Cyclist wanted to sue PUB for negligence settles outside court

In Singapore an accident involving a cyclist who was seriously injured after his bicycle wheel got stuck in a drain cover and who wanted to sue PUB for negligence got everyone talking. The cyclists and PUB decided to settle.

The cyclist a 42-year-old Myanmar national named Maung Maung Aung Soe Thu, originally wanted to sue PUB for at least S$578,000 in damages. Everyone on the internet weighed in with their views. Some calling the cyclist a noob, others saying he was seeking an opportunity. Many saying it was his own fault.

Surprisingly on 7 September 2022 both the cyclist and the PUB decided to settle

Both parties agreed to settle the case without finding either party liable for the damages

The conditions of the settlement will also be kept confidential and will not be made public.

The cyclist's lawyers argued that PUB had breached duty of care and the 3 day hearing would have determined if PUB was liable. The lawyers argued that PUB had breached its duty of care by failing to ensure that drain gratings along the road are safe for road users. He had suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage, which is a head injury, multiple facial fractures, and trauma to the spine as a result of the accident. He also has weakness in both his feet and right hand. Wounds from the accident had left him with scars as well.

Maung Maung's lawyer said PUB was negligent in how it constructed, installed and managed the drain, which caused or contributed to the accident. That they failed to ensure safety as the gaps were not perpendicular but parallel to the road and uniform.

PUB said it did not owe Maung Maung a duty of care, and denied that it was negligent.

PUB said if it were found to be liable for the accident, its functions as a statutory board will be "curtailed" as it would have to now "undertake the mammoth task" of inspecting and replacing more than one million gratings, according to ST.

PUB's lawyers also said, including this accident, there were only 12 verified incidents involving members of the public being injured due to drain gratings in the last 10 years since 2012.

As a matter of discussion and dialog

- Do you believe that stat boards should have a duty of care?

- How much would be enough?

- What kind of risk assessment and risk mitigation needs to be done.

We noticed that many of the gratings in Singapore seem to be running perpendicular not parallel. Were they replaced? Was it an improvement?

What do you think?

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