Taxi driver jailed 2 weeks and disqualified from driving for 3 years for causing death of cyclist

For negligently causing Mr Lim's death, the taxi driver, Ng Nam Meng, could have been jailed up to two years and fined.
For negligently causing Mr Lim's death, the taxi driver, Ng Nam Meng, could have been jailed up to two years and fined.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - It was his custom to wake up at 4 or 5am and cycle around his Aljunied neighbourhood before meeting friends from 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 at dawn on New Year's Day this year .

The taxi driver, Ng Nam Meng, was jailed for two weeks and disqualified from driving for three years on Friday.

The 61-year-old cabby started his night shift after a New Year's Eve family dinner at his daughter's home.

At around 6.40 am, he was taking a passenger to Sims Drive via Nicoll Highway. He was driving more than 30kmh over the speed limit of 70 kmh 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.

Mr Lim'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.

DPP Low, who pointed out Ng has an outstanding speeding charge from last year, pushed for a five-year driving disqualification.

Ng, who has 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.

Speaking in Mandarin, he said: "I've earned a living all these years by driving a taxi. I'm the sole financial provider at home. Please be lenient with me - please do not disqualify me for more than a year."

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

However, he also remarked that Ng had encountered the other cyclists quite 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.

Ng's two daughters, who were in court on Friday, wept upon hearing his sentence, although they later mustered up smiles and bantered with their father before he was led away. They declined to comment when approached.

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

oliviaho@sph.com.sg