Published: 05 April 2021
1. The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill was introduced for the First Reading in Parliament today. The Bill introduces amendments to the Road Traffic Act (“RTA”) to improve road safety, regulate the use of Power Assisted Bicycles (“PABs”), and enhance Traffic Police’s (“TP”) operational efficiency.
Measures to Improve Road Safety
2. To improve road safety, MHA is tabling the following amendents to the RTA:
a. Increase penalties for individuals that promote or take part in illegal speed trials, and introduce conditions for the forfeiture of vehicles involved in illegal speed trials.
b. Penalise motorcyclists who fail to ensure that their pillion riders wear approved helmets, and increase penalties for importing or selling non-approved helmets.
c. Penalise individuals who obstruct, prevent or defeat the course of justice for road traffic incidents. This will cover individuals who mislead TP by facing the penalties on behalf of someone else, and individuals who mislead TP by asking someone else to face the penalties on their behalf. Such individuals may also face disqualification from driving.
d. Allow the Courts to disqualify motorists, who commit any offence in a road rage context, from driving.
Regulating the Use of Power-Assisted Bicycles on Roads
3. The Active Mobility (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament on 4 Feb 2020 to require riders of PABs to pass a theory test before they can ride on cycling paths. As PAB riders may ride on both cycling paths and roads, MHA will similarly require PAB riders to pass the theory test before they can ride on roads. The single theory test will cover modules on both path and road safety to ensure that riders are aware of active mobility rules, the code of conduct, and safe riding behaviour.
4. MHA will also introduce the following offences relating to the use of PABs on roads:
a. To ride a PAB on road if the rider has not passed the PAB theory test; or
b. To employ, or intentionally or negligently allow a rider to ride a PAB on a road, if the rider has not passed the PAB theory test.
Enhancing Traffic Police’s Operational Efficiency
5. MHA will also make amendments to enhance TP’s operational efficiency. Of note, MHA will enhance reporting requirements for companies that own vehicles. This will ensure companies provide information in a timely manner to TP to identify drivers when a company’s vehicle is used to commit traffic offences, so that the offending drivers can be taken to task promptly. Companies will be required to designate a “responsible officer“ who may be liable if the company fails to provide information to identify drivers who use the company’s vehicle to commit a traffic offence. In addition, the period that companies are required to keep records of such information will increase, from six months to one year.