How easy is it to scoot around Singapore?
TNP's reporter rides an e-scooter from Toa Payoh to Marina Bay Sands, following mobility panel's recommendations
It was a rolling good time - sort of.
I was assigned to travel from The New Paper's office at Toa Payoh North to Marina Bay Sands (MBS) using only an e-scooter.
And I had to observe all the recommendations that were put forward by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel in March.
Recently, the Land Transport Authority clamped down on errant e-scooter users who ride recklessly at high speeds along footpaths and on roads.
So, what is it like to e-scoot responsibly from one point to another in Singapore?
I rented an e-scooter, researched the route that I needed to take and set off on a hot afternoon last Friday at about 4pm.
The recommendations by the panel meant that I had to travel at 15kmh on footpaths and 25kmh on shared paths and cycling paths.
I also had to get off and push the e-scooter whenever I crossed roads or cut through parks.
And I had to always be on the look out for pedestrians and to give way to them.
During the journey, which was just under 9km, I faced issues that I don't normally face as a pedestrian.
The e-scooter that I rented was the Citybug2S, a light and manoeuvrable e-scooter that can travel at a top speed of 22kmh.
To get the motor going, I had to push off like a normal kick-scooter.
My T-shirt was soaked in sweat and covered in bird droppings and I was tired.TNP reporter Azim Azman on his journey via e-scooter from Toa Payoh to Marina Bay Sands
However, the many pedestrian crossings on my route meant that I never really had a stretch where I was able to cruise.
I had to constantly get off the scooter, walk across, get on the scooter and push off to get going again.
At Balestier Road, there are rows of shophouses with narrow pavements that were not built with an overweight reporter travelling on a e-scooter in mind.
That meant more walking.
From Balestier Road, I scooted to Jalan Besar to meet my colleague who was shooting pictures of me on the scooter.
It was like an obstacle course. Often, the pavements were blocked by construction or parked vehicles.
Once again, I had to get off the e-scooter, push it around the obstacle, and then get on again.
After the umpteenth time, I was annoyed.
By the time I got to Jalan Besar, it was 5pm and the pedestrian traffic had grown heavier.
I had to be extra cautious here because I did not want to hit anyone and make headlines for the wrong reasons.
The pedestrians seemed oblivious to their surroundings because they were on their phones, although I'm pretty sure I saw some of them shoot me disapproving looks as I scooted slowly past them.
Thankfully, nothing happened.
From Jalan Besar, the scoot to MBS was relatively uneventful, except for when I was used as target practice by some errant birds.
I reached MBS at almost 7pm drenched in sweat and tired.
But I had to I admit, I had fun.
I saw parts of Singapore that I would not have seen.
But would I use e-scooters as my main form of transportation?
My T-shirt was soaked in sweat and covered in bird droppings and I was tired.
I'll stick to public transport for now.
But having said that, it would be nice to have an e-scooter, just for fun.
Errant users a minority: Retailers
Videos of electric scooter users speeding have caused the public some concern.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a Facebook post last Wednesday that they have seized the e-scooters of two riders who were speeding and riding recklessly on roads.
However, industry experts told The New Paper that such e-scooter riders are in the minority.
"A very rare minority of our customers use e-scooters for riding at extreme speeds," said Mr Ifrey Lai, 46, the owner of Mobot, which manufactures and sells mobility devices.
"Most of our customers use it for their daily transport or for entertainment purposes when they go out with their family and friends."
Mr Lai said that his company and others that sell e-scooters in Singapore cap the maximum speed of such devices at 25kmh to comply with LTA guidelines.
He said: "Long distance travel is not suitable for LTA-compliant e-scooters because it would take an hour to travel 20 to 25km and it's not comfortable."
Mr Lai suggested that e-scooters be used instead for neighbourhood travel and distances no more than 5km from home.
Mr Lai also recommended that riders slow down when approaching a crowded area and to dismount and push their devices at crowded bus stops.
Mr Lawrence Lee, 37, a manager at Scooter Hub, a company that specialises in the sale and services of electric scooters, said that riders should always wear gloves and protective gear, especially on long trips.
They should also always check their scooters before starting a trip.
He also said that riders should make sure they know where they are going before setting out.
"Riders should plan out their routes and know how much time they need," said Mr Lee, adding that as a rule of thumb, riders should go slower the more people there are on the route.
At Mobot, every purchase of an e-scooter comes with a rundown of safety guidelines and tips with a sales assistant, as well as a test of the device.
Mr Lai said that customers who buy e-scooters on websites like Carousell have no chance to test their device.
Mr Victor Lee, general manager of personal mobility device distributor Falcon PEV, said that time should be given to let the public understand e-scooters because of their benefits as Singapore moves towards a car-lite society.
"E-scooters are affordable and do not take up too much space," he said.
- JOSEPH LEE
In April, Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo announced that the Government will accept the Active Mobility Advisory Panel's recommendations in full.
- Bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs) like kick-scooters, electric scooters, electric unicycles and hoverboards, will be allowed to on footpaths, shared paths and cycling paths.
- Electric bicycles are not allowed on footpaths and will need to be registered.
- The speed limit on footpaths will be capped at 15kmh, and at 25kmh on shared paths and cycling paths.
- Bicycles and PMDs must be no more than 700mm wide.
- The devices must have a maximum unladen weight of 20kg.
- Maximum speed of 25kmh for motorised devices..
Most of the recommendations are expected to be implemented by the end of the year.