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Cyclist who died in NTU accident may have lost her balance, fallen into bus’s path: Coroner

SINGAPORE — A 49-year-old woman may have lost her balance while trying to get back on her bicycle at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), leading to a campus shuttle bus running over her and killing her.

Cyclist who died in NTU accident may have lost her balance, fallen into bus’s path: Coroner

Wong Siew Yuen (left), 49, died after an accident involving a bus that happened at Nanyang Technological University (right) on May 3, 2021.

SINGAPORE — A 49-year-old woman may have lost her balance while trying to get back on her bicycle at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), leading to a campus shuttle bus running over her and killing her.

The accident involving Wong Siew Yuen was ruled an unfortunate and tragic traffic misadventure by the state coroner on Monday (Oct 11), following a one-day inquiry.

There was also no evidence of foul play in the death of the Malaysian, State Coroner Adam Nakhoda said, noting that she had just bought her bicycle two weeks before the fatal accident on May 3.

The coroner’s court heard that Wong and her close friend and colleague, Mr Tan Keng Hoon, had decided to go cycling on their day off. They had been cycling and running mates for about six months before that fateful evening.

Mr Tan told the court it was Wong’s first time riding along Nanyang Drive at NTU, while he had done so in the past. He described the terrain as easy to cycle and that their pace was relaxed.

The pair began riding at about 5pm from Jurong West Central 1, along Pioneer Road North to NTU’s Yunnan Garden. They walked around and had a drink before heading off for dinner.

Mr Tan cycled ahead of Wong, with the pair eventually crossing Nanyang Drive at a pedestrian crossing around 8.40pm.

Camera footage from a passing SBS bus showed that after doing so, Wong pushed her bicycle along the pedestrian pavement using her feet rather than pedalling.

She then dismounted shortly afterwards and appeared to look down at her bicycle while Mr Tan rode on.

She was observed to be holding onto the bicycle’s left handlebar while bending over and looking at its rear tyre or bicycle chain, State Coroner Nakhoda noted.

At that moment, it was possible that she lost her balance and fell onto Nanyang Drive into the path of an oncoming shuttle bus while trying to get back on her bicycle, the coroner added.

As the shuttle bus approached the pedestrian crossing, the passing bus’ rear camera captured Wong or her bicycle, or both, falling towards the left side of the bus.

The shuttle bus then ran over her upper body, inflicting fatal head and chest injuries.

The bus driver stopped when he heard a sound from the left rear side of his bus. Mr Tan got off his bicycle and ran towards Wong, before calling for an ambulance upon realising her head had been badly injured.

They had not been wearing helmets at the time and had turned on their bicycle headlamps. An expert who examined Wong’s bicycle stated that there was no evidence of possible mechanical failure that may have caused or contributed to the accident.

Wong died instantly from being run over and was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic.

Chinese evening newspaper Shin Min Daily News previously reported that Wong’s husband said that she did not have much cycling experience, and she had been bored at home because she could not visit her family in Malaysia due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

State Coroner Nakhoda expressed his condolences to Wong’s family for their loss.

It remains unclear if the shuttle bus driver will be prosecuted over her death. The intent of a coroner's inquiry is not to apportion blame but to determine why and how a death happened.

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accident death NTU cyclist bus court

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