E-Scooter Ban

by Alexandra Pacurar

Everything You Need To Know About Singapore’s Latest E-Scooter Ban 

In the article below, we are taking you step by step through the latest regulations on riding e-scooters in Singapore.

An increase in accidents has caused legislators in Singapore to ban the use of e-scooters on sidewalks in the city-state. The most severe event, which took place just two months ago, has led to an elderly woman losing her life after she was hit by an e-scooter as she was riding her bike. The new regulations took effect on Nov. 5 and have caused a wave of shock among e-scooter operators and retailers.  

Currently, there are more than 100,000 registered e-scooters in Singapore. The local government had hoped to use the vehicles as part of their last-mile connectivity programs, but the increased number of traffic incidents have led to this drastic measure. Previously, local authorities had imposed speed limits, the need for riders to obtain a license prior to riding an e-scooter and have launched other safe-riding initiatives, but all these failed to produce the expected results and increase public safety.  

E-Scooter Ban explained

So, what does this ban actually mean? It means that e-scooter riders are not allowed to share sidewalks or footpaths with pedestrians or bicyclists. Singapore joins Japan and some European states like Germany and France in limiting the use of these two-wheeled electric devices. E-scooters can be used on park connector networks and bike lanes. The use of the vehicles remains forbidden on roads. Below you will find a more detailed explanation regarding what type of vehicles can be used on sidewalks, park connector paths, bike lanes and roads. The ban does not affect personal mobility aids.

So what exactly was banned and where can we ride e-scooters in Singapore?
On footpaths: bikes, personal mobility aids
On park connector networks: bikes, e-bikes, e-scooters, personal mobility aids
On roads: bikes, e-bikes
On bicycle lanes: bikes, e-bikes, e-scooters, personal mobility aid

By the end of the year, riders who do not comply will only receive warnings, but starting from Jan. 1, 2020, offenders risk an S$2,000 ($1,471) fine and up to three months in jail. In Europe, fines are considerably lower at —135 euros ($150). Starting next Spring, the ban will be extended to hoverboards and unicycles.

Consequences & Outlook

The measure, approved on Nov. 4 and enforced the following day, took e-scooter retailers and delivery services using the devices by surprise. One such retailer estimated that losses caused by the new law will add up to $1.5 million, according to The Sunday Times. Similar businesses had spent significant amounts of money to comply with the fire regulations (UL2272) previously imposed by local authorities. This was also a measure aimed at increasing public safety after a number of such devices caught fire or caused fires and damages.

The Singapore government anticipated the issue and announced a $7 million trade-in plan that would help ride-sharing of delivery services companies replace e-scooters with e-bikes or power-assisted bicycles (PABs) and other alternatives. However, business owners are skeptical of this solution’s efficiency. 

While it may seem like a very unpopular measure for the moment, the future seems bright(er). Singapore’s local government anticipates that the network of cycling lanes (currently at 440 kilometers or 273 miles) will triple by 2030, which will offer e-scooter riders significantly more space.

Other cities around the globe are also considering banning or limiting the use of e-scooters. In Nashville, the number of e-scooter operators in the city has been reduced from seven to three following a fatal accident. Also, the number of vehicles each such business will be able to use (initially) is 500 with the possibility of expansion.

France will ban electric scooters from its sidewalks starting in September after locals grew frustrated with the vehicles congesting public areas and causing an increase in accidents.

Paris and other cities have become home to thousands of e-scooters since their introduction just a year ago, with several companies operating scooter-sharing systems in the capital.

Riding e-scooters is considered risky. According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Texas' Austin, Public Health Department shows that one in three injured riders were hurt on their first trip and about 63 percent had ridden nine times or fewer before their injury. During the three-month research period, nearly one million scooter trips took place in Austin, and 20 individuals were injured per 100,000 scooter trips.