By Joel Conceicao
Ah, road regulations. We all have to follow them, whether we’re driving a car or crossing the street. And the same goes for e-bikes and e-scooters (or PMDs if you want to get technical). Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you would’ve noticed these devices zipping around the streets – some dangerously so.
Kids have been knocked down. People have died too. While it’s all fun and games when riding a PMD, safety should always be a top priority. So if you’re thinking of getting one of these devices in the near future, here are some tips to help you become a responsible rider. Remember, safety rules are there for a reason!
E-bikes, or power-assisted bicycles, are great fun. However, they are crazy fast too. A good friend of mine once told me that an e-bike kept up with his scooter – on the road at 60km/h, mind you. Yes, that’s right. E-bikes are actually allowed on the road, but they aren’t allowed to go that quick, and it makes sense to implement regulations to keep riders in check. Here are the most important ones:
1) The rider must at least be 16 years old.
2) The rider must wear suitable protective bicycle helmets.
3) Cycling is not allowed on pedestrian footpaths. Roads, cycling paths, and shared paths are fine.
4) The maximum speed of your e-bike should not exceed 25 km/h. That means no illegal, “need-for-speed” modifications. Those caught can be jailed up to three months or fine up to $2,000 for the first offence. Repeat offenders may be jailed up to six months or may be fined up to $5,000. Not fun at all.
5) Again, no modifications must be made to power output. Your e-bike should not exceed 250 watts.
6) Motor power should only kick in when the cyclist starts to pedal. So, if you want some throttling action, please go learn how to ride a proper motorbike.
7) The weight of your e-bike cannot exceed 20kg.
8) All e-bikes must now be registered under LTA.
In any case, there are plenty of stylish e-bikes to go for, so there’s no real need to “modify” them. You can find a few good ones from companies like Falcon P.E.V.
Especially sick models include the Tsinova TSO1 Electric Bike ($1,499); which has a vintage design and smart drive system, and the EPIQUE City E-Bike ($995); a foldable device that’s sporty and lightweight.
Unlike e-bikes, e-scooters are relatively new in Singapore, having been around only for the past few years. They are, however, incredibly popular and it’s easy to see why. They’re slick, quick, and convenient: what’s not to love about them?
Well, loads actually (for people who don’t own them).
Earlier this year, a woman actually rode an e-scooter on the road with her kid at Punggol – on the freaking road! And scarily, that’s not the only rash act. There have been an increasing amount of accidents in recent years, so it’s no surprise that there have been a lot of backlash from the public.
If you’d like to be the cool person who’s considerate to others, while still have fun at the same time; here are some regulations to consider when riding an e-scooter:
1) E-scooters are allowed on cycling/shared paths and pedestrian footpaths but strictly not on roads, as well as pedestrian overhead bridges.
2) Speeds must be limited to 25km/h on cycling/shared paths and 15km/h on footpaths.
3) Lights must be switched on in the dark.
4) Playing music out loud is fine, but use your common sense and don’t disturb people at sensitive places and times, like wakes or late at night. Oh, and please be a good DJ too – that means laying off the Bieber and Eurotrash.
It ain’t rocket science, people. Staying safe will not only protect you, but normal pedestrians too. Convenience shouldn’t come with danger attached. That’s something we’d all do well to remember.
That said; if you like to check out more cool PMDs, like e-bikes or e-scooters, check out Falcon P.E.V’s website. Their list is extensive!
For more information on road safety in Singapore, visit lta.gov.sg.
Images: Falcon P.E.V