E-bike rider, 62, dies in collision with truck

The collision between Mr Heng's e-bike and a tipper truck took place in Cecil Street, in the direction of Collyer Quay. Photos taken by eyewitnesses and shared on social media show the wreckage of the e-bike, with the victim lying sprawled metres awa
The collision between Mr Heng's e-bike and a tipper truck took place in Cecil Street, in the direction of Collyer Quay. Photos taken by eyewitnesses and shared on social media show the wreckage of the e-bike, with the victim lying sprawled metres away and various possessions scattered around.PHOTO: ROADS.SG/FACEBOOK

The death of another e-bike user - the third in a month - has renewed calls for more regulations and licensing for such personal mobility devices.

Mr Heng Hock Kim, 62, was riding his electric bicycle in the Central Business District (CBD) yesterday morning - apparently on a courier assignment - when he was hit by a tipper truck.

He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

On Oct 27, three young men were riding their e-bikes along West Coast Highway near midnight when they were hit by a heavy vehicle - in their case, a trailer truck.

Mr Ang Yee Fong , 25, died at the scene, while Mr Ong Zi Quan, 18, died in hospital. The third rider, Marcus Loke, 17, survived. The trailer truck driver was arrested.

In yesterday's accident, the tipper truck driver, a 54-year-old man, was arrested for causing death by a negligent act, police said, adding that investigations are ongoing.

Photos taken by eyewitnesses and shared on social media show the mangled wreckage of the e-bike in Cecil Street, in the direction of Collyer Quay, with the victim lying sprawled metres away and various possessions scattered around.

Corporate finance manager Alexander V., 28, described the scene as "terrible" and said the e-bike was "destroyed" in the collision.

Mr Heng, who also goes by the name of Frankie, worked for Courier Circle Asia, a company specialising in document and parcel delivery.

When The Straits Times visited the firm's office at Hong Lim Complex yesterday afternoon, staff declined to speak about the accident, explaining that their boss was overseas.

One of the company's couriers, who declined to be named, described Mr Heng as a friendly and cheerful person.

He had apparently worked at the courier firm for two years, said a report in Shin Min Daily News

CBD workers told The Straits Times that they have seen more e-bikes being used by couriers in the past year.

Last month, media reports said food delivery services were also turning to bicycles and e-bikes.

Mr Ang Hin Kee, deputy chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, said: "If the attempt is to save costs, as e-bikes and bicycles do not require ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) payment, or are overall cheaper than motorbikes or other vehicles, we should examine the requirements imposed on (delivery) app companies and other (courier) businesses."

The Ang Mo Kio GRC MP added that employers should implement appropriate safety measures, such as training, for cyclists and e-bike riders doing delivery work. "When you carry goods... the weight distribution on your motorbike, bicycle or e-bike changes," he said.

Mr Ibrahim Syed Ahamad, 68, a motorcycle dispatch rider who does deliveries in the CBD, said: "Many couriers use their e-bikes like a motorcycle, but they don't have insurance or a licence. It is worrying as anyone can buy an e-bike."

The number of accidents involving e-bikes has been climbing.

Last year, there were five fatal accidents, up from two in 2014 and one in 2013.

There were also 22 accidents resulting in injuries last year, up from four in 2014 and five in 2013.

• Additional reporting by Zhaki Abdullah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2016, with the headline 'E-bike rider, 62, dies in collision with truck'. Print Edition | Subscribe