Following the recent ban of e-scooters from all footpaths, Senior Minister of State for Transport Dr Lam Pin Min told Parliament on Monday (6 January) that more than S$1 billion will be needed to speed up the completion of cycling path network in Singapore.
Last August, the Government announced that it is looking to triple the cycling path network in the country – from the current 440km to 1,300km by 2030. However, Dr Lam revealed last month that it aimed to quicken plans by “a couple of years”.
Prior to the ban of e-scooters on footpath last November, riders had access to all 5,500 km of footpaths, but now they only can use the 440km cycling paths available in the country.
In Monday’s Parliament session, Dr Lam revealed that his ministry is in midst of discussing with the Finance Ministry to secure extra funding in order to expand the cycling network to 1,300km.
“We are also discussing with MOF (Ministry of Finance) to secure additional funding for this purpose. Our preliminary estimate is that we may have to spend more than S$1 billion to complete the island-wide cycling path network,” he said.
He added, “We will accelerate the pace of implementation by a few years. We are discussing with Housing Board, NParks and the local town councils on a practical timeline.”
He went on to say that more details regarding this will be said at the Committee of Supply debates.
The decision to hasten the speed of building the cycling network came following concerns raised by e-scooter users regarding connectivity in Singapore.
Accidents involving e-scooters reduced
Separately, Dr Lam also revealed that since the ban on 5 November, accidents involving e-scooters fell by about 30%, adding that it can expect further reduction as enforcement is stepped up.
He also said that a recent telephone poll commissioned by government feedback unit Reach also found out that two of three respondents agree that footpath safety had gotten better since the ban took effect.
In response to questions raised by Jurong GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Ang Wei Neng, Dr Lam noted that between 5 November and 31 December, about 6,000 advisories were issued by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to remind riders of the new regulations. He also added that more than 300 summons were sent out to “reckless riders” who were speeding and/or riding on non-compliant devices.
LTA began its full ban enforcement this year. Those caught breaking the law by riding e-scooters on footpaths can be fined of up to S$2,000 or up to three months in jail, or both.
The ban was introduced following high number of accidents involving such devices, several of which were fatal.
During the Parliament session, Workers’ Party Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan asked if additional resources were allocated to enforce the footpath ban. In response to this, Dr Lam said that the LTA had increased the number of enforcement officers, which includes auxiliary police officers, from 100 to 182 officer.
“Recruitment efforts are underway and LTA targets to enlarge the team to 200 soon,” revealed Dr Lam, noting that technology like roving close-circuit TC cameras were being utilised to help complement enforcement effort.
Since the beginning of this year, the minister said that 27 errant e-scooter riders have been caught.
Two new bills introduced
Dr Lam also introduced two new bills in Parliament on Monday.
The first is the Active Mobility (Amendment) Bill which looks at strengthening the regulatory regime on active mobility devices and retailers, as well as to promote better public path safety.
The Bill also makes necessary amendments to the Road Traffic Act to increase penalties for personal mobility device (PMD) related offences.
The second is SME (Control and Licensing) Bill that presents a new Act which extends the scope of the current licensing procedure for active mobility device-sharing operators. This proposed new Act will replace the device-sharing licensing regime in the Parking Places Act.
Other in-depth details regarding this Bills will be revealed in Parliament in February.