As part of proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Act (RTA) introduced in Parliament, power-assisted bicycle (PAB) riders will be required to pass a theory test covering road safety before being allowed on the roads. The theory test that power-assisted bicycle riders must pass under the recently amended Active Mobility Act is the same as this one. It includes road and path safety modules. Before taking the exam, riders must satisfy the same requirements, including being at least 16 years old and paying a single test fee.
Grant of Competency Test Certificate
On an individual’s application, the Test Authority may issue a competency test certificate for riding any road-only PAB, stating that the rider has passed the stipulated test of competence for the road-only PAB, according to section 47H(1) of the RTA. The Test Authority may issue a competency test certificate to an individual only if the Test Authority is satisfied that the individual —
- Has attended and successfully completed a prescribed test of competence relating to the road-only PAB not earlier than a prescribed time before the application is made; and
- Is not under the minimum riding age relating to road-only PABs.
Explanation of Test‑Needed‑to‑Ride‑on‑Road Vehicle
Section 2(1) of the RTA provides for the explanation of a test-needed-to-ride-on-road vehicle. It states that a test-needed-to-ride-on-road vehicle is a bicycle or power-assisted bicycle that falls into one of the classes or descriptions of bicycles or power-assisted bicycles listed in Division 2A of Part 3 of the Active Mobility Act 2017 or a road-only PAB.
If an individual rides a test-needed-to-ride-on-road vehicle on the road and is not granted a competency test certificate for that class or description of test-needed-to-ride-on-road vehicle certifying that the individual has passed the prescribed test of competence for that class or description of the test-needed-to-ride-on-road vehicle, the individual commits an offence under section 47G(1) of the RTA.
If an individual is found guilty of an offence under subsection (1), they are subject to the following penalties:
- If the individual is a first-time offender, a fine of not more than $2,000, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both; and
- If the individual is a repeat offender, a fine of not more than $5,000, imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or both.
Individuals riding a test-needed-to-ride-on-road vehicle in conditions stipulated in rules established under section 48 or exempted by the appropriate Minister under section 142 are not subject to this offence.
Unlawful Use of Competency Test Certificate for Road‑Only PAB
This offence is mentioned under section 47J of the Road Traffic Act. It states that a person commits an offence of unlawful use of a competency test certificate for road-only PAB if such person:
- Possesses an article in their possession that is nearly identical to a competency test certificate provided under section 47H(1) that it is meant to deceive, without lawful authority or a reasonable excuse.
- Makes alterations to a competency test certificate issued under section 47H(1) in order to deceive.
- Dishonestly modifies or utilises a competency test certificate issued under section 47H(1).
- Dishonestly lends or allows another individual to utilise a competence test certificate issued under section 47H(1).
A person convicted of the offence of unlawful use of a competency test certificate for a road-only PAB faces a fine not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment for a term, not beyond 12 months, or both. This is mentioned under section 47J(2) of the RTA.
Allowing Untested Riders on Road
The offence of allowing untested riders on road is mentioned under section 47K(1) of the RTA. It states that an individual commits an offence of allowing untested riders on the road if the individual hires, or permits another person, whether intentionally or negligently, to ride on a road a test-needed-to-ride-on-road vehicle of a class or description and:
- That person is not issued a competency test certificate for that class or description of the test‑needed‑to‑ride‑on‑road vehicle and is not exempted under section 47G(2); and
- The individual is aware of, or negligent in determining, whether the person has been issued a competency test certificate for that class or description of a test‑needed‑to‑ride‑on‑road vehicle.
Subsection (1) does not apply to a person who operates a business selling test-needed-to-ride-on-road vehicles and allows a customer of the business concerned to ride a test-needed-to-ride-on-road vehicle within any part of those premises that is not a road in the course of that business and for the purpose of selling the vehicle.
A person who commits the offence of allowing untested riders on road is subject to the following penalties upon conviction:
- If the person is a first-time offender, a fine of not more than $2,000, imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.
- If the person is a repeat offender, a fine of not more than $5,000, imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or both.
Refusing to Produce Competency Test Certificate
A police officer or a duly authorised person may, at any time, order the rider of a vehicle to produce the rider’s competency test certificate for examination or other identity documents so that the police officer or duly authorised person can ascertain the identity of the rider and the authority by which the competency test certificate was issued, in order to ensure that any test‑needed‑to‑ride‑on‑road vehicle that is being or may be used on a road complies with this Act.
Section 47L(2) states that a rider of a vehicle to whom an order is given by a police officer or any authorized person to produce such competency test certificate and who refuses or neglects to comply with the order commits an offence. The offence is not committed if a vehicle rider presents the competency test certificate in person within 48 hours of receiving an order at any police station or other location designated by the police officer or duly authorised person at the time the order was given.
A person who receives a digital competency test certificate and holds, produces, or carries a mobile communication device or other electronic devices on which the digital competency test certificate is displayed for the purpose of complying with an order to produce a competency test certificate issued under subsection (1) is considered to have produced a competency test certificate for that purpose.
On conviction, a rider of a vehicle who commits this offence is liable —
- If the person is a first-time offender, to a fine of not more than $1,000, or to imprisonment for not more than 3 months, or to both.
- If the person is a repeat offender, to a fine of not more than $2,000 or a period of imprisonment of not more than 6 months, or to both.
Production of False Competency Test Certificate
This offence is mentioned under section 47M of the Road Traffic Act. An individual commits an offence if such individual riding a test‑needed‑to‑ride‑on‑road vehicle on a road, in compliance with any order given to the individual by a police officer or duly authorised person, to dishonestly induce such police officer or duly authorised person to accept it as genuine, produces:
- A competency test certificate that has been altered in a way that is calculated to deceive, whether the document was already a false document before the alteration or the alteration was made with the knowledge that it is a false document.
- An article that looks like a competency test certificate and is designed to deceive, especially considering the fact that it is not one.
- A competency test certificate that was not granted to the individual, considering the fact that the individual was aware that it was not so granted.
On conviction, a person who commits this offence faces a fine of not more than $5,000 or a term of imprisonment of not more than 12 months, or both.
Power to Seize Competency Test Certificate
Under section 47N of the RTA, if a competency test certificate or an article resembling a competency test certificate is produced to a police officer or duly authorised person pursuant to an order by an individual who represents it as a competency test certificate granted to him/her, such police officer or duly authorised person may seize that competency test certificate or the article resembling a competency test certificate if they have reason to believe that –
- The person who produced the competency test certificate is in possession of it unlawfully.
- The competency test certificate or article is evidence of the commission of an offence under section 47J(1) or 47M, or section 23H(1) or 47(6) of the Active Mobility Act 2017.
Every competency test certificate seized must be forwarded to the relevant authority who issued the competency test certificate, who may:
- Return the competency test certificate to the individual who produced it if the relevant authority is satisfied that the competency test certificate was lawfully in the individual’s possession; or
- Deal with it in any other case as the Test Authority sees fit.