Guide to E-Scooter and PMD Laws for Singapore Riders
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 Singapore’s e-scooter laws to avoid being fined, jailed or even having their e-scooters/other PMDs seized.
This article covers the following:
This article does not cover e-bicycles/e-bikes, as these are not considered PMDs and are governed under 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 sell only approved e-scooters and other PMDs, you should still conduct your own checks that the e-scooter/PMD is LTA-approved. This is especially if you had bought your e-scooter secondhand.
If you use a non-LTA approved e-scooter/PMD, you can be fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed up to 6 months. The maximum penalties are 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.
Have You Registered Your E-Scooter?
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New year, new me(me) ? If you’re planning on cruising through 2019 on an e-scooter, note that you’ll have to register your e-scooters starting from today! ? Registration can be done at SingPost offices, or via @ltasg ‘s OneMotoring website for $20, but it’s free if you register before March 31st. Registration must be done by the end of June, and those who fail to do so risk being fined and/or jailed.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀- Note: Only persons aged 16 and above can register e-scooters. ? If you’re younger than 16, get someone older to register the e-scooter before you ride it! #SingaporeLegalAdvice
From 2 January 2019, it will be compulsory for persons aged 16 and above to register their e-scooter/PMD with the LTA.
(Persons below 16 years old may still ride e-scooters/PMDs while being supervised by someone 21 years old or older, but these e-scooters/PMDs will have to be registered by someone who is 16 years old or older.)
Registration costs $20 and will be done at the LTA’s E-scooter Inspection Centres by the retailer of the e-scooter/PMD before the e-scooter/PMD is sold to you.
Upon successful registration, you will need to display the following on your e-scooter:
- A registration mark stating your registration number
- An identification mark
- A UL2272 fire safety certification mark (more on this in the next section)
From 1 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.
This registration requirement does not apply to other PMDs such as electric hoverboards.
Does Your E-Scooter/PMD Comply with the UL2272 Fire Safety Standard?
From 1 July 2020 onwards, all motorised PMDs (including e-scooters) intended for use on public paths must comply with the UL2272 fire safety standard.
This means that the use of motorised PMDs that are not UL2272-compliant will be illegal from 1 July 2020 onwards.
Retailers will be banned from selling PMDs that do not comply with the UL2272 standard from 1 July 2019 onwards. But to be doubly sure, you may want to still ask the retailer whether a particular PMD is UL2272-compliant before buying it.
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? #ICYMI: ? e-scooter owners now have until 1 Jul 2020 to ensure that their e-scooters comply with the UL2272 safety standard. This deadline has been brought forward by 6 months from 1 Jan 2021, in light of the recent spate of e-scooter fires in homes: at least 4 fires last month (where one of them caused the death of one man), and 49 more in the first half of 2019. That’s more than the 52 cases reported in the whole of 2018 alone! ? – Although @ltasg (LTA) has stopped accepting registrations of non-UL2272 compliant e-scooters since 1 Jul 2019, owners of such e-scooters can still continue to ride them until the new deadline of 1 Jul 2020. ⏰ But after that date, individuals caught riding non-UL2272 compliant e-scooters can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed up to 3 months. Their e-scooter may also be forfeited. – According to @thestraitstimes, it seems that the majority of the 90,000 e-scooters currently registered with LTA are not UL2272 compliant. If so, this means that most of these e-scooters cannot be used after 1 Jul 2020 and might have to be thrown away. ? While this may cause some heart pain, it might be better to be safe than sorry: buying a new UL2272-compliant e-scooter would probably be less painful than losing your home in an e-scooter fire – or even your life ? #SingaporeLegalAdvice
Have You Taken the Mandatory E-Scooter/PMD Theory Test?
From 30 June 2021, e-scooter/PMD riders (or their supervising adults, if the rider is below 16 years old) will need to take and pass an online theory test by 31 December 2021 before being allowed to ride their devices.
Until 30 September 2021, the theory test will cost $5 and will allow up to two attempts. After this date, the test will cost $10.
Once you pass the theory test, you will be issued a digital certificate, which will be valid for life.
To study for the theory test, download the e-handbook for e-scooter/PMD riders on this LTA webpage (click on the “Mandatory Theory Test for Riders of E-Scooters and Power-Assisted Bicycles” section).
Riders caught riding without a digital certificate can be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed up to 6 months for a first offence, while repeat offenders can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months.
On Which Public Paths Can You Ride Your E-Scooter/PMD?
Under the AMA, PMDs must not be used on roads, footpaths or on pedestrian-only paths.
As of 3 April 2020, riders of all other motorised PMDs (such as hoverboards and electronic boards) have been banned on footpaths. This is in addition to the previous footpath ban on PMDs with handlebars, such as e-scooters.
In other words, e-scooters and other motorised PMDs can be used only on shared paths (also known as cycling 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 PMD there. Roads in SAF camps are included too. So if you happen to be an NSF or SAF regular, you cannot use your 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?
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. Footpaths can be used by pedestrians, cyclists and riders of PMDs that are not e-scooters.
E-scooter/PMD riders who use their e-scooters/PMDs on a pedestrian-only path, footpath or road 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.
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, footpaths 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, footpath or road for longer than is necessary. This means you cannot take advantage of the situation and ride on a pedestrian-only path, footpath or road for any substantial distance.
Riding of e-scooters on the grass
To get around the ban on e-scooters on footpaths, you may be thinking of riding your e-scooter on the stretches of grass (i.e. green verges) next to footpaths.
Please take note that this is also an offence and offenders can be fined up to $5,000 under the Parks and Trees Regulations.
Riding of e-scooters on drain covers or gratings
Under the Sewerage and Drainage Act, it is an offence to damage drains and storm water drainage systems (which include drain gratings). Offenders can be fined up to $40,000 and/or jailed up to 3 months.
In other words, if you cause damage to drain covers or gratings by riding your e-scooter over them, you may be liable for an offence.
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. As of 1 February 2019, the speed limits for e-scooter/PMD riders on footpaths and shared paths are:
(Note: users can only ride their PMDs on footpaths if their PMD doesn’t have handlebars)
|Shared paths (Useable by e-scooter riders)||25 km/h|
Penalties for speeding
E-scooter/PMD riders caught speeding can be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed up to 6 months. Repeat offenders can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed up to 6 months. Your e-scooter can also be seized and later forfeited.
Similarly, e-scooter/PMD riders who ride dangerously can be fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed up to 1 year. 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.
“Stop and Look Out” for Vehicles at Road Crossings
From 1 February 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.
No Holding/Using Communication Devices When Riding on Public Paths
From 1 August 2020, all riders (of bicycles, e-scooters and PMDs) must not hold in their hand and operate any mobile communication devices while riding on a public path.
Such devices include mobile phones and wireless handheld devices (e.g. tablets) with the function of texting, calling, or accessing the internet. However, they exclude wearable communication devices (e.g. smart watch) that are being worn by the rider in the manner intended by the device manufacturer.
Offenders can be fined up to $1,000 and/or jailed up to 3 months. The maximum penalties are doubled for repeat offenders.
Must E-Scooter/PMD Riders Wear Helmets?
From 1 February 2019, it is compulsory for cyclists (including e-bike riders) to wear helmets when riding on roads. 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 may still consider doing 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 that 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 onboard 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 that 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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