SINGAPORE — A British cyclist whose altercation with a lorry driver in Pasir Ris last December went viral was on Friday (12 April) fined $2,800.
Eric Cheung Hoyu, 35, pleaded guilty to one charge of mischief and one count of contravening the Road Traffic Rules, by not riding in an orderly and careful manner and with due regard for the safety of others.
The video of the road rage incident has been viewed more than 3 million times and shared more than 29,000 times. It divided netizens, with some blaming Cheung for not adhering to road rules, while others accused lorry driver Teo Seng Tiong, 58, of deliberately hitting the cyclist.
As a result of the public backlash from the wide circulation of the video, Cheung’s personal and professional life were affected, the court heard.
“His world has been turned upside down from the extremely negative publicity and trolls against him on the Internet and social media. He had to seek psychiatric help to deal with stress and anxiety attacks. He has been having sleepless nights since the incident,” his lawyer told District Judge Marvin Bay.
Cheung’s job as an account manager was also badly affected. He reached a mutual agreement with his employers to resign, and is currently serving notice.
Struck lorry’s side-view mirror
On 22 December, Cheung and a friend were cycling abreast down the left lane of Pasir Ris Drive 3 in the direction of New Loyang Link. Cheung’s friend cycled closer to the kerb while he rode in the middle lane of the two-lane road.
Teo was driving his lorry behind the cyclists. Teo tried to overtake Cheung using the right lane but was unable to do so due to other vehicles on the road.
At the junction of Pasir Ris Drive 3 and Pasir Ris Rise, the road users stopped to conform to a red light signal. When the signal turned green, Teo sounded his horn and tried to overtake Cheung using the right lane but was again unsuccessful.
“Cheung glanced twice at the lorry as he cycled closer to the kerb on the left, eventually coming abreast with the lorry. Cheung then raised his right hand and struck the lorry’s side-view mirror, breaking off portions of the mirror which fell to the road,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong told the judge.
Teo then swerved his lorry to the left, colliding with Cheung and causing him to fall off his bicycle and onto a grass verge on the left side of the road.
Cheung’s head struck the ground, but he did not suffer any serious injuries due to his safety helmet. He had abrasions and bruises on his left arm and leg, and pain in the lower back.
The left handlebar and rear frame of his bicycle were also broken, while the damage caused to the lorry was $15.
The incident was captured by the in-car camera of a witness.
Avid cyclist who rode to work
In his mitigation plea, the court heard that Cheung was an avid cyclist. He passed his cycling proficiency test at the age of nine and has been cycling in Singapore for seven years – ever since he came to work here.
Cheung, who has a clean record, regretted his actions and wants to make Singapore his permanent home. He is actively looking for another job.
Meanwhile, Teo’s case is at the pre-trial conference stage. The driver has been charged with causing hurt to Cheung through a negligent act.
Teo also faces another count of failing to make a police report of an accident within 24 hours of its occurrence.
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