SINGAPORE - A motorist whose car collided with a cyclist at a traffic junction and killed him was fined $1,000 and disqualified from driving for four months in a district court last week.
But while Yap Thien Leong, 40, had pleaded guilty to the less serious charge of driving without due care, the case drew notice to the habit of errant cyclists riding on pavements and pedestrian crossings at traffic junctions, and posing grave risk to life and limb.
Yap had failed to keep a proper lookout when he knocked down Mr S. Muneeshwaran at a traffic junction along Pasir Ris Drive 2 on Dec 17 last year.
Mr Muneeshwaran, 24, who was cycling across the pedestrian crossing despite the green light in Yap's favour, suffered severe internal injuries. The Indian national was taken to Changi General Hospital where he died the next day.
Video footage showed that he was cycling on the road pavement in the same direction as Yap but on the opposite side of the same road. He also rode over the pedestrian crossing at a much higher speed than a pedestrian would have crossed, giving little time for Yap to react.
Yap's lawyer Selva Naidu argued that it has become "a worryingly frequent experience in Singapore to find cyclists riding on pavements meant for pedestrians and riding across a pedestrian crossing. Many seem unaware they should not be riding across the pedestrian crossing".
"The deceased should never have cycled at all on any pedestrian crossing. Pedestrian crossings are for pedestrians, not cyclists," he added.
Mr Naidu suggested that employers of foreign workers who use bicycles had not done enough to educate them in this regard.
According to the Traffic Police, cyclists have to avoid riding on footways and if they use pedestrian crossings, including zebra crossings, they must dismount and push their bicycles across.