LCQ22: Electric mobility devices

     ​Following is a question by the Hon Yung Hoi-yan and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Logistics, Mr Lam Sai-hung, in the Legislative Council today (February 22):

     ​It is learnt that in recent years, various types of electric mobility devices (EMDs) (including electric skateboards, electric scooters, electric unicycles, electric bicycles, power assisted pedal cycles and electric hoverboards) are gaining popularity, and their safety and regulatory issues are of concern to various sectors. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the data, operating experience and effectiveness of the pilot trial on the use of EMDs conducted on a cycle track section at Pak Shek Kok from May to November 2022; whether it will enact legislation to regulate EMDs according to the findings of the trial; if so, of the details and timetable; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) given that the Government currently adopts the definition of "motor vehicle" in the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374) for regulating all EMDs, whether the Government has plans to draw reference from the practices of other countries (e.g. the United Kingdom), so as to formulate relevant regulatory policies in respect of different types of EMDs; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) as EMDs can only be used on suitable roads, whether the planning and design of roads in strategic growth areas (e.g. the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands and the Northern Metropolis) will cater for the use of various types of EMDs and balance the needs of various types of road users?



     My reply to the various parts of the question raised by the Hon Yung Hoi-yan is as follows:
(1) and (2) The use of electric mobility devices (EMDs) (including (i) motorised personal mobility devices (PMDs) like electric scooters, electric unicycles, and electric hoverboards, etc.; and (ii) power assisted pedal cycles (PAPCs)), has been gaining popularity in Hong Kong in recent years. In view of this, the Government is exploring ways to enhance their regulation, which include drawing reference from the practices of other jurisdictions, as well as having regard to the dense population and high vehicular traffic flow in Hong Kong. In order to gain actual operational experience in the regulation of EMDs, the Transport Department (TD) conducted site trials on sections of cycle tracks in Tseung Kwan O South and adjacent to the Hong Kong Science Park respectively in 2021; and completed a six-month pilot trial with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation on an approximately 3 kilometres long cycle track section at Pak Shek Kok in late 2022.
     The TD is now reviewing and analysing the trial results, and preliminarily considers that subject to appropriate technical and safety requirements (such as maximum operating speed, maximum weight and width limits as well as installation of lighting, brakes and stopping device, etc.), the EMDs are similar to conventional bicycles in terms of operating speed, space required for operation and operating behaviour. The operations of EMDs on cycle tracks are generally smooth as well. The trial results also preliminarily show that consideration may be given to allowing the use of certain EMDs on cycle tracks where technical and safety requirements permit, but not on footpaths and carriageways due to safety concerns.
     The TD is now conducting in-depth studies with relevant departments, and will continue listening to the views of relevant stakeholders with a view to formulating a regulatory framework for EMDs in light of the trial results and practices of other jurisdictions.  We plan to report the related progress to the Legislative Council Panel on Transport in the first half of this year.
(3) The Government endeavours to foster a "bicycle-friendly environment". Proposals are therefore devised for the planning and provision of sufficient cycle tracks and related facilities in new development areas, while improvement of the existing ones will be carried out where road safety and circumstances permit. In the future, if EMDs are regulated with appropriate technical and safety requirements, they may be allowed to share cycle tracks with conventional bicycles. As the cycle tracks and related facilities continue to develop, we believe that the needs of various types of cycle track users (including cyclists and EMD users) can be balanced and met in our future planning.

Ends/Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:15