SINGAPORE — A taxi driver who hit a female cyclist along Braddell Road, causing her numerous fractures and a lasting eye injury, was sentenced to one week's jail on Thursday (17 October).
Lim Choon Hiang, a 56-year-old taxi driver, will also serve a two-year driving ban after she completes her jail sentence. The victim, 46-year-old Lynette Ngo Su-Mien, is an oncologist at Raffles Hospital.
Lim pleaded guilty to a single count of causing grievous hurt to Ngo through a negligent act.
On 10 March this year, at about 6.02 am, Lim was driving her taxi along Braddell Road towards the direction of Lornie Road while Ngo and her husband, Hing Siong Chen, were riding in the same direction in a single file.
Hing rode ahead of his wife. The couple’s bicycle each had an operating red LED light fixed to the rear end.
The couple intended to filter from the extreme left lane to the lane directly on their right on the five-lane road, as they were on a lane that could only be used for left turns while they intended to proceed straight.
Hing used his hand to signal the couple’s intention to change lane. After checking to make sure there were no incoming vehicles, the couple moved into the lane on their right.
About four seconds later, Lim was driving her taxi when she failed to notice the couple cycling ahead of her. She failed to horn or brake in time. Her attempt to swerve failed and she barrelled into Ngo, causing the cyclist to be flung to the ground. Ngo lost consciousness.
According to Lim, she had braked slightly and later admitted not noticing Ngo in front of her taxi.
The collision was captured by the video camera on the rear end of Ngo’s bicycle. The taxi sustained dents and scratches while Ngo’s bicycle handlebar was damaged and the bicycle chain was dislodged.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Ho said that at the time of the accident, the road surface was dry, traffic volume was light and visibility was good with the location brightly lit.
Ngo sustained a skull fracture and haemorrhage, a right collarbone fracture, and fractures in five of her ribs. She also had temporary hearing loss in her right ear, which she has since recovered from.
Ngo also complained of double vision and was diagnosed with a nerve injury to her right eye. Two months after the incident, Ngo sought further treatment for persistent double vision and dizziness. She reported the same conditions for her latest review on 3 June this year.
As a result of her serious injuries, Ngo was given 102 days of medical leave.
DPP Ho sought a one-week jail term for Lim, whom he said had a history of traffic violations dating back to 2007. Lim was fined and given demerit points for offences including speeding, careless driving, driving across a road divider and failing to conform to a red light signal from 2007 to 2016.
“It is clear that (Lim) has displayed a substantial degree of heedlessness as she was unaware of husband and victim despite (their) red LED lights,” said DPP Ho.
Lim’s lawyer Anand Nalachandran asked for a heavy fine or less than a week’s jail, and a two-year disqualification.
The lawyer said that his client was driving straight and had not seen the cyclist when she looked ahead, hence she failed to check her blind spot when changing lane. During the intervening gap of time, Lim’s collided into the cyclist in a matter of seconds, he added.
More Singapore stories