Death of man riding bike under influence of drugs an unfortunate traffic misadventure: Coroner

SINGAPORE - A dispatch rider who died five days after he crashed into shrubs on an expressway had ridden under the influence of drugs which could have compromised his ability to control his motorcycle, said a coroner on Wednesday (Oct 25).

Mr Sobirin Ahmad, 61, lost control of his motorcycle on the Ayer Rajah Expressway, veered to his left and collided into the shrubs before landing on the road on April 27.

He was taken to the National University Hospital where he was subsequently found to have a brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation. He was pronounced dead on May 2.

At an inquest into his death, the court heard that Mr Sobirin's motorcycle was found lying on its left at a road shoulder on the five-lane expressway. There were no tyre or skid marks. Some 2.5m of the shrubs were "disturbed" and pressed into a slanted position due to an apparent impact.

Mr Sobirin committed three traffic and parking-related violations between 2004 and 2009, with a speeding offence recorded in February. He also had records for drug consumption.

In his findings, Coroner Marvin Bay said the manner that Mr Sobirin lost control of his motorcycle could not be ascertained, as there were no witnesses.

"Notwithstanding this, the presence of... chloroquine, together with morphine and nitrazepam in Mr Sobirin's post-mortem blood sample suggests illicit drug use on Mr Sobirin's part," he said.

Both nitrazepam and morphine can impair one's ability to control a moving vehicle. Morphine can also cause drowsiness.

Coroner Bay said the fact that detectable traces could still be found in Mr Sobirin's autopsy sample taken five days after the incident may point to a "fairly high consumption" of the drugs.

The circumstances showed that Mr Sobirin had ridden under the influence of drugs which could have compromised his ability to control his motorcycle.

"Mr Sobirin's choice to take the wheel, while in a compromised state of drug-induced stupor, was most unwise, and for which Mr Sobirin has sadly paid the ultimate price," said the coroner.

He found his death to be an unfortunate traffic misadventure.