Following last week’s crackdown in Patong, electric scooters have been officially banned from all public roads in Phuket.
Local police stations yesterday received an official notice from Major General Sermphan explaining how the stand-up scooter form of transport, popular among island tourists, fits in with current laws.
He said anyone caught riding an electric scooter on a public road could be fined up to 10,000 baht under Section 6 of the Motor Vehicles Act for driving a vehicle. not registered on a public road.
“No license exists for electric scooters, so offenders could also be charged with using a vehicle without a license. This is because the Ministry of Land Transport does not recognize scooters as vehicles, they cannot therefore not be registered and no license is given for their operation.”
“E-scooters can be used in parks, but not on roads.”
But local municipalities have yet to announce whether e-scooters can actually be used in their public recreation areas, which is up to their local jurisdiction to decide, according to Phuket News.
The existing penalty for driving without a license is a fine of up to 9,000 baht and/or up to 6 months in prison. Police were asked to give a warning before fining or arresting offenders.
Last week, police in the tourist town of Patong seized four electric scooters and arrested tourists driving them down the street. Locals dubbed the incident “scooter-gate”.
A viral video of the event sparked criticism among netizens who questioned why police would arrest tourists, instead of going straight to the source – with scooter rental companies licensed to operate in the city renting the latest enthusiasm for island transport.
In Phuket, electric scooters have become a popular means of transport among tourists, who can easily book a scooter tour of the island, usually without a license and certainly without insurance.
Local police have warned that anyone caught driving unregistered vehicles will be charged and fined.
The Patong Police Chief has ordered officers to inform scooter rental companies of regulations regarding the use of electric scooters, including where they can be used and parked and that they cannot be driven on public roads.
“It would be dangerous for people using the roads, and generally the people using electric scooters are mostly tourists.”
After being told that they would be held liable in the event of an accident, the Patong rental companies have currently agreed to suspend all rentals.
This is not the first time that the police in Phuket have stepped up their efforts in road safety. In December last year, they launched their ‘100% helmet’ campaign to make helmet wearing mandatory for all two-wheeled vehicle riders, increasing fines for those who don’t.
From February 1 to March 31, offenders will be fined 200 baht for each time they are caught, and from April 1 to May 31, fines will increase to 300 baht.
From June 1, 2022, violators will be fined at the highest rate required by law, 500 baht.
Later, drivers will also be charged if their passengers don’t wear helmets.
THE SOURCE: Phuket News