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Cyclist jailed for causing 73-year-old pedestrian's death in accident

Cyclist jailed for causing 73-year-old pedestrian's death in accident

A cyclist riding a bicycle on the road on Sep 16, 2021. (File photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: A cyclist was on Thursday (Aug 18) jailed for 12 days for causing the death of a 73-year-old pedestrian in an accident.

Daniel Woon Hock Soon, 46, pleaded guilty to one charge of causing death by a negligent act.

Another charge of not wearing a helmet under the Road Traffic (Bicycles) Rules was considered for sentencing.

The court heard that Woon, a food stall operator at a military camp, was cycling on the road at about 7am on Aug 13 last year.

He was travelling along the leftmost lane of Hougang Avenue 3, going in the direction of Hougang Avenue 2.

Cycling towards the box junction at Hougang Avenue 3 and Lorong Ah Soo, Woon saw that the traffic light had turned amber and sped up to beat it.

As he crossed the junction and approached the other side of the road, he decided to get back onto the pavement by cycling through the pedestrian island.

The victim had been standing on the pedestrian island and was just then stepping onto the road to cross the pedestrian crossing.

But Woon failed to keep a proper lookout and collided into him. Shortly after, he saw the elderly man lying on the road at the crossing.

Woon helped to carry the victim onto the pavement and stayed by his side until an ambulance came to take him to the hospital.

The elderly man was taken to the hospital unconscious. He was noted to be vomiting on his arrival, and succumbed to his injuries later that day.

His cause of death was severe head injury consistent with that from a road traffic accident.

Woon told the court that he did not sustain any injuries from the collision.

An inspection of Woon's bicycle did not find any mechanical faults that may have contributed to the accident.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Shiau Yin asked for two to four weeks' jail, highlighting that Woon sped up instead of slowing down when he saw the amber light signal.

Woon then maintained the same speed after crossing the junction and was unable to avoid the victim, she said.

Ms Wong also pointed out that Woon has a string of traffic offences dating back to 2003, including speeding and careless driving.

She said the mitigating factors were Woon's plea of guilt and the fact that he helped the victim after the accident.

Woon, who did not have a lawyer, told the court he did not slow down after the junction because he was trying to stay clear of oncoming traffic.

"It was a bus lane, so I was also fearing for my life," he said.

Woon claimed he did not anticipate the elderly man's reaction, saying: "Instead of continuing on his path, he swerved into my path actually."

He also told the judge that the jail term would take him away from caring for his elderly mother, a stroke patient with dementia.

District Judge Janet Wang said that regardless of the vehicle, "it is incumbent on the road user to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians at designated crossings".

"This is just a very unfortunate accident that could have been prevented," she said in sentencing.

The punishment for causing death by a negligent act is up to two years' jail, a fine or both.

Source: CNA/dv(gr)

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