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Fast e-scooters not rare - but dangerous





Sep 25, 2016


An e-scooter achieving speeds of up to 70kmh like the one in the video clip shot along Mandai Road.


Not if you ask owner Norman Lee of motorcycle workshop Race Werks.

Out of curiosity, Mr Lee hooked up a customer's $900 e-scooter onto the workshop's eddy current dynamometer in early August.

The machine, which measures a motorbike's horsepower, speed and acceleration, gave a reading of 59kmh while the e-scooter's speedometer showed 67kmh.

Mr Lee, 36, who showed The New Paper a video clip of the dyno test, said: "The way the e-scooter picked up speed from 0 to 50kmh was like a 70 or 80cc motorcycle.

"Despite a simulated load of 80kg, it still managed 59kmh.

"In the wrong hands, especially those without training, this can be dangerous."

But there are sellers online who tout e-scooters capable of speeds between 45kmh and 60kmh, said business development manager Chew Boon Hur of Mobat, a local brand of e-scooters assembled in China.

"We dictate the specifications of our e-scooters to our partners in China because we're concerned for rider safety," he said.

Like Mr Lee, Mr Chew was aware of the clip showing the e-scooter rider overtaking a bus along Mandai Road.

Mr Chew said: "Any speeds above 25kmh can make it hard for a rider to control the e-scooter in an emergency."

Mr Lee said more awareness is needed to discourage people from modifying e-scooters to go faster even when there are hobbyists on social media who provide "tuning" services.

But when you add more power and speed to the equation, you risk getting hurt, Mr Lee said.


"E-scooters are not meant to go as fast as motorcycles because they have limited suspension travel and inadequate brakes to deal with high-speed braking," said Mr Lee.

"The worst case scenario when you jam the brakes (on an e-scooter) is you'll lose traction and crash."

Mr Ronald Tay of  believes that most e-scooter riders are law-abiding.

In his opinion, educating new riders on safety and engaging customers just before they buy e-scooters are every dealer's responsibility.

"I'm not going to sell a 20kg machine (e-scooter) to a 40kg girl," said Mr Tay.

"I will spend 20 minutes with each customer to select a suitable e-scooter for his or her needs."


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