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Cyclist punched lorry driver after forcing him to stop in traffic on Jalan Eunos, gets S$5,600 fine

SINGAPORE — A cyclist got angry when a lorry driver overtook him and then later approached him in a threatening manner while holding a metal water flask. Jeffery Todd Martin, who had just forced the driver to stop in the middle of moving traffic, then punched the driver before leaving the scene.

Cyclist punched lorry driver after forcing him to stop in traffic on Jalan Eunos, gets S$5,600 fine

Left, a screengrab of a video showing lorry driver Zhang Ping (left) and cyclist Jeffery Todd Martin (right) after a series of overtaking manoeuvres on the road by both parties in 2019. Right, Jeffery Todd Martin at State Courts on May 10, 2021.

  • A lorry driver overtook cyclist Jeffery Todd Martin
  • The cyclist later forced the lorry to stop in the midst of moving traffic
  • He then punched the driver without warning before riding off

 

SINGAPORE — A cyclist got angry when a lorry driver overtook him and then later approached him in a threatening manner while holding a metal water flask.

Jeffery Todd Martin, who had just forced the driver to stop in the middle of moving traffic, then punched the driver before leaving the scene.

On Thursday (June 10), the Singapore permanent resident from Canada was fined S$5,600 for his actions on Feb 24, 2019.

The 57-year-old pleaded guilty to riding his black Cervelo road bicycle without due regard to the safety of others, under the Road Traffic (Bicycles) Rules, as well as voluntarily causing hurt to the driver, Mr Zhang Ping.

The incident was captured on the lorry’s in-vehicle camera, as well as in a video taken by an eyewitness that was circulated online.

The court heard that Mr Zhang was driving along Jalan Eunos on the extreme left lane that morning, at around 10.30am. Martin was cycling ahead of him, close to the double yellow lines.

Mr Zhang soon caught up and overtook Martin by passing him on the right. Martin turned his head towards the lorry at this point.

Just as Mr Zhang went by Jalan Awang, Martin overtook him on the right. He then cut in front of the lorry, turned around and pointed at Mr Zhang before coming to a stop in the middle of the lane, forcing Mr Zhang to stop in the midst of traffic.

He got off from his bicycle but Mr Zhang began turning the lorry to the right, forcing him to walk around the vehicle from the back to avoid oncoming traffic in the next lane.

Martin then hit the lorry driver’s window, shouting vulgarities, and also shouted at Mr Zhang through the front passenger window.

In response, Mr Zhang made a sharp left turn towards where Martin was standing, forcing him to pick up his bicycle and take a few steps backwards to avoid the lorry. He then left the bicycle on a nearby grass patch.

Mr Zhang alighted and ran over to Martin while holding a water flask, stood in front of Martin, and gesticulated at the lorry with his other hand.

Without warning, Martin punched him on the mouth, causing him to fall.

Martin then picked up his bicycle and continued cycling towards Still Road.

A member of the public then called the police.

Mr Zhang was examined at Changi General Hospital’s accident and emergency department, where he was found to have suffered minor cuts. He was discharged with medicine and given two days of medical leave.

Martin has since paid $126 in compensation to Mr Zhang’s employer, who had paid the sum for the driver’s medical fees.

Mr Zhang has also been prosecuted over the incident, having earlier been jailed one week.

PUNCHED VICTIM ‘INSTINCTIVELY’

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Emily Koh did not seek a jail term, saying a high fine was appropriate as the victim suffered minor cuts. 

“We do not find any culpability-increasing aggravating factors but we have to point out that it’s a case of road rage stemming from the shared use of a road,” she added.

In mitigation, Martin’s lawyer Suppiah Thangaveloo also argued for a fine.

He told the court that Martin had felt threatened and did not intend to confront Mr Zhang any more after the lorry driver tried to run him off three times, including when he suddenly swung the lorry to the left.

Besides, Martin had fractured his collarbone in a past incident.

The lawyer acknowledged that his client had injured Mr Zhang, but said that Martin had instinctively punched him “in a split second”.

Martin had told the police later that he was unsure of what Mr Zhang would do with the flask and “got scared”.

He then left the scene as Mr Zhang was “angry and aggressive and I was scared and concerned of what he was going to do next”, he said.

Mr Thangaveloo also alleged that the driver had pointed his middle finger at Martin, but DPP Koh responded that this was not borne out by investigations. 

Both men had also played an active role in the entire dispute, the prosecutor added.

In sentencing Martin, District Judge Brenda Tan noted the circumstances of his offences and imposed the maximum S$5,000 fine for voluntarily causing hurt. This also carries the possibility of a jail term up to two years.

The remaining S$600 was for his other charge of riding his bicycle without due regard to others’ safety. Those convicted can be fined up to S$1,000 or jailed up to three months, or both.

Related topics

crime court road rage assault lorry driver cyclist

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