Sandbox for micromobility launched

(Front row, from third left) Hasbi, Dr Nor Fuad, Hassan and Rosihan Zain at the launch of the National Regulatory Sandbox for Micromobility in Shah Alam. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

SHAH Alam will serve as a testing environment or sandbox for micromobility use and relevant guidelines for one year.

The National Regulatory Sandbox (NRS) for Micromobility aims to monitor the feasibility of operating micromobility vehicles in terms of enforcement, licensing and usage of infrastructure.

Examples of such vehicles include bicycles, ebikes, escooters, electric unicycles and mopeds.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Hasbi Habibollah launched the NRS for Micromobility and a series of guidelines at the National Micromobility Vehicle Safety Day 2023 at Dataran Kemerdekaan Shah Alam.

The event was held in conjunction with the monthly Shah Alam Car-Free Day organised by Shah Alam City Council (MBSA).

Hasbi said the sandbox was being implemented following the Transport Ministry’s ban on certain micromobility devices on public roads, effective Dec 17, 2021.

The ban involves almost all personal mobility devices (PMD) and personal mobility aids, except bicycles and ebikes.

He said in his speech: “The sandbox, guideline and regulations were drawn up by Transport Ministry, the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) and Road Transport Department (JPJ) based on various engagements with parties such as Local Government Development Ministry, PlanMalaysia, the police, local authorities, Futurise Sdn Bhd (a public policy advisory agency mandated by the government to lead the NRS initiative), micromobility service operators and micromobility-related associations.

“These parties contributed their expertise with the aim of creating a conducive and safe environment not only for micromobility vehicle users, but also pedestrians and cyclists.

“With the guidelines and regulations on the use of micromobilty, we hope to address safety issues and help local authorities monitor the use of such vehicles in public.

“I also urge all micromobility users to always obey the rules, especially by wearing helmets, obeying speed limits, using designated routes and being tolerant of other road users.”

While most micromobility vehicles cannot be used on public roads, Hasbi said they could be used in recreational spaces, subject to infrastructure availability, which would come under the local authority’s purview.

Also at the event were Shah Alam mayor Dr Nor Fuad Abdul Hamid, Miros acting director-general Azhar Hamzah, PlanMalaysia deputy director-general Hassan Yaakob and Futurise CEO Rosihan Zain Baharudin.

Azhar said: “The sandbox is an experimental initiative to understand how the public behaves when using micromobility vehicles.

“The micromobility sandbox and guideline aim to be as comprehensive as possible. They will cover definitions of vehicles, maximum allowable speed and usage in dedicated pathways versus mixed traffic.”

Azhar said the sandbox would be implemented for a year, with periodic discussions and continual improvements along the way.

“We will review the sandbox after a year. If it’s good, we will expand the initiative to other towns and cities.

“The use of micromobility is to support first- and last-mile connectivity and improve public transport usage,” he said.

He added that the ban on use of PMDs on public roads was still in effect, so it is only safe to use such vehicles within the gazetted area in Shah Alam.

MBSA Urban Transport Department head Norazmizam Alias said the sandbox’s first phase would be within the Section 14 city centre area.

“The second phase will cover Section 7. Both of these locations have dedicated pathways for micromobility (but shared with pedestrian pathways).

“We will then carry out a trial in a commercial area using a mixed traffic route, where micromobility devices will share roads with motorised vehicles,” he said.

Norazmizam said other areas with potential, such as residential areas, would be considered but the authorities would need to factor in safety and gazette the route under the sandbox.

According to Miros, details on the micromobility sandbox and guidelines will be publicly available in the near future.

According to a Miros pamphlet, testing is expected to start in April.

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