Monday, June 13, 2011

Jaywalker fined

Jun 14, 2011

Jaywalker fined for causing cyclist's death

Xu Yuanyuan, 19, was yesterday fined $1,500 for failing to keep a proper lookout as a pedestrian and colliding with a cyclist who later died from his injuries. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

A TEENAGER, who stepped onto the road without looking and caused a cyclist to crash into her and die, was fined $1,500 yesterday.

The cyclist, Mr Lock Wai Chee, 42, suffered head injuries after he was thrown off his bicycle and died five hours later in hospital.

Xu Yuanyuan, 19, a Chinese national, admitted to causing hurt to the cleaner by doing a negligent act to endanger life in the incident at the junction of Jalan Bukit Merah and Henderson Road.

The student at East Asia Institute of Management was with a schoolmate at the road junction at about 5.15pm on Dec 21 last year when she failed to keep a pro-per lookout.

The court heard she 'took a step forward' onto the road when the 'red man' was showing, resulting in the collision with Mr Lock, who was then cycling towards her from her right along Henderson Road.

She admitted to the police that the traffic signal was against her.

She also said she did not see the cyclist although she was wearing her spectacles and her view was not obstructed.

An autopsy on Mr Lock concluded that the injuries he sustained were consistent with him colliding with a pedestrian, being thrown off a bicycle and hitting his head on the road.

The court was not told if Xu was injured.

The bicycle was later inspected and its front brake pads were found to be worn and ineffective.

Xu, who was not represented by a lawyer, said she hoped the court would not jail her, to avoid having a problem with her stay here.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Gayathri Krishnan said the prosecution was not asking for a jail term but for a heavy fine to be imposed.

District Judge Kessler Soh told Xu: 'I hope you will be more careful in future when you cross the road. It is very unfortunate that death was caused in this case.'

She could have been jailed for up to six months or fined up to $2,500 or jailed and fined.

Last year , 16 cyclists died on the roads in Singapore, one fewer than in 2009.

Even so, cycling groups The Straits Times spoke to called for riders to maintain their bikes regularly, cycle defensively and wear helmets, a practice that has not caught on here.

Both the Singapore Amateur Cycling Association (Saca) and the Safe Cycling Task Force said Mr Lock's life could have been saved if he had been wearing a helmet.

The law currently makes it mandatory only for users of motorised bicycles to wear helmets.

'A helmet would greatly reduce the chances of head injury because it will absorb some of the impact,' said Mr Steven Lim, the task force's president.

Mr Tham Chen Munn, Saca's vice-president for safety and leisure, said some cyclists do not wear helmets because of the heat, lack of awareness and cost.

Helmets can cost from about $20 to a few hundred dollars.

Mr Tham and Mr Lim pointed out that it was dangerous to ride with faulty front brakes.

'Many of us take it for granted, but maintaining your bike and making sure it is in proper condition is very important,' Mr Lim said.

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