SINGAPORE: A coroner ruled on Wednesday (Aug 10) that the death of a 68-year-old passenger who fell inside a bus was a misadventure.
Mr Siah Keok Tiang was thrown forward when the bus he was in abruptly braked to avoid a collision. He died eight days after the incident on Sep 8, 2021.
His cause of death was ischaemic heart disease with multi-organ failure and the contributory cause of head injury. His injuries were consistent with those from a road traffic accident.
State Coroner Adam Nakhoda said there were lessons for drivers to learn from the incident, which he called "unfortunate".
Mr Siah was returning home from dialysis treatment on SBS Transit bus 175 when the incident happened along North Bridge Road.
He had pressed the bell indicating he wanted to alight. He was sitting on the edge of his seat at the front left side of the bus and holding onto a pole at the time.
The bus was travelling in the extreme left lane, which was the bus lane. A car on the way to pick up a food delivery was travelling ahead of the bus in the lane to the right of the bus lane.
The car driver wanted to turn left into Liang Seah Street. He switched on his left indicator light before the junction of Tan Quee Lan Street. This was about one street before the turn into Liang Seah Street.
The judge noted that the broken yellow line, which indicated where vehicles could filter in and out of the bus lane, started near the entrance of Tan Quee Lan Street.
But in-vehicle camera footage from both vehicles showed that the car only started to filter into the bus lane when it was very close to the entrance of Liang Seah Street, said the judge.
He said that drivers should always signal their intentions early, and noted that the car driver did in this case.
"But car drivers should also make sure they get their vehicles into position to execute their intended turn early rather than wait," said Judge Nakhoda.
He said that if the car had filtered into the bus lane earlier, as soon as or shortly after the broken yellow line started, this may have given the bus driver more time to slow down and react.
An investigation officer testified that there was no evidence that either vehicle was travelling above the speed limit of 50 kmh along that stretch of North Bridge Road.
The bus driver gave evidence that he was about three to four car lengths' distance from the entrance to Liang Seah Street and looking in front when he noticed the car cutting into his lane.
He applied the brakes to avoid a collision, while the car swerved back into the lane to the right of the bus lane.
Both vehicles stopped after the near-collision and the drivers briefly spoke. The car then drove off and the bus driver called SBS Transit to report the incident.
Paramedics arrived to take Mr Siah, who was semi-conscious and lying on the ground at the front of the bus, to the hospital.
Apart from head injuries, he also suffered rib fractures and neck injuries. His condition deteriorated and he died on Sep 16, 2021.
The hearing at the State Courts was attended by Mr Siah's daughter and two sons.