Taxi driver who knocked down cyclist jailed for 2 weeks, banned from driving for 4 years

Harris Awang was jailed for two weeks and barred from driving for four years after he knocked down a cyclist who had the right of way in June 2015.
Harris Awang was jailed for two weeks and barred from driving for four years after he knocked down a cyclist who had the right of way in June 2015.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A 62-year-old taxi driver who was making a turn at a signalised junction knocked down a cyclist who had the right of way in June 2015, a court heard.

Cyclist Poh Hock, 66, died from his multiple head and spine injuries five days later.

On Monday (July 25), taxi driver Harris Awang was jailed for two weeks and barred from driving for four years.

The taxi driver of 20 years, who has previously had a clean driving record, pleaded guilty to one charge of causing death through a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide.

A district court heard that it was raining when Harris was driving on the right most lane along Bedok North Avenue 1 on June 7 in 2015.

He stopped at a traffic light junction at about 8am; he wanted to make a right turn into Bedok North Road.

Mr Poh, who was wearing a green poncho, had also stopped his bicycle at the road island and was waiting to cross Bedok North Road.

About 45 seconds after Harris had stopped, the traffic light in front of him turned green, but the right-turn arrow did not.

The green man lighted in Mr Poh's favour and he started to cross the road.

But Harris proceeded to turn right and failed to stop at the turning pocket. As he drove into Mr Poh's path, the cyclist crashed into the right side of the taxi.

Harris called for the police and an ambulance.

Mr Poh was sent to hospital with multiple skull fractures and severe bleeding in the skull. He also had a broken rib and spine.

He died from his injuries on June 12 in 2015.

The road surface was wet at the time, but visibility was fair and traffic flow moderate.

The in-vehicle camera footage from Harris' taxi captured the accident.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Claire Poh asked for two weeks' jail, while pro-bono lawyers V. Bala and Jonathan Tan asked for not more than three days' jail.

District Judge Eugene Teo told Harris he had viewed the in-vehicle footage of the accident."There was nothing to obstruct your vision .... The facts of the case are that you could have seen him (Mr Poh), should have seen him, should have given way."

The judge also noted that a jail term is the norm in such cases of road negligence.

Harris could have been jailed for two years and fined.