S$2,800 fine for cyclist who tangled with lorry driver in Singapore road-rage incident

A judge said that cyclist Eric Cheung Hoyu, seen in a screengrab of the viral video, was 'fortunate' not to have suffered worse injuries. — Image via TODAY
A judge said that cyclist Eric Cheung Hoyu, seen in a screengrab of the viral video, was 'fortunate' not to have suffered worse injuries. — Image via TODAY

SINGAPORE — The cyclist involved in a Pasir Ris road-rage incident that went viral on social media was fined S$2,800 (RM8,513) yesterday.

British national Eric Cheung Hoyu, 35, who was sideswiped by a lorry after he hit its side mirror, pleaded guilty to one charge of committing mischief and another charge of not cycling in an orderly and careful manner under the Road Traffic Rules.

On December 22 last year, Cheung and a friend were cycling on the left lane of Pasir Ris Drive 3 towards New Loyang Link.

They were cycling abreast of each other, with Cheung in the middle of the lane and his friend closer to the kerb.

A lorry behind them tried to overtake Cheung using the right lane but was unable to do so due to the presence of other vehicles.

At the junction of Pasir Ris Rise, Cheung stopped in front of the lorry at a red light. When the lights turned green, both moved off and Cheung remained at the centre of the lane.

Lorry driver Teo Seng Tiong, 58, honked at Cheung and tried to overtake him using the right lane again but was not successful.

Cheung then glanced at the lorry twice as he cycled closer to the kerb.

When he was beside the lorry, he raised his right hand and struck the lorry’s side-view mirror, breaking off portions of it. The damage amounted to S$15.

Teo swerved his lorry to the left and collided into Cheung, causing him to fall onto the grass patch on the left side of the road.

The incident, which was captured by the in-car camera of a vehicle in front of them, went viral on social media. It pulled in more than three million views, more than 29,000 shares and close to 9,000 comments within a month of being posted on Roads.sg, a website that hosts user-submitted videos.

The altercation triggered a debate online on whether Cheung or Teo was at fault.

Sought help for anxiety

Yesterday, defence lawyer Sarjeet Singh told the court that Cheung was an avid cyclist who had passed his cycling proficiency test at the age of nine in the United Kingdom.

He has been cycling in Singapore since he started working here seven years ago.

Sarjeet said that Cheung had felt “very vulnerable” when the lorry drove close to him even after the traffic lights had turned green at the junction of Pasir Ris Rise. He protested by swinging his right arm, which struck the side mirror of the lorry.

Cheung sustained abrasions and bruises on his lower back after the collision, the lawyer added.

Seeking a S$1,500 fine, Sarjeet said that Cheung regretted his actions and wished he had managed his emotions better. Cheung had also offered to compensate Teo but was turned down.

Cheung’s world was “turned upside down” from the negative publicity over the incident and had to seek psychiatric help to manage his anxiety, Sarjeet added.

He has resigned from his job as an account manager and is actively looking for another job so as “to make Singapore his permanent home.”

District Judge Marvin Bay said that Cheung was “fortunate” not to have suffered worse injuries and said that it was “inherently dangerous” to ride in the middle of the road lane and abreast of another cyclist.

Explaining the “moderate” sentence, the judge said: “There are elements of road rage in your behaviour but in this case, there was no injury to the lorry driver.”

Teo’s case will be heard at a later date.

The driver faces one charge of causing hurt to Cheung by performing a negligent act so as to endanger human life, and another charge of failing to lodge a police report within 24 hours after the accident. — TODAY