Coroner advises e-bikers to ride defensively and truckers to be alert

Coroner Marvin Bay said on Friday (Oct 20) that power-assisted bicycle riders must always ride defensively and assume that drivers of larger motor vehicles cannot see them. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Power-assisted bicycle riders must always ride defensively and assume that drivers of larger motor vehicles cannot see them, said Coroner Marvin Bay on Friday (Oct 20).

Likewise, heavy vehicle drivers should always be on the lookout for bikers and be gracious in giving way to them to ensure safety, added the coroner.

He said this when giving his findings at an inquest into the death of freelance courier and deliveryman Heng Hock Kim. Mr Heng was killed when a tipper truck hit the 62-year-old e-bicycle rider in the Central Business District on Nov 18, 2016.

The court heard that Mr Heng was travelling ahead of Mr Tan Keh Nguang's truck along the extreme left of the five-lane Cecil Street when he was seen veering to his right, in line with the centre of the truck, before it ran over him.

Mr Heng was found lying more than 12m away from his crushed power-assisted bicycle.

In his statement to police, Mr Tan said he was driving slowly at 30 to 40kmh, along the extreme left lane of Cecil Street, when he felt movement from his right rear wheel. He stopped immediately and alighted from the truck to check.

That was when he found Mr Heng lying on the road. He then called for emergency services.

Mr Tan said he had not noticed Mr Heng but had checked his blind spot mirror on his left before moving off from the junction of Church Street.

A traffic reconstructionist said in his report that Mr Tan would likely have been able to see the e-bike.

Also, the two blind spot mirrors at the front left of the vehicle had provided clear and adequate reflection of the immediate area around the front, and for the immediate area adjacent to the front left door of the tipper truck.

Both were blind spot areas and obstructed Mr Tan's direct view, said the coroner.

Coroner Bay said there was no basis to suspect foul play.

He said that while approaching D'Almeida Street infront of Republic Plaza, Mr Heng was seen losing control of his power-assisted bicycle.

This was either caused by a direct collision with Mr Tan's truck or Mr Heng having spontaneously lost control of his e-bike after the turn.

He found Mr Heng's death to be an "unfortunate misadventure".

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.