Jail for motorised bike rider who hit pedestrian

He was riding on pavement in HDB estate at unsafe speed; victim suffered facial fractures

File photograph of a rider on a motorised bicycle. PHOTO: ST FILE

A man who knocked down an elderly woman while riding his motorised bicycle on a pavement in a housing estate was jailed for five weeks yesterday.

Former coffee-shop helper Tan Heng Huat, 40, admitted to grievously hurting housewife Heng Lian Cheng, then aged 68, in a rash act to endanger the personal safety of others in Paya Lebar Way on April 18 last year.

He was making a right turn around a pillar of Block 120 at an unsafe speed when his view of pedestrians was blocked, resulting in the bicycle colliding with the woman and causing her to suffer facial fractures.

District Judge Lee Poh Choo felt a power-assisted bicycle poses a greater danger than cars as anyone is free to ride wherever he wants.

In this case, cyclists riding around Housing Board blocks face little or no consequences. Neither are the victims compensated.

Judge Lee said cyclists must know there will be consequences. "Riding around on motorised bicycles does not make you king of the pathway," she said.

The court heard that Tan used his $1,280 motorised bicycle bought in December 2014 to travel to and from the Lorong 34 Geylang coffee shop where he worked.

That morning, he was riding to work when he failed to slow down or dismount as he neared the corner of a pavement at Block 120. Despite knowing the risk of hitting pedestrians and that he was allowed to ride only on roads - and not on all paths and pavements - he continued riding and made a right turn around the corner.

Tan at no point made sure there were no pedestrians on the pavement, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Ee Kuan. He applied the brakes only when he saw Madam Heng, but it was too late. She fell and landed on her face. Tan neither helped nor checked if she was all right. He apologised, gave her tissue paper and rode away.

An unidentified man asked if she needed an ambulance and told her the cyclist was one "Ah Huat''. She declined the offer, but was later referred by a doctor to Changi General Hospital, warded for four days and underwent surgery later that month. Tan surrendered himself three days after the incident.

DPP Prem Raj Prabakaran had asked for five weeks' jail as Madam Heng had more serious injuries than a 69-year-old woman in another case last year, where Lim Choon Teck, 35, was jailed for three weeks for knocking her down while cycling on a pavement in Ang Mo Kio.

Madam Heng said she now walks more slowly and cannot do many household chores as easily as before.

The maximum punishment for causing grievous hurt by an act to endanger the personal safety of others is four years' jail and a $10,000 fine.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2016, with the headline Jail for motorised bike rider who hit pedestrian. Subscribe