SINGAPORE - A taxi driver who collided into a cyclist, causing her to suffer serious injuries including a fractured skull and bleeding in her brain, was sentenced to a week's jail on Thursday (Oct 17).
Lim Hoon Chiang, 56, who pleaded guilty to causing grievous hurt by driving negligently, will also be disqualified from driving for two years after her release.
The court heard that on March 10, Lim was driving her taxi along Braddell Road towards Lornie Road around 6am. The cyclist, Dr Lynette Ngo, 46, and her husband Hing Siong Chen, also 46, were cycling along the same road in a single file on the extreme left lane.
Before the couple moved to the next lane on their right, Mr Hing raised his hand to signal their intention, and after checking that there were no approaching vehicles, they moved into the second lane from the left.
But about four seconds later, Lim, failing to notice the couple cycling in front of her in the same lane, hit Dr Ngo's bicycle.
"(Lim) failed to horn or brake in time, and tried to swerve at the very last second to no avail," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Ho.
The doctor was flung to the ground and lost consciousness.
The collision was captured by a video camera on the rear end of her bicycle.
She was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where she was found to have fractures in her skull, collarbone and ribs, as well as bleeding in her brain and hearing loss in her right ear.
She also suffered nerve damage in her right eye, resulting in double vision.
Dr Ngo, an oncologist at Raffles Hospital, was given a total of 102 days of medical leave.
DPP Ho urged the court to sentence Lim to at least a week's jail and an "appropriate" disqualification period, noting that she was a taxi driver with a "record of persistent and prolonged bad driving for the last 12 years".
Lim's past traffic offences date back to 2007, and include careless driving, multiple occasions of speeding, as well as failing to conform to a red light signal, the DPP said.
Calling Lim's failure to notice the couple as "simply inexcusable", he said the rear end of Dr Ngo's bicycle had a red LED light and that visibility was good on the fateful day.
The couple had also checked for incoming vehicles before changing lanes, as captured in the video footage, he added.
"There was ample time and opportunity for (Lim) to have noticed the victim and her husband, and to brake in time," the DPP said.
For causing grievous hurt by negligent driving, Lim could have been jailed for up to two years, or fined up to $5,000, or both.