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5 days’ jail for lorry driver who swerved to avoid cyclist and crashed into biker, causing brain injury

SINGAPORE — A lorry driver who collided into a motorcyclist in the Upper Jurong Road area, after swerving onto the path of oncoming traffic to avoid a cyclist, was jailed five days on Monday (March 29).

The scene of a collision between a lorry driver and a motorcyclist, at the T-junction between Kian Teck Avenue and Kian Teck Road in the Upper Jurong Road area.

The scene of a collision between a lorry driver and a motorcyclist, at the T-junction between Kian Teck Avenue and Kian Teck Road in the Upper Jurong Road area.

  • Rasu Edison Raja was jailed and given a two-year driving ban
  • He pleaded guilty to one count of causing grievous hurt to Mr Mohd Noranis Isa
  • Rasu had intended to turn right at a T-junction when he saw a cyclist move off from behind a trailer
  • He swerved to avoid the cyclist instead of stopping or slowing down and struck the motorcyclist
  • The biker suffered multiple fractures and a traumatic brain injury

 

SINGAPORE — A lorry driver who collided into a motorcyclist in the Upper Jurong Road area, after swerving onto the path of oncoming traffic to avoid a cyclist, was jailed five days on Monday (March 29).

Rasu Edison Raja was also disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for two years. His lawyer told the court that he would be repatriated after serving his jail term.

The 35-year-old Indian national pleaded guilty to one count of causing grievous hurt to Mr Mohd Noranis Isa, a Malaysian then aged 26, by a negligent act.

The court heard that at about 6.20pm on Aug 8, 2019, Rasu was driving along Kian Teck Avenue in the Upper Jurong Road area when he intended to turn right at a T-junction between Kian Teck Avenue and Kian Teck Road.

Kian Teck Avenue had two lanes in each direction, divided by a central single white line.

At that point, a trailer with its headlights and hazard lights turned on was stationary in the lane nearest the footpath.

Part of the trailer jutted out onto the other lane as two large rubbish bins had been placed next to the pavement.

As Rasu approached Kian Teck Road, where he intended to turn right, he saw a cyclist move off from behind the trailer onto the lane nearest the centre dividing line.

However, he did not take the necessary precautions of stopping or slowing down significantly. Instead, he swerved right across the centre dividing line in order to avoid the cyclist.

He ended up completely encroaching onto a lane with oncoming traffic headed towards him.

At the same time, Mr Noranis was approaching on his motorcycle from the opposite direction in that lane, with the headlights turned on.

Rasu had an unobstructed view of Mr Noranis but failed to notice him and crashed into him.

Mr Noranis’ head struck the lorry’s right side mirror and his motorcycle collided into the other vehicle’s front right bumper. He then fell off his bike.

The bike had become stuck to the lorry’s front right tyre, causing the lorry’s steering wheel to lock. It continued veering right and eventually came to a stop.

Rasu alighted and helped Mr Noranis, who was later taken to the National University Hospital in an unconscious state.

He had suffered a traumatic brain injury, several fractures — including his skull and collarbone — and multiple superficial abrasions. He underwent emergency surgery and another procedure, and was warded for 37 days in total before being discharged with 99 days of hospitalisation leave.

'POOR DRIVING RECORD'

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Goh Qi Shuen sought at least five days’ jail and 18 months of disqualification, noting that Rasu had no prior criminal convictions but “has maintained a poor driving record”. She did not elaborate on this.

In mitigation, Rasu’s lawyer John Vincent said that his client was remorseful and wished “he could turn back the clock and press his emergency brake to avoid injuring the victim”. He had been in a “state of panic” when he saw the cyclist in front of him.

The lawyer also argued that the cyclist had suddenly emerged from behind the trailer and encroached into Rasu’s path.

“In order to avoid one accident, he ended up committing another,” Mr Vincent added.

In response, DPP Goh disagreed, saying that the cyclist’s actions were “very reasonable and expected” and he had not suddenly emerged onto the first lane.

In sentencing Rasu, District Judge Janet Wang rejected Mr Vincent’s argument, making her observations from video footage of the accident. She then told the court that as the driver of a heavy vehicle, he “ought to have exercised a heightened sense of alert to other road users”.

The judge had also asked if any enforcement action had been taken against the cyclist, to which DPP Goh replied that the prosecution was unsure if the cyclist could be identified.

“If he was traceable, he probably would have been charged,” Mr Vincent chimed in.

Rasu could have been jailed for up to two years or fined up to S$5,000, or both.

Related topics

accident lorry driver driving ban court crime cyclist motorcyclist

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