SINGAPORE — A cyclist who died after being run over by a shuttle bus within the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) campus may have lost her balance while trying to mount her bicycle and fallen into the path of the oncoming bus' left rear tyres, according to the findings of a coroner's inquiry made available on Tuesday (12 October).
Wong Siew Yuen, a 49-year-old Malaysian, had stopped her bicycle at the pedestrian pavement along Nanyang Drive, where she had been cycling with a colleague on 3 May this year when she fell at about 8.54pm.
Wong died from head and chest injuries consistent with those sustained in a motor vehicular accident, said State Coroner Adam Nakhoda, who added that there was no evidence of foul play in her death.
“Ms Wong’s death was an unfortunate and tragic traffic misadventure,” he said.
Day of the accident
On 3 May, Wong and her colleague Tan Keng Hoon went cycling on their day off. They had already been cycling and running mates for about six months.
Tan told the court that the bicycle Wong was riding had been purchased two weeks before. While he had cycled along Nanyang Drive before, it was her first time riding on the “easy to cycle over” terrain, said Tan.
Wong did not appear tired or ill when she was cycling, nor did she complain of tiredness. He added that their cycling pace was “relaxed”.
The pair began cycling at 5pm from Jurong West Central 1, along Pioneer Road North to NTU's Yunnan Garden. They parked their bicycles at Yunnan Garden before walking around the area. At about 7pm, they had a drink at the NTU canteen.
At about 8.30pm, the duo decided to have dinner and cycled along Nanyang Drive in the direction of Lien Ying Chow Drive.
Tan rode ahead of Wong along the pedestrian pavement that was parallel to Nanyang Drive. The pair then crossed Nanyang Drive at the zebra crossing just before the left turn to Liew Ying Chow Drive. An SBS bus' front camera captured the two crossing, with Wong appearing to be propelling her bicycle forward with her feet on the road.
Shuttle bus turned right
Just after the two had crossed, a shuttle bus made a right turn from Lien Ying Chow Drive onto Nanyang Drive. Footage from the SBS bus showed Wong dismounting from the bicycle on the pedestrian pavement and standing on the left of the bicycle at the zebra crossing sign, while Tan rode some five metres ahead.
Wong was then seen holding onto the bicycle’s left handlebar while bending over and looking at the back of the bicycle.
The bus that had just made a right turn had a front camera that captured Wong standing. Just as the bus drew level with Wong, she appeared to be in a more upright position and was possibly attempting to mount her bicycle.
“It was possible that as… Wong was attempting to mount the bicycle, she lost her balance and fell into the path of the oncoming bus,” said SC Nakhoda in his findings.
The bus driver continued to drive over the zebra crossing when he heard a sound coming from the left rear side of the bus. He looked at his wing mirror and saw Wong’s bicycle falling, as well as two feet on the pavement. He stopped the bus.
The passing SBS bus’s rear camera footage captured Tan turning around, dismounting and letting go of his own bicycle before running to where Wong’s body had fallen. He saw that her head was badly injured and that she was not moving. He then later realised that she had died and called for an ambulance.
Tan gave evidence that at the time of the accident, the weather was fine and the road surface dry, with fair visibility and light traffic. Both bicycles had their headlamps turned on, but neither cyclist was wearing a helmet.
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