Sunday, August 19, 2012

Freddy Khoo, RIP (Loyang Ave)

"Cyclist dies in crash with lorry," by Royston Sim. The Straits Times, 19 Aug 2012. Two others injured; driver arrested and assisting police with investigations

Mr Freddy Khoo's bicycle lying mangled on Loyang Avenue after the accident. Two other cyclists were also hit by the lorry, and they suffered minor injuries. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK

A cyclist was killed yesterday morning after a collision with a lorry on Loyang Avenue.

Mr Freddy Khoo (left), 48, suffered severe injuries and was taken to Changi General Hospital, where he died later, the police said.

The police received a call at 6.55am about a traffic accident on Loyang Avenue in the direction of Changi Village. The lorry collided into three cyclists, a police spokesman said.

The lorry driver, 30, has been arrested and is assisting police with investigations, she added.

The other two cyclists are believed to have suffered minor injuries in the accident.

Friends described Mr Khoo as an avid triathlete, and someone who was always smiling. He is survived by his wife, who is about five months pregnant, and a son.

Mr Mave Goh, 34, a manager at bicycle shop Soon Watt & Co, has known Mr Khoo for about five years.

Mr Khoo was a customer at Soon Watt, and used to cycle with Mr Goh as part of cycling group Team Cychos.

"Freddy was very into fitness, very disciplined with training and overall a very nice chap," Mr Goh said. He said he heard Mr Khoo was with a group of about four or five cyclists who were not from Team Cychos when the accident happened.

A triathlete who knew Mr Khoo wrote a eulogy on Tumblr, saying: "The greatest impression I have of Freddy is of his smile. Whenever we met, he would always have that infectious, genuine and bright smile of his.

"Never fails to ask me how I was, how my training was going, what race I was targeting next. He was an inspiration to us with his 'can do' attitude."

The accident on Loyang Avenue - a popular route for riders - is the latest in a spate of fatal accidents involving cyclists.

Last Thursday, a 65-year-old cyclist was killed in an accident with a car in Jurong East.

In May, a 25-year-old cyclist died after he was knocked down by a lorry on Changi Coast Road.

The latest accident has triggered further calls for the authorities to make roads safer for cyclists, and dole out harsher penalties to deter would-be errant drivers.

The founders of local cycling group LoveCyclingSg have submitted a plea to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to look into the issue of cycling safety.

Mr Goh of Soon Watt said drivers still lack awareness of sharing the road with cyclists.

He added: "The authorities need to look at drivers' behaviour as a whole, not just towards cyclists. What are they doing about it?"

Mr Steven Lim, president of the Safe Cycling Task Force, advised cyclists to be vigilant, to always stay alert on the road and be aware of what is happening around them.

See also, "An Open Letter to the Minister of Transport, Mr Lui Tuck Yew" by Stephen Choy, 19 Aug 2012.

"Lorry driver jailed for causing cyclist's death along Loyang Avenue," by Elena Chong. The Straits Times, 25 Feb 2013.

Former lorry driver Wang Weiguan, who negligently caused the death of a cyclist along Loyang Avenue, was jailed for four weeks on Monday. He was also banned from driving for five years. -- ST PHOTO: EDWARD TEO

A Chinese national, who negligently caused the death of a cyclist along Loyang Avenue, was jailed for four weeks on Monday. Former lorry driver Wang Weiguan, 31, was also banned from driving for five years.

He had admitted to causing the death of Mr Freddy Khoo Boon Hai, 48, a bank employee, at about 6.50am on Aug 18 last year. Wang failed to keep a proper lookout ahead while travelling straight along the left lane of the road, resulting in the lorry hitting Mr Khoo's bicycle, and causing his death.

Mr Khoo, an avid triathlete, was cycling behind two other friends in a single file at a distance of about 1.5m between each bicycle when he was hit. Wang had failed to notice Mr Khoo's and in his friends and in his panic, he tried to swerve to the right but could not avoid colliding with Mr Khoo.

The other two cyclists - Mr Eugene Low Ju-Sen, 37, and Mr Kevin Quek Weng Yew, 26 - were flung off their bicycles.

As Wang changed to the right lane and stopped his vehicle, he could feel the deceased's bicycle being dragged along the ground underneath the lorry. He could also feel the lorry "running over something''. The vehicle finally came to a stop after moving a distance of at least 28m.

Mr Khoo suffered severe injuries and was pronounced dead about 11/2 hours later.

A second charge of causing hurt to the two cyclists by doing an act so negligently as to endanger life was considered during his sentencing.

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