Applications are now open for the government’s first e-mobility device trial in Hong Kong, with Transport Department (TD) offering special permits for such machines for limited AM or PM timeslots in two locations for those applying by 30 October.
The permit will cover e-mobility devices such as e-scooters, e-unicycles, hover-boards, and pedal-assisted e-bikes up to 250 watts.
Applicants will need a full driving licence for private car or motorcycle, at least one year’s experience with their e-mobility device and will need to supply details of their machine: four photos covering every angle of the machine and details of the make, model and serial number, maximum speed, weight, power, origin and modifications; a drawing of the vehicle; ID and proof of address. Users may also be required to bring their machines to a “designated venue” for testing before a permit is issued, and take part in a briefing session, either online or in person.
A TD spokeswoman says the government is not sure how many people may take part, although TD says there is a quota for each session.
A HK$820 application fee is required, although TD says this will be refunded after the participant has successfully taken part in the trial: however, those who don’t show up for their chosen time slot will not receive a refund. TD says the fee of HK$820 was set according to the current price of a “Movement Permit”.
TD has also not supplied the name of the contractor organising the trial or whether the contractor was appointed through government tender, questions posed a week ago.
E-mobility hopefuls also need to have lights front and back “during dim environment” and for e-bikes, a warning bell. Helmets will be supplied by the trial organiser, says TD.
When visiting the permit application website, a pop-up reminds users that riding such machines is illegal in Hong Kong and they may not be ridden to and from the trial site. Users are also reminded they need the permit before setting off, as no permits will be given out on the days of the site trials.
Under the trial, TD will allow permitted devices along the 1km stretch of cycle track running past Hong Kong Science Park, from 11-14 December; and along a 1.4km stretch of cycle track in Tseung Kwan O from 29 January to 1 February 2020. The pilot will only run from 10am to 6pm on each day.
Officials said they would video interactions during the trials to see if there was a big difference in driving behaviour between users of e-mobility devices and those on e-bikes.