Retiree's death ruled a 'tragic traffic misadventure'

Retiree Chan Kuan Choon was on his way to meet his friends in Chinatown when he was hit by a truck in Lower Delta Road last October. Mr Chan, who was riding a motorised bicycle, died in the collision.
Retiree Chan Kuan Choon was on his way to meet his friends in Chinatown when he was hit by a truck in Lower Delta Road last October. Mr Chan, who was riding a motorised bicycle, died in the collision.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY

An 81-year-old retiree who was run over and killed by a truck, after riding his power-assisted bicycle alongside it, died because of a "tragic traffic misadventure", a coroner said yesterday.

Mr Chan Kuan Choon was making his regular Saturday trip to meet his friends in Chinatown when he was hit by the truck in Lower Delta Road last October.

He lost control of his bicycle after a side-swipe collision, and suffered severe injuries including fractures to his skull and ribs. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

State Coroner Marvin Bay heard that the real cause, and actual manner of the side-swipe collision, remained unclear.

There were no witnesses, but he said forensic investigations showed there was "ample space" of 1.3m between the left side of the prime mover's trailer, which was in the left lane of the two-lane road, and the kerb.

Mr Chan had just cycled out of a carpark in Bukit Purmei Road.

Traffic Police investigator Francis Tay postulated three scenarios which might have led to the collision, the court heard.

Crosswind turbulence from air pressure generated when the trailer moved along the barricaded side of the road might have swayed the motorised bicycle. Mr Chan could also have been unsteady in steering his bicycle. Finally, he could have accidentally veered when he felt the trailer moving close to him.

Just before the accident, the truck had stopped before a yellow box at the junction of Lower Delta Road and Bukit Purmei Road because of heavy traffic.

The driver, Wong Sin Kay, said he did not see any vehicles along Bukit Purmei Road.

When traffic cleared after two to three seconds, he drove off at 20-30kmh, after checking the front and right of the vehicle. But he admitted that he did not look at Bukit Purmei Road on his left, nor check his left-side mirror.

Wong had driven past the yellow box, and then another two car lengths forward, when he felt a bump. Mr Chan's motorised bicycle was found around the left rear wheels of the trailer. Wong was arrested and released on bail.

Mr Chan, a former ship repairman, had been suffering from terminal cancer, but his family had reportedly kept the diagnosis from him due to his weak heart. His widow and son attended the coroner's inquiry.

Amir Hussain

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2016, with the headline 'Retiree's death ruled a 'tragic traffic misadventure''. Print Edition | Subscribe