Saturday, 21 November 2015

LTA clamps down on motorised bikes

By Christopher Tan, Senior Transport Correspondent, The Straits Times, 20 Nov 2015

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is tightening technical requirements for motorised bicycles and has rolled out far stiffer penalties, as the number of offences related to these two-wheelers soars.

With immediate effect, the fine for the first offence by errant riders, such as those who use non-compliant motorised bikes, will be trebled to $300. Repeat offenders face a fine of $500, up from $200 previously, the LTA said yesterday.

Good evening folks! To improve the safety of power-assisted bicycles (PABs), we will revise technical requirements...
Posted by Land Transport Authority – We Keep Your World Moving on Thursday, November 19, 2015

Repeat offenders may also be charged in court and have their bicycles seized.

Retailers found selling non-compliant motorised bikes or modifying these bikes illegally will continue to be charged in court.

The harsher penalties come as the number of summonses issued for the use or sale of illegal motorised bikes rose from just 11 in 2008 to 1,280 in the first 10 months of this year, according to LTA figures.

At least 20 people have been caught this week for using illegal motorised bikes.

The LTA said it is also considering possible legislative amendments "to further increase the penalties". It said the move reflects "significant safety concerns" over these bikes.

And from Dec 1, new motorised bicycles must meet the European Standard EN15194 and not weigh more than 20kg. However, the maximum output of their motors is being raised to 250 watts, from 200 watts currently. Top speed remains capped at 25kmh, and only electric motors are allowed.

The LTA said bikes that meet EN15194 - which is adopted by 33 countries across Europe as well as Australia - are harder to modify illegally.

From Dec 1, bike retailers may submit applications for type approval of models that meet these tighter technical requirements - similar to what car importers must do. Applications can be made to LTA-authorised vehicle inspection centres, and bicycles which pass will be affixed with more prominent orange seals.

Bikes which have been approved under the current requirements and affixed with blue seals will still be allowed for use on public roads.

Mr Chris Kuah, owner of A-Tech Bike Supply, which sells up to 300 motorised bikes a month, said he understands the new rules "because I have kids myself". "Some of these riders speed along corridors and, because of the weight of these bikes, they can be quite dangerous to pedestrians," he said.

But he added that the 20kg limit "is a bit tight", as many motorised bikes weigh 50kg. "Some weigh as much as 90kg," he added. "Even a normal (non-motorised) bike weighs 17 to 18kg."

Mr Kuah said, however, there are a handful of models which can meet the new weight limit.

Thumbs up from road users, cycling groups
By Kok Xing Hui, The Straits Times, 20 Nov 2015

Tighter rules on motorised bicycles that kick in next month will make roads and pedestrian pathways safer, said road users and cycling groups.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced yesterday that from Dec 1, new motorised bicycles must meet the European Standard EN15194 and not weigh more than 20kg. Top speed remains capped at 25kmh, and only electric motors are allowed.

"Just these two rules alone send a clear indication of what is right and what is wrong," said Mr Denis Koh, who heads interest group Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, referring to the weight and speed limits.

Limiting the weight of the bikes makes it hard for users to modify their bikes to go really fast, he said, adding that some can go up to 70 or 80kmh, faster than a motorcycle.

"The difference is that those who ride motorised bikes on the road don't go for licences like motorcyclists so they don't know traffic rules. When you give a powerful machine to someone ignorant of the traffic rules, it becomes dangerous for all the stakeholders," he said.

The LTA told The Straits Times an enforcement operation was conducted with the police on Monday along Woodlands Crescent and 10 people were caught using bikes fitted with a throttle - one of the most common illegal modifications. A throttle enables a bicycle to function more like a motorcycle, and is considered dangerous as it can cause a bike to inadvertently jump off from a stationary position, say, at a traffic junction.

On Wednesday, another 10 people were nabbed during an operation at Pioneer Road North, Jurong West streets 91 to 93 and Jurong West streets 81 to 83. Of these, seven were caught using bike throttles and three were using unapproved bike models. Three bikes were seized as they were used by recalcitrant offenders.

Mr Francis Chu, 54, co-founder of the Love Cycling SG group, welcomed the new rules and the new fine of $300, but suggested that the authorities look into shops that do the modifications instead of cyclists. "The enforcement on the end-user requires a lot of resources, but if you're able to trace back to the source, if the shop gets fined and stops modifying motorised bikes, you solve the problem of 100 potential illegal users," he said.

Civil servant Celine Thomasz, 52, however, would like to see motorised bicycles banned altogether, or licensed as motorbikes. While users are only allowed to ride motorised bikes on roads, this has not stopped some of them from using pavements.

"Only old-fashioned bikes should be allowed. If it goes any faster, it should be classified as a motorcycle. There are a lot of children and elderly people who use the pavements and it's very dangerous for them."

* Over 250 summonses for illegal motorised bike users
Dec figure higher than 155 monthly average after tougher rules for such bikes kicked in
By Adrian Lim, The Sunday Times, 10 Jan 2016

A higher-than-average number of summonses - more than 250 - were issued to users of illegal motorised bikes last month, after the introduction of tougher penalties.

The penalties were announced last November, along with stricter technical requirements for such bikes, as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) tries to enhance the safety of pedestrians and road users.

LTA said it has "strengthened enforcement efforts" since 2011 to tackle the scourge of illegally modified electric two-wheelers, which are also called power-assisted bicycles (PAB).

During an enforcement operation held by LTA and the Traffic Police in Boon Lay last Wednesday, observed by The Sunday Times, most of the motorised bikes that were hauled up were found to be equipped with throttles, a start-up assistance feature.

An LTA spokesman said: "The throttle feature may inadvertently cause a PAB to move off from a stationary position, for example, while waiting at traffic junctions. This poses a safety hazard not only to PAB users but other road users as well."

Under the rules, the motor power of the motorised bike can cut in only when the rider starts to pedal.

Is your motorised bike LTA-approved? Besides using the roads with consideration for others, it's also good #RoadSense to check if it's street legal.
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With stricter requirements kicking in last month, bikes have to meet the European Standard EN15194 - making them harder to modify illegally - and not weigh more than 20kg.

During Wednesday's operation, 33 motorised bicycles were checked and 16 were found to be illegal. Four of these were seized as their users were repeat offenders.

According to the LTA, 256 summonses were issued last month, compared with last year's monthly average of about 155. For the entire year, there were 1,863 summonses .

There were 1,042 summonses in 2014, and 978 in 2013.

Last month, enforcement operations were conducted in other hot spots, such as Bedok, Woodlands, Tampines and Geylang, netting 69 illegal motorised bikes. Nine of these were seized.

Besides such targeted enforcement, LTA officers also conduct checks during their daily patrols.

Under the new penalty regime, first-time offenders are fined $300, up from $100 previously, while repeat offenders are fined $500, up from $200.

Among those caught on Wednesday was a 34-year-old building painter from China, whose bike was found to have a throttle and had not been approved for use here. He bought the second-hand bicycle off the Internet for $600. The man, who declined to be named, was fined $300. He said in Mandarin: "I came to Singapore about a year ago and am unaware of the rules here. "

* Tighter e-bicycle rules to kick in February 1, 2016
From Feb 1, those looking to buy power-assisted bicycles should look out for the new orange seal on them that indicates it has met the revised technical requirements, says LTA.
By Nadia Jansen Hassan and Shivaanan Selvasevaran, Channel NewsAsia, 27 Jan 2016

Tighter rules governing power-assisted bicycles, or e-bicycles, will kick in from Feb 1, and those looking to get such bicycles should look out for an orange seal, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Wednesday (Jan 27).

The orange seal indicates that the e-bicycle has met the revised technical requirements that are aligned with European Standard EN15194, LTA said. The new requirements are:

E-bicycles that have been approved under the current requirements and affixed with the blue seal will still be allowed for use on public roads, the agency said.

Retailers will be allowed to clear their current stock of older bicycles with the blue labels. As for those who want to sell e-bicycles approved under the new requirements, they will have to apply to LTA-authorised inspection centres. The inspection centres will check the bicycles to ensure that they meet the requirements.

"As at Jan 25, the authorised inspection centres have received five type approval applications for EN-compliant models. They have approved one application (one bicycle model) and are processing the others," said a spokesperson from LTA.

One of the applicants is Mr Chris Kuah, who owns A-Tech Bike Supply in MacPherson. He has cleared out his older stock of e-bicycles by bringing down prices by up to S$300.

Said Mr Kuah of the pending e-bicycle models: "It is safer, and it has better technology. For the old bikes, they're easy to modify."

Orange is the new Seal when it comes to Power-Assisted Bicycles (PABs).We’re tightening technical requirements for...
Posted by Land Transport Authority – We Keep Your World Moving on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

LTA said last November that the number of offences involving the use or sale of non-compliant e-bicycles has been increasing over the years, from only 11 notices issued in 2008 to 1,280 notices issued between January and October last year.

To address this, it raised the composition fine for first-time offenders to S$300, up from the current S$100. Subsequent offences will attract composition sums of S$500, up from the current S$200.

Repeat offenders may also be charged in court, LTA added. Retailers found selling non-compliant e-bicycles, or modifying e-bicycles illegally also face prosecution. LTA said then it is reviewing possible amendments to the legislation to further increase the penalties.

* * Stiffer penalties expected as more flout e-bike rules
Need to boost punishment and enforcement as offences doubled from 2014 to 2015: LTA
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 14 Mar 2016

The authorities will be getting tougher on those who run riot on electric bicycles.

There were more than 2,000 offences involving such bicycles last year - almost double the number in 2014 - and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has said the increase is proof stiffer penalties are needed.

"The growing PAB (power-assisted bicycle) population and increase in the number of PAB offences necessitates further raising of penalties and strengthening of enforcement efforts," an LTA spokesman told The Straits Times last week.

She did not specify how much further the screws would be tightened.

But the LTA's comments come barely a month after harsher penalties and tougher rules for those who sell or use illegally modified PABs, or e-bikes, kicked in.

These include a weight limit of 20kg for such bikes and stiffer fines. Under the new penalties, first-time offenders are fined $300, while repeat offenders are fined $500.

Responding to queries, the LTA said it took a "serious view" of those who flout the rules, pointing out that it has been imposing stricter penalties since 2011.

Last month, a pair of teenagers crashed into a car after they ran a red light on their e-bike. A video of the accident went viral and ignited safety concerns anew over the proliferation of illegally modified e-bikes, which can travel in excess of 70kmh. Current rules state that the e-bike's motor has to be cut when the speed reaches 25kmh.

In Parliament this month, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in a written reply to Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan that government agencies had issued warnings, composition fines or took to court 2,027 e-bike cases last year.

In 2014, the figure was 1,096.

Most of the bookings were by the LTA. It issued 1,863 summonses last year - with the figure rising exponentially from 11 in 2008.

Eight retailers have also been taken to task for selling non-compliant PABs, said the LTA.

Mr Tan told The Straits Times that he has seen illegally modified e-bikes speeding along roads and park connectors in a very unsafe manner. "A lot of these users do not follow traffic rules and don't wear helmets. They can be a safety hazard to themselves and other road users."

He suggested that the authorities confiscate the illegally modified e-bikes of errant riders when they are caught. Now, only repeat offenders have their e-bikes seized.

Mr Ang Hin Kee, an Ang Mo Kio GRC MP and deputy chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, said the penalties need to target three groups of people - retailers who import illegal e-bikes, those who modify them, and customers.

Mr Jason Koh, operations manager of MKP Bikes, which sells PABs, said errant retailers who modify or sell illegal e-bikes give all in the industry a bad name.

While many want speeding PABs to slow down, some e-bike users hope some of the rules can be relaxed, such as the one on the use of a throttle, which is now outlawed.

Arts director Robert Liew, who has been using e-bikes for 12 years, said the use of a throttle afforded more stability to elderly users.

The 67-year-old pointed out that e-bikes without throttles were prone to surging forward because the motor power cannot be modulated and kicks in once users start pedalling.

"A throttle gives a lot more stability... The increased penalties should be for those who modify their bikes (to operate) above the power limit," he said.

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