Rider admits causing death of pedestrian, 73

Delivery rider Khairul Hairuman (above)
Delivery rider Khairul Hairuman (above)

A food deliveryman rode a bicycle without working brakes, ran a red light and hit an elderly pedestrian, who died the next day of serious injuries.

Khairul Hairuman, 19, admitted yesterday to causing the death of Mr Tong Cheng Poh, 73, by committing a rash act around 5.15pm on April 13 last year.

In mitigation, Khairul, who had no lawyer, told Community Court Judge Eddy Tham that had the victim been in his 40s, he would have survived the accident. He said he had called for assistance and helped carry the victim to the roadside, and waited for the ambulance.

Khairul, whose bicycle had no brakes and was not designed for use on roads or in public places, was cycling along the two-lane Lorong Ah Soo road towards Upper Paya Lebar Road when he noticed that the traffic light was red.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao said in court that Khairul's view was blocked by a bus on the left lane of Lorong Ah Soo just before the pedestrian crossing, and traffic flow was heavy at the time with cars on both lanes.

Khairul decided to ride between the lanes.As he neared the crossing, he mistakenly thought the light had turned green for him, although his view was blocked by the bus. He picked up speed before hitting Mr Tong.

The bicycle was inspected and found to have no front and rear brake levers or calipers. But it was fixed with a rear "coaster brake" that operates by turning the pedals backwards. However it could brake only on its own at very slow speeds, said DPP Lee.

The view of delivery rider Khairul Hairuman had been blocked by a bus on the left lane of Lorong Ah Soo just before the crossing during heavy traffic, the court heard. The 19-year-old was riding a bicycle with no brakes that was not designed for use on roads

Khairul knew the bicycle rear brakes were not fixed. About a week before the accident, he had removed the faulty front brakes, which were not replaced.

"Without either front or rear brakes, the accused would normally use his right foot to step on the rear tyre of the said bicycle to slow down, and it would take at least four to five seconds to stop completely,'' said DPP Lee.

DPP Lee asked for four months' jail to be imposed.The judge postponed sentencing to Feb 6. The maximum penalty for causing death by a rash act is five years' jail and a $5,000 fine.

Khairul was described as a delivery rider for Deliveroo in the court papers. But a spokesman for the food delivery firm said Khairul never worked with Deliveroo and was not carrying out a delivery when the incident occurred.

"We will work with the authorities however we can to assist them in this matter. This is a tragic incident and our thoughts are with Mr Tong's family at this very difficult time," said the spokesman..

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2018, with the headline 'Rider admits causing death of pedestrian, 73'. Print Edition | Subscribe