed” for instance motorbike or car can be modified with turbos but of course this is regulated so such cases is minimised. But how to regulate a escooter/ ebike speed, setting up checking stations and getting all escooter/ ebike riders to register themselves and regularly go for checks to minimise the chance of “secret modifications” is really not practical at all. How much money the government got to spend to ensure everyone rides at the capped speed so as to keep the place safe for people to ride and walk? Sorry to pour cold water, the money spent is also taxpayers money.

  • harry

    you do know that car owners pay their own vehicle inspections?

  • Frank

    The current Active Mobility Bill is too ambiguous about PEV (e.g. electric scooters) usage on Parks and Park Connector Networks.
    I was surprised to discover recently “no motorised vehicles” signage along Punggol Promenade (largely ignored by senior citizens on electric bikes and kids on escooters, all happily blasting music).

    If any thing, the Advisory Panel seems to suggests that Parks and Park Connector Networks fall under the definition of “Cycling and Shared Paths” and are therefore allowed:
    (source: https://www.lta.gov.sg/apps/news/page.aspx?c=2&id=58df0753-54c0-42d4-971e-220bef2e991f)
    “Hence, the Panel recommends allowing personal mobility aids, conventional bicycles and PMDs to be used on footpaths, cycling and shared paths (such as Park Connector Networks)”

    I agree some parks (e.g. Botanic Gardens) are inappropriate for PEVs. but if NParks ends up banning PEVs from all Parks and Park Connector Networks, it goes against the idea of using PMVs for last mile solutions and to minimise car ownership and usage. I wish the authorities can figure out a way to work together, and communicate a clear and consistent message.

  • You said very right! I personally believe that fold-able e-scooter is the perfect choice. Using electric kick scooters will not make you sweat as cycle do. As you pedal the cycle, it not just make you sweat but also you’ll feel tired. So, if you select cycle as a means of transportation for your workplace, I strongly recommend you to buy an electric scooter. It’s fast, portable and fold-able!