Chong Chye Kong v Chin Chee Poh

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeKoh Jiaying
Judgment Date07 July 2017
Neutral Citation[2017] SGDC 197
Citation[2017] SGDC 197
Hearing Date21 April 2017,24 February 2017,17 May 2017,19 April 2017,07 March 2017
Docket NumberDC/DC 1311 of 2016, District Court Appeal No. HC/DCA 9/2017
Published date08 November 2017
Plaintiff CounselMr Neo Poh Seng Freddy (Hoh Law Corporation)
Defendant CounselMs Grace Tan (KhattarWong LLP)
Subject MatterTort,negligence,contributory negligence
District Judge Koh Jiaying: Introduction

The Plaintiff was cycling along Sembawang Avenue towards Sembawang Drive on 16 July 2014 and had changed lanes from the left side of the road to the right, in order to turn right to Sembawang Drive. The Defendant was driving straight on the extreme right lane of Sembawang Avenue when the collision occurred between the rear wheel of the Plaintiff’s bicycle and the front left bumper of the Defendant’s car.1

The Plaintiff’s pleaded case was that the Defendant’s car had collided into the rear of his bicycle and the collision was caused by the negligence of the Defendant in the driving, management and control of his car. The Plaintiff claims against the Defendant for injuries suffered.

The Defendant’s pleaded case was that the Defendant’s car was travelling straight on the rightmost lane of Sembawang Avenue when the Plaintiff, riding along Sembawang Avenue, suddenly and without any warning whatsoever, cut across Sembawang Avenue from left to right and into the path of the Defendant’s car. The Defendant immediately jammed his brakes but could not avoid the collision.


The case was bifurcated and the trial was on liability only. The only issue in this case was whether the Plaintiff had suddenly cut into the path of the Defendant’s car, or was already cycling in front of the Defendant’s car when the accident happened. This factual issue would determine the liability of the Defendant.


I found that on a balance of probabilities, the Plaintiff had cycled diagonally across Sembawang Avenue and had cut into the path of the Defendant’s car, without regard to the safety of other road users and his own safety. While the Defendant was negligent as he had failed to keep a proper lookout, the Plaintiff had contributed to the accident by his own negligence. I apportioned liability at 80% to be borne by the Plaintiff and 20% to be borne by the Defendant, and gave interlocutory judgment for the Plaintiff to the extent of 20% of the damages to be assessed, with costs and interest reserved to the Registrar hearing the assessment of damages.

The Plaintiff has appealed against my decision. These are the grounds of my decision.


The reasons for my finding that the Plaintiff had suddenly cut into the path of the Defendant’s car are set out below.

It was not disputed that the Plaintiff was cycling on the left lane of Sembawang Avenue and had changed lanes towards the right as he intended to turn right into Sembawang Drive2.

However, the Plaintiff’s evidence in his affidavit of evidence-in-chief (“AEIC”), his own Traffic Police Report, his brother’s Traffic Police Report and his oral testimony during the trial were inconsistent in explaining how he had ended up on the right side of Sembawang Avenue and how the accident occurred. This was particularly important as the objective evidence in this case did not assist much in establishing how the accident happened.

The two pieces of objective evidence before the Court in this case were a Traffic Police sketch plan3 and photographs of the damage to the Defendant’s car4. The sketch plan showed the final resting positions of the Defendant’s car and the Plaintiff’s bicycle, and a blood stain, with some numbers written beside the drawings. An object was marked “HP36” on the left side of the sketch and the title of the sketch plan was “Sketch Plan of Traffic Accident at Sembawang Ave (Lamp Post 36)”. Without an explanation by the maker of the document, I did not find the sketch plan helpful.

After the Plaintiff and Defendant had given evidence, Plaintiff’s counsel had indicated that he wished to make an application to call the relevant traffic police officer as a witness. Such application was eventually not made as he was informed that the Investigating Officer and the officer who drew the sketch plan had left the Singapore Police Force. The parties did not refer to the sketch plan in their submissions5. In any event, for the above reasons, I did not place any weight on the sketch plan.

In respect of the photographs of the damage to the Defendant’s car, these showed a shattered windscreen and damage to the left bumper. However, these photographs were not taken at the scene of the accident. While they showed the point of impact of the collision, they were indicative of how the accident may have happened, only when taken together with the rest of the evidence.

Before I turn to the inconsistencies in the Plaintiff’s evidence, it should be noted that Sembawang Avenue in the direction of Sembawang Drive begins as a three lane road. It then becomes a four lane road some distance from the junction of Sembawang Avenue and Sembawang Drive, with the fourth and rightmost lane being a right-turning lane only6.

In the Plaintiff’s AEIC, he stated that he was cycling along Sembawang Road, had turned left to Sembawang Avenue and kept to the left of the road. As he was intending to turn right into Sembawang Drive, he started to change lanes to go to the first lane. Upon reaching the junction of Sembawang Avenue and Sembawang Drive, he checked his bicycle’s right side mirror for incoming traffic from the rear and also checked his blind spot before changing lanes. He used his right hand to signal that he was going to change lane. He had then changed lane by lane and when he was already cycling in the first lane, the Defendant’s car suddenly collided into his bicycle from the rear.7 It was clear that the Plaintiff was referring to the first lane from the right when reference was made to the “first lane” in his AEIC.

The Plaintiff’s brother made a police report on 28 July 2014 on the Plaintiff’s behalf. The Plaintiff confirmed during cross-examination that his brother had taken instructions from him to file the report while he was still in hospital and...

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