It’s official, the Transport Ministry has banned e-scooters, mopeds from public roads

Image credit: Malay Mail, Bolt on Unsplash

In the past number of months, e-scooters have become an increasingly familiar sight for many Malaysians living around major metropolitan areas. Touted as being a new form of personal transport for city dwellers, e-scooters are part of a new category of vehicles known as Personal Mobility Devices (PMD). Often, they are operated using an electric motor capable of propelling these e-scooters of speeds up to 25 kilometres-per-hour.

Transport Ministry prohibits e-scooters & some mobility devices from public roads 

And while some service providers have already set-up shop in Malaysia and are offering rental services for e-scooters to locals, the guidelines and regulations surrounding their use has been murky. Until now, that is. According to Transport Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, the use of certain micromobility vehicles on public roadways is prohibited, effective immediately.

Transport minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong has announced that e-scooters are prohibited from public roads. Image credits: Malay Mail
Transport minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong has announced that e-scooters are prohibited from public roads. Image credits: Malay Mail

In quoting Dr Wee, The Star reports that this prohibition will extend to the use of mopeds, personal mobility devices including electric scooters, devices with internal combustion engines or propelled by human power as well as personal mobility aids. The minister also points out that the Road Traffic (Prohibition of Use of Certain Microbility Vehicles) Rules 2021 had already been enforced by the government since 17th December of last year.

However, he stresses that the prohibition of their use on public roads is not tantamount to an outright ban of these vehicles. Instead, riders are only forbidden from taking them to public roadways where they can merge into other motor vehicles and potentially introduce an element of risk for everyone.

“We want to enforce this because more and more micromobility vehicles are being used on the road of late.

“This can pose a danger not just to the users but also to other road users,” he said yesterday (26th April 2022).

Bicycle riders need to abide by guidelines

A statement shared through the ministry’s official social media further explains that the ban of such micromobility devices on public roadways was to ensure that tragedies such as the fatal basikal lajak crash in 2017 which claimed the lives of 8 boys do not recur again.

On the subject of bicycles, the ministry says that while their use on public roads is not expressly prohibited, cyclists have to abide by regulations prescribed under both the 1987 Road Transport Act (Act 333) and the 1959 Road Traffic Rules. The relevant guidelines have been published by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), and can be accessed here.

E-scooters will no longer be allowed on public roads. Image credits: Bolt on Unsplash
E-scooters will no longer be allowed on public roads. Image credits: Bolt on Unsplash

As for electric bicycles, only those that meet the Malaysia Standard MS2514: Electric Bicycles (electric pedal-assisted bicycles) are permitted for use. The main distinction between electric bicycles and e-scooters can be made by the former’s lack of a throttle and the permanently attached pedals to the chassis of the device.

Offenders who are found guilty can be prosecuted under the 1987 Road Transport Act (Act 333).

Reactions from netizens have been negative 

In response to the ban, many netizens have pointed out that the ban of e-scooters will make life even more difficult for food delivery riders who have been depending on the devices to make their deliveries. In addition, another netizen has also described the move as an act of bullying small vehicle owners, while road bullies in larger vehicles such as pickup trucks continue to skirt past the law.

One netizen has also questioned the comparisons drawn between e-scooters and basikal lajak, which are often customised with illegal modifications and do not feature any headlights, brake lights, or functioning brakes.

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