Cyclist Sues PUB For S$578K After Drain Cover Snags Bicycle Wheel & Causes Fall

Cyclist Sues PUB For S$578K, Citing Negligence On Agency’s Part

Cycling in Singapore can be a risky hobby as accidents can happen no matter where you go.

A cyclist learnt this the hard way when he fell after his bicycle wheel got stuck in a drain cover in Changi.

He suffered significant injuries and reportedly planned on suing the PUB, Singapore’s national water agency. The Straits Times (ST), who attended the hearing today (6 Sep), observes that the man walks with a limp and uses a walking stick.

Cyclist Falls After Bicycle Wheel Gets Stuck In Changi Drain Cover, He Allegedly Sues PUB

Now, it has emerged that he is seeking at least S$578,000 in damages in a negligence suit against the agency.

If the court finds the PUB liable, there will be a separate hearing to determine the amount paid off to the Myanmar national.

PUB says there’s only 0.00001% chance of accidents due to drain covers

According to ST, the cyclist, Mr Maung Maung Aung Soe Thu, has contended that the PUB had breached its duty of care by failing to ensure that drain gratings along the road are safe for road users.

The PUB in turn argued that they “factually” could not have foreseen that failure to “inspect, maintain or replace” the drain covers would have resulted in the harm he suffered.

Shin Min Daily News reports the agency’s estimation that the chance of a cyclist suffering moderate or serious injury from an accident involving drain covers is only 0.00001% each year.

PUB also noted that the gap in the particular drain cover measures only 3cm wide.


The agency also reasoned that the cost of inspecting, measuring and replacing over a million drain covers would be “astronomical”.

Man sues PUB & maintains they should be fully liable for injuries

In his written statement to the court, Mr Maung Maung reportedly shared that the dried leaves along the road had obscured his view of the gap in the drain cover.

While taking to the stand on Tuesday (6 Aug), the 42-year-old said that he did not see the drain cover as he had turned his head to check for traffic, notes ST.

His defence lawyer also argued that the gaps in the drain cover ran parallel to the road and were inconsistent.

He thus insisted that PUB be fully liable for the accident.

PUB’s lawyers, however, apparently argued that the agency had never received any complaints about the drain covers along that road since its construction in 2000.

They also shared that only 12 verified incidents involving injuries sustained due to drain covers were reported in the past 10 years.

Five of the 12 incidents, including Mr Maung Maung’s, involved cyclists, with the other four suffering only minor injuries.

The lawyers explained that policy considerations absolved PUB of any duty of care.

PUB would stop functioning as normal if found liable

PUB’s lawyers additionally stated that even if they prove guilty, Mr Maung Maung should be accountable too.

They pointed out that he neglected his own safety by cycling on the road instead of the adjacent park connector.

Any liability would apparently affect PUB’s functions as a stat board. This is because they’d have to check and replace over a million drain covers.

The trial is set to continue, with hearings tomorrow (7 Sep) and on Thursday (8 Sep).

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