Riders of active mobility devices such as Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs), Power-Assisted Bicycles (PABs) and bicycles will soon face additional restrictions from Aug. 1, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced today (July 13).
These changes make it illegal for those under 16 to ride e-scooters without adult supervision.
All riders of mobility devices will also face penalties for using mobile devices while riding.
The restrictions are part of changes to the law that were passed in Feb. this year, and previously said to be taking effect in the second half of 2020.
E-scooter riders below age 16 require adult supervision
From Aug. 1, it will be an offence for those under the age of 16 to ride e-scooters on public paths, unless they are supervised by an adult aged 21 and above.
The supervising adult does not need to be a parent of the rider.
LTA said that this was to tackle reckless riding by young persons.
The minimum riding age of 16 applies only to e-scooter riders.
However, it will be applied for other types of motorised PMDs in future, according to Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary, who spoke about the changes to the law in Parliament.
Penalties for underage riders
The maximum penalty for underage PMD riders caught on public paths will be a fine of S$1,000 and imprisonment for three months for the first offence, with double the maximum penalty for subsequent offences.
When this was debated in Parliament, Nominated Member of Parliament Anthea Ong expressed discomfort at the prospect of those under 16 being imprisoned under the updated law.
Janil explained that the courts would "retain discretion in imposing punishment" depending on the circumstances of each case.
Can those under 16 be jailed?
Under section 37 of the Children and Young Person's Act, a child (defined as someone below the age of 14) cannot be sentenced to imprisonment.
The same section states that a young person (someone older than 14, but below 16) cannot be imprisoned, "unless the court certifies that he is of so unruly a character that he cannot be detained in a place of detention or a juvenile rehabilitation centre".
Riders cannot use mobile devices while riding
From Aug. 1, it will also be an offence for riders to hold a mobile communication device (such as a mobile phone or tablet) in their hand, and operate any of its functions while riding.
This applies to users of all vehicles regulated by the Active Mobility Act, which includes PMDs, PABs, and bicycles, as well as Personal Mobility Aids (PMAs).
This is to address safety concerns related to distracted riding, LTA said.
However, using a wearable device such as a smart watch is allowed, provided that it is worn in the intended manner.
Also, devices that are mounted can be used.
You can see LTA's post about the changes here:
Code of conduct for pedestrians
LTA told Mothership that it would also be introducing a code of conduct for pedestrians as well, which was also among a list of recommendations by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel which were accepted by the government in Dec. 2019.
The code of conduct is meant to guide pedestrians in sharing paths safely, by encouraging them to take precautions like keeping left on footpaths and staying alert.
Top image via LTA on Facebook