Driving ban, jail for cabby who fatally hit cyclist

It was his custom to wake up at 4am or 5am and cycle around his Aljunied neighbourhood before meeting friends for breakfast.

But this early morning routine cost retiree Lim Yam Teck his life, when a speeding taxi hit and killed the 72-year-old along Nicoll Highway on New Year's Day this year.

The taxi driver, 61-year-old Ng Nam Meng, was jailed for two weeks and disqualified from driving for three years yesterday.

At around 6.40am, Ng was taking a passenger to Sims Drive via Nicoll Highway. He was driving more than 30kmh over the speed limit of 70kmh when he hit Mr Lim in the lane next to the central divider.

Deputy Public Prosecutor James Low told a court that Mr Lim had either been cycling slowly or pushing his bicycle against the flow of traffic.

The victim's head smashed against the taxi's windscreen with such force that brain matter was found on the divider's guard railing. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Ng, who had been a night-shift relief taxi driver for 23 years, said in his mitigation that there had been many cyclists in the left lane and he had filtered right to avoid them, failing to notice Mr Lim.

He pleaded with the judge not to disqualify him for more than a year, as driving is his livelihood.

District Judge John Ng acknowledged that the accident was not solely Ng's fault, as Mr Lim should not have been going against the traffic.

However, he noted that based on CCTV camera footage, Ng had encountered the other cyclists some time before the scene of the accident, and that other vehicles ahead of him, including a tow truck, had noticed Mr Lim and avoided him.

For negligently causing Mr Lim's death, Ng could have been jailed up to two years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2015, with the headline 'Driving ban, jail for cabby who fatally hit cyclist'. Print Edition | Subscribe