Singapore has introduced new and more stringent penalties on the reckless use of personal mobility devices, These include skateboards, kick-scooters, e-scooters, hoverboards and electric bicycles.

Those caught riding these personal mobility devices or PMDs can be fined up to S$5,000 (£2,860) or face jail terms of up to six months or both. For those who do not provide personal particulars or give assistance in an accident, users face fines of up to S$3,000 (£1,718) or 12 months jail or both.

If PMD users cause injury to others, they may also be charged under the Penal Code and can be fined up to S$5,000 or face prison for up to a year or both.

Those who illegally modify or sell non-compliant bicycles, PMDs or power-assisted bicycles (PABs) face fines of up to $5,000 or a jail term of up to three months, or both for the first offence. Previously, the penalty was a fine of up to S$2,000.

In addition, the Land Transport Authority will appoint volunteers to serve as 'public path wardens' to patrol public paths to 'educate the public on safe practices. These wardens however do not have powers to seize or arrest but have the authority to secure the personal particulars of suspected offenders.

The republic's Senior Minister of State for Transport, Josephine Teo said: "We are still some distance away from attaining the desirable level of graciousness and consideration. More regularly than we would like, we hear feedback about recklessness by cyclists and PMD user.

"As it stands today, I'm afraid the burden lies more with cyclists and PMD users to demonstrate that the vast majority of them can be relied upon to be safety-conscious and responsible users of public paths."

She however said that the government had to be realistic that it "may take several years before we get to a new balance, where the different users of public paths can happily co-exist with one another."

She said that while the government does not intend to ban bicycles and PMDs on footpaths, it has to act to "reduce friction between different users," Channel News Asia reports. The government however has banned the use of e-bicycles on footpaths and PMDs are not allowed to be used on roads. Legislation to this effect - the Active Mobility Bill - was passed in parliament on Tuesday 10 January.

Cycles and PMDs are now allowed to on footpaths provided they travel below 15km per hour and 25km per hour on shared or cycling paths.

Despite pressure to introduce compulsory insurance for these devices, the minister insisted that this will not be mandatory due to the "very broad range of cyclists and PMD users of different ages and levels of affluence."

All PABs will also have to be registered and have registration plates as they are more prone to illegal modifications to achieve high speeds, she said.

Widening footpaths

The government is also planning to widen footpaths on the island to at least 1.8 metres wide, from the current 1.5 metres.

The network of dedicated cycling paths, which will nearly double to 700 kilometres, will be around 2 metres wide for intra town paths and 2.5 metres wide for inter-town paths.

"It will take time, but we will continue to look into expanding the network and widening footpaths," Teo said.