Getting an ebike and wondering if there are any things to take note of? ebike or electric bicycle is also known as Power Assisted Bicycle (PAB) in Singapore. Though ebikes are fundamentally bicycles, ebikes are equipped with an electric motor and battery to provide assistance to the rider. As such, an ebike can accelerate faster than a conventional bicycle. Therefore, there are separate regulations governing its use in Singapore.
There are 5 things you must know before you buy your first ebike in Singapore.
1) You must be 16 years to ride an ebike
Those below the age of 16 years are not allowed to ride on an ebike as a rider or pillion. In other words, you cannot use an ebike to ferry your kids to school or loan the ebike to your younger brother.
For many people who are buying their first ebike, this may come as a surprise information. This age restriction is to make sure the rider is old enough to operate a motorised vehicle on a road.
In addition, you must attend and pass a compulsory online theory test before you can ride the ebike on public paths. The requirement will commence in the first half of 2020.
2) All ebikes must be LTA type approved, affix with an orange seal and registration number
Unlike conventional bicycles and e-scooters, it is impossible to purchase an ebike from Taobao or ebay and use in Singapore upon receiving. This is because all ebikes have to be type approved by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
Type approval is a permission granted by the authorities to allow a product type to be sold or use in the country.
Nevertheless, (officially) you can buy an unregistered ebike and bring it to LTA Authorised Inspection Centers (AIC) for type-approval, sealing and registration yourself. But LTA has special requirements which are not applicable in other countries. Therefore the ebikes sold in other countries are most likely unable to fulfil LTA requirements.
Example: Start-up assistance feature
LTA does not allow ebikes to have start-up assistance feature even though the EN15194 standards allows for this feature. Therefore, most of the EN15194 test reports will indicate the existence of start-up assistance feature which is not accepted in Singapore.
For ebikes to be used in Singapore, the ebike has to be certified to EN15194:2011, does not have start-up assistance mode, does not have throttle, motor output of 250W or below and weighs less than 20kg.
After obtaining type approval, every ebike that the importer brings in subsequently must be sent to LTA appointed authorisation centers (STA and VICOM) for inspection and sealing.
Sealing is a process where the authorised center affixed a tamper-proof orange seal on each ebike. The orange seal has a unique identification number which will also be the registration number of the ebike.
Before the ebike can be used on public paths, you will need to register it first . Upon successfully registration, you must affix on the ebike a plate bearing the registration number assigned by LTA within 3 calendar days.
Almost everyone who is buying their first ebike will assume that the ebike is already typed approved, sealed, registered and affix with a liscence plate. This is only true if you are getting from reputable retailers.
3) The seller must transfer the ebike to you within 7 days
Every registered ebike is tagged to a company, association or person. If you bought a registered ebike, you must make sure the seller initiate the transfer process on LTA onemotoring within 7 calendar days of physically transferring the ebike to you. Upon which, you have 5 calendar days to login in to LTA onemotoring to confirm the transfer or it will lapse. Upon confirmation, there is a $11 non-refundable transfer fee payable directly to LTA via onemotoring.
4) ebike can be used on roads
This is the important information that you must remember if you are buying your first ebike. ebikes are legally allowed to be used on roads, Park Connector Networks, cycling paths and shared paths. Ebikes are NOT allowed on pedestrian pathways. In addition, before you can use your ebike on public paths, you must pass the ebike safety theory test.
If you prefer riding on pedestrian pathway, you can consider a conventional bicycle, especially a lightweight compact foldable bicycle from CAMP USA.
Ebikes, like bicycles and e-scooters, are also not allowed on void decks and all common areas within housing estates such as playground, basketball courts, corridors, linkways etc.
5) it is illegal to modify an ebike
Any kind of modifications may compromise the safety of the ebike and also the safety of the riders and other road users.
Therefore the law does not allow any kind of modifications. Both the person or company who provide the modifications services and the rider will be penalise.
Therefore think twice before adding that additional third party battery pack to your ebike. You are much better getting an ebike with a detachable battery. (Example: MOBOT MINI 16)
6) Helmet is compulsory
It is mandatory for ebike riders and their pillion to wear a helmet when riding on roads.
In addition, it is also mandatory to switch on the front and rear light in the dark.
First offenders may be fined up to $1,000 and/or 3 months jail terms.
All ebikes riders must adopt the safe riding practices to safeguard yourself and share the roads safely with motorists. Every user has a role to play to build a better path sharing culture.
Ride safe. Stay safe.
Check out MOBOT range of ebike here. Or if you prefer a conventional foldable lightweight bicycle, click here instead.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q1: Can I switch off the ebike and ride it like a conventional bicycle on the pedestrian pathway?
No, you cannot. Even when the ebike power is switched off, it is still physcially an ebike. Therefore you have to dismount and push it when on pedestrian pathway.
Q2: Can I remove the battery and ride it like a conventional bicycle on the pedestrian pathway?
Strictly speaking, no. This is because the ebike will still have a motor therefore cannot be classified as a conventional bicycle. Therefore you have to dismount and push it when on pedestrian pathway.
Q3: Can I register the ebike under my father’s name but I am the one that actually use it?
Yes, you can. The authorities require every ebike to be registered under a company, organisation or person. After it is registered, the registered owner has a duty to make sure the ebike is being used by a person aged 16 years and above and also passed the theory test.
Therefore we recommend that the user who uses the ebike most of the time to register.
Q4: Do I need to wear a helmet even when I am not cycling on roads?
Yes, you have to. It is mandatory for all ebike riders to wear helmet. Do not be confused with the conventional bicycle where it is mandatory for riders to wear helmet when cycling on roads.
Q5: I am a food delivery rider. Can I purchase an ebike with the eTG?
The eTG is adminstrated by LTA through the major food delivery compaines. Therefore you have to check with your company on your eligibility. If you are eligbile, please take note that the eTG works on a reimbursement basis. In other words, you have pay upfront and claim through the food delivery company.
The deadline for eTG application is 31 Dec 2019. And some of the food delivery compaines allow rider to submit their claim on or before 31 Mar 2020.
Q6: Can I install a throttle on ebike so that I do not need to pedal?
No. It is illegal for an ebike to have a throttle. And this also includes any form of start up assistance mode where the ebike is able to move up to 6km/h without the rider pedalling.
In Singapore, the ebike motor cannot be activated when the rider stops pedalling.
Q7: I have a spare and comptabile battery pack at home. Can I install it on my ebike to extend the range?
No. It is illegal to modify an ebike. Any modifications may compromise the electrical safety of the ebike. This may result in damages to the controller or motor. In the worse scenario, it may cause a fire.
If you wish to extend the range, we recommended that you purchase an ebike with detachable battery so that you can purchase original spare batteries.