Golf ball hits woman walking on new Jurassic Mile track leading to airport; Changi looking at taking precautions

Tanah Merah Country Club said it is working with Changi Airport Group on improving the track's safety features. PHOTOS: DEREK YAP/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Changi Airport Group (CAG) is looking at introducing precautionary measures, like putting up nettings, along a stretch of its new cycling track after a female pedestrian was hit on the head by a stray ball from an adjacent golf course.

The accident on Thursday (Oct 22) evening was unfortunate, it said, adding that it "has never happened" on the new Changi Airport Connector track.

"CAG is looking into additional ways to further minimise the risk of stray golf balls heading towards the Jurassic Mile, such as putting up nettings in that area," it said. The track is for cyclists and pedestrians.

Tanah Merah Country Club said it is working with CAG on improving the track's safety features.

Both CAG and the country club apologised for the accident.

The Changi Airport Connector - which includes the 1km Jurassic Mile stretch with dinosaur exhibits - was opened on Oct 11. It stretches from East Coast Park and alongside Tanah Merah Country Club to Terminal 4 and Terminal 2 at Changi Airport.

Facebook user Derek Yap wrote in a post on Thursday evening that he was walking on the track with his family and domestic helper when the accident happened.

He heard a loud thud, turned and saw his helper dropping to her knees. "She held her head and started crying," wrote Mr Yap.

A nearby security officer alerted the airport and an airport ambulance arrived at the scene with a doctor, who said the helper had suffered bruising and advised that her condition be monitored at home, Mr Yap said in his post.

The helper "is fine so far", he added.

"I am sharing this incident so that people are aware. I can't imagine how it (would have) turned out if the golf ball was to hit a child or an elderly person."

The Straits Times has contacted CAG and Tanah Merah Country Club to ask why the precautions, like nettings, were not installed initially.

Separately, CAG said on Thursday it will resurface some turns along the connector and put up signs warning people of slippery patches.

The move come in the wake of Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reporting that there were several incidents of cyclists slipping on turns during wet weather.

CAG did not disclose how many such accidents have occurred. But it said staff had been deployed along the track to ensure safe distancing and safety.

It had also implemented speed reducing strips and painted on the track signs in red to slow down. It did so before its opening.

Some cyclists have suggested the slippery turns could be due to the paint on the track.

Transport infrastructure expert Raymond Ong from the National University of Singapore said usually, there are standards to ensure painted tracks meet a minimum slip resistance.

Slippery turns could also be due to other reasons, such as low tyre pressure in bicycles, rainy weather and speeding when turning, he added.

"Typically, a cyclist skidding or slipping is due to a combination of one or more of these factors and usually require a detailed site analysis."

He said cyclists can reduce the risk of slipping by slowing down when turning and ensuring their bicycle has sufficient tyre pressure.

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