SINGAPORE, Nov 24 — A taxi driver failed to keep a proper lookout as he approached a zebra crossing and struck a cyclist, causing the 74-year-old fractures and other injuries.

Yew Kai Leong, 68, a career taxi driver, was given a maximum fine of S$2,500 (RM8,731) and disqualified from driving for 12 months today after pleading guilty to causing hurt to another person by driving, under the Road Traffic Act.

In sentencing, Deputy Principal Judge Luke Tan said Yew, who had a history of road offences, was a “menace to road users” and lucky to have avoided a jail term.

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What happened

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Melissa Heng told the court that early on the afternoon of January 22, 2020, Patrick Quek was cycling with his friend Chung Meng Whatt when they approached a two-lane zebra crossing along the Yishun Avenue 1 slip road, headed towards Lentor Avenue.

The two paused to check for traffic and after seeing a white vehicle stop at the left lane of the zebra crossing, Chung proceeded to cycle across.

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Quek, who was behind his friend, began to cycle across as well.

As Yew approached the zebra crossing in the right lane, he failed to keep a proper lookout and struck Quek.

Quek said he was flung into the air and estimates that he landed about 4m from Yew’s taxi.

At the time of the offence, Quek had the right of way as he was cycling across the designated zebra crossing.

The court heard that Chung had already crossed the zebra crossing when he heard a loud bang and turned around to see Quek on the road.

As a passerby called an ambulance and the police, Yew got out of his taxi to approach Quek.

When the paramedics arrived, Quek refused to be sent to the hospital and was only later sent to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital after he complained of body pain at the void deck of his friend’s home.

As a result of the accident, Quek was found to have sustained multiple injuries which included fractures on his pelvis and lower spine.

Quek was warded for about a week from January 22 to 29 and given 22 days of medical leave.

He was also given outpatient follow up plans with orthopaedic, neurosurgical and physiotherapy specialists.

‘Menace to road users’

In delivering Yew’s sentence, Deputy Principal Judge Luke Tan said that in his view, the facts were quite bad as the incident happened at a zebra crossing.

“You are a taxi driver of some years so you should know the very high possibility of people crossing at the zebra crossing especially when the white car has already stopped,” he said.

The judge also referred to Yew’s “checkered” driving record where Yew had past convictions for speeding, inconsiderate driving, parking offences and careless driving.

“In short, you are a menace to road users and a danger to others as well as yourself but all things considered, I won’t impose imprisonment but will impose the maximum fine of S$2,500 and a disqualification of 12 months, and I would say you should count yourself lucky,” he said.

For causing hurt to another person by driving, Yew could have been jailed for up to 12 months or fined S$2,500, or both. — TODAY