Time to allow e-bikes on public roads, says minister

Up to 4 million people use e-bikes every day in a city near Shanghai, according to federal minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. (Twitter pic)

PETALING JAYA: A Cabinet minister says it is time to review policies and allow people to use electric bikes on the public roads and thus help reduce air pollution.

Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said people-friendly policies as practised in China has meant up to 4 million citizens use e-bikes daily in a city near Shanghai.

“Eventually their emission level will drop. I don’t understand why we are not using e-bikes,” he told FMT.

He urged the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to look into changing its e-bike policies as in the long run there are more benefits in the use of e-vehicles.

Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

JPJ states in its website that all forms of e-bikes are not allowed on public roads, that they can only be used on private property because e-bikes are much slower than other vehicles on the road and could disrupt traffic flow.

Two-seater e-bikes are available at online markets for about RM900 payable, in monthly instalments of up to 6 months. The bikes are said to have a road speed of 30-40 kmh and are promoted as suitable for people travelling within a 100 km range depending on battery capacity.

Last week Deputy Transport Minister Hasbi Habibollah told the Dewan Rakyat that the government is considering allowing the delivery of parcels by motorcycles to help provide more employment opportunities for the B40 group, those at the bottom of the income scale.

To this, Subang MP Wong Chen said Putrajaya should review their policies as a lot of food deliveries are being done with e-bikes in Singapore.

Wong Chen

He claimed this has helped reduce the accident rate compared to motorcycles.

“It is more affordable, too,” he told FMT, adding that JPJ could work with city councils to implement e-bike policies in big cities as a way to reduce congestion.

“Users should wear helmets and only carry weight up to a certain limit,” he said, adding that there could be special road lanes for e-bikes in the future if the trend catches on.