Woman's face fractured after e-cyclist ran over her
Man jailed five weeks after he runs over pedestrian with his e-bike
He knew he could ride his power-assisted bicycle, also known as an e-bike, only on the roads.
But on April 18 last year, coffeeshop helper Tan Heng Huat rode his e-bike on footpaths near his 10th-storey home at Block 121, Paya Lebar Way.
While doing so, he crashed into housewife Heng Lian Cheng, then 68, who suffered a head injury and facial fractures after falling face first from the impact.
Tan did not help her up nor check if she was fine. Instead, he apologised, handed her a piece of tissue paper and rode away.
As it turned out, his victim lives on the fifth storey of the same block, though they did not know each other.
Tan, 40, was jailed for five weeks yesterday after pleading guilty to causing grievous hurt by performing a rash act.
Before handing down the sentence, District Judge Lee Poh Choo said while it was "convenient, fun and fast" to "zip around" on the bicycle, it was also Tan's duty to ride in a safe manner.
She also felt that motorised bicycles are more dangerous than cars because, unlike drivers, riders do not need a licence to operate them.
The court was told that Tan bought the e-bike for $1,280 on Dec 31, 2014. It weighs 50kg, and has a maximum speed of 25kmh.
He used the e-bike, which is approved by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and was not illegally modified, to travel to and from his workplace at Geylang Lorong 34.
On the day of the offence, he left his home around 9.15am to go to work, riding on the pavement towards Block 120 despite knowing he was not allowed to do so and he could crash into pedestrians.
TRANSPORT: The accident took place near Block 120, Paya Lebar Way. TNP PHOTO: PHYLLICIA WANG
As he turned right around a corner at Block 120, where his view was blocked by a pillar, his e-bike knocked into Madam Heng, who was going to a market at Block 89, Circuit Road.
He had tried to brake but because he was travelling at an unsafe speed, he could not stop in time. The speed was not mentioned in court.
After he rode away, Madam Heng managed to get up by herself. A man approached her to see if she needed an ambulance and told her he recognised the rider as "Ah Huat".
She declined his offer but later went to a general practitioner when her husband saw her severe injuries.
She was referred to Changi General Hospital, where she was warded for four days, and later readmitted for surgery on her facial fractures.
Madam Heng's daughter, Ms Eileen Lee Li Xuan, made a police report about eight hours after the accident
Tan surrendered himself at the Geylang Serai Neighbourhood Police Post on April 21 after a relative told him the police were looking for a man known as Ah Huat.
When TNP visited Madam Heng yesterday, she declined to comment, apart from saying she was feeling better now.
Yesterday, Tan's aunt, Madam Tan Sok Cheng, 57, told The New Paper he is the family's sole breadwinner.
Madam Tan, who shares the four-room flat with him, his wife and their two daughters, is worried about their financial situation now that he is behind bars.
TRANSPORT: Tan Heng Huat used the e-bike to pick his daughter up from school.
She said his younger daughter is only a month old, while his older is 12 years old.
"He used the bicycle to go to work, and to fetch his daughter from school," she added.
For causing grievous hurt by performing a rash act, Tan could have been jailed up to four years and fined up to $10,000.
EXPERT: ENFORCEMENT IS A MUST
Action against errant cyclists is necessary, experts told The New Paper yesterday.
This comes after Tan Heng Huat, 40, was jailed five weeks yesterday for riding his power-assisted bicycle, also known as an e-bike, on the pavement and crashing into an elderly woman, who sustained severe injuries.
Mr Ronald Tay, a dealer of kick scooters and electric scooters at Scootersg.com, said motorised bicycles are dangerous on pavements as the motors could cause them to shoot off at a speed. He said such bicycles can move at high speeds after being pedalled for a while.
"If you need to get across a pavement or void deck, get off and push," Mr Tay said.
Road safety expert Gerard Pereira stressed the need for authorities to take action.
He said: "Enforcement is necessary to ensure motorised bicycle users are on the correct path. If not, the old and young are vulnerable to danger."
The Government is pushing for a car-lite Singapore. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched the first phase of a cycling and walking town in Ang Mo Kio on Sunday.
It includes a new 4km biking route and cycle ramps with slow-down rumble strips.
Mr Steven Lim, president of the Safe Cycling Task Force, said it is imperative road users adopt the right mindset.
"The facilities and regulations are one thing. We first need to be mindful of our surroundings and other users.
"Hopefully, we can become a more gracious society where we can look out for one another," he said.
At present, motorised bicycles can only be used on roads.
However, they may be allowed on cycling paths and shared paths - but not footpaths - by year-end after the Government fully accepted an expert panel's recommendations to boost the use of such devices.
Under the recommendations, bicycles and personal mobility devices such as e-scooters, skateboards and hoverboards will be allowed on footpaths when the new legislation takes effect.
When this happens, Mr Tay said there will be a greater need for enforcement against those who are reckless.
He also called for mandatory insurance for e-cyclists in the event of an accident.
"This way, if they hurt someone, at least the victim can claim from their insurance," Mr Tay said.
In a written reply on March 1 by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan to a parliamentary question on cycling offences, he said Government agencies received about 600 complaints about errant cyclists in 2014 and 800 complaints last year.
In another question about the recourse open to those injured by cyclists, he said in a written reply: "(They) can seek compensation from the cyclists through civil action in court or private settlement, similar to victims of motoring accidents."
Last year, a 35-year-old man became the first cyclist to be taken to court for riding on a pavement meant for pedestrians after he knocked down and injured an elderly woman.
A district judge jailed him for eight weeks on Sept 7 after he pleaded guilty to committing a rash act that endangered the safety of others.
In a first, the prosecution, which had recommended a two-week jail sentence, appealed for the sentence to be reduced.
On Sept 18, Justice Chan Seng Onn allowed the appeal, cutting the jail time to three weeks.
- RONALD LOH and SHAFFIQ ALKHATIB