Maj Gen Sermphan issued an official notice to all police stations across the island today (Feb 22), informing officers that electric scooters are not permitted on public roads.
People caught riding electric scooters on public roads may be fined with operating an unregistered vehicle on a public road under Section 6 of the Motor Vehicle Act, Maj Gen Sermphan noted.
The penalty is a fine of up to B10,000, he added.
People caught riding electric scooters on public roads also could be charged with operating a vehicle without a valid licence under Section 64 of the same act, as no licence exists for operating electric scooters, as they are not recognised as vehicles by the Department of Land Transport and hence cannot be registered, Maj Gen Sermphan said in the order.
The penalty for operating a vehicle without a licence is up to six months’ imprisonment or a fine of up to B9,000, or both, Maj Gen Sermphan added.
However, Maj Gen Sermphan did ask officers to issue warnings first before moving to press formal charges.
Maj Gen Sermphan also explained to police that the law applies to public roads only.
“Electric scooters may be used in parks, but not on the roads” he said.
Of note, The Phuket News understands that whether or not electric scooters may be used in a public park is a matter for the relevant local municipality to decide. Local municipalities have yet to announce whether or not electric scooters may be used in public recreation areas within their respective jurisdictions.
The order issued by Maj Gen Sermphan today follows police in Patong last week seizing four electric scooters being ridden by tourists on the streets of the tourism town.
Patong Police issued a general warning that anyone caught riding an unregistered vehicle would be liable to be charged and fined, although the exact amount was not specified.
Patong Police Chief Col Sujin Nilabadee yesterday issued an order for his officers to “publicise” where electric scooters may be used, and parked, with electric scooter rental services for tourists located throughout Patong, while maintaining that the use of electric scooters is prohibited on Patong roads.
Col Sujin said that riding a scooter on a public road is an offence under the current laws. He noted:
- It is forbidden for anyone to use an unregistered vehicle to be used in a wrongful way. The punishment with a fine is not more than B10,000.
- If an offence is found, electric scooters must be seized.
- If an accident happens, there is no protection under the law.
- If a scooter driver hits a person or another person’s vehicle, they will automatically be at fault.
- Patong Police have requested the Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO) to ensure that electric scooters cannot be registered as a vehicle.
Col Sujin yesterday met with officers from the PLTO, Patong Municipality and electric scooter rental operators to ensure they understood the police’s stance on using electric scooters on public thoroughfares.
The rental operators agreed to temporarily halt renting out electric scooters, notbaly after they were informed that they would be held responsible for providing the electric scooter if an accident occurs.
“It will be dangerous for people who use the road, and most of the people who use electric scooters are usually tourists,” Col Sujin said.
“If clarifications and warnings are still not obeyed, legal action will be taken,” he warned.
The issue will be raised with provincial officials, Col Sujin noted.