Third death puts drivers on notice
More than 50 drivers of a minibus company will have to attend driving improvement courses after three of them were arrested in connection with three road deaths in Sha Tin in three weeks.
In the latest accident, a woman died when a minibus hit her bicycle in A Kung Kok Street yesterday. The other two cases involved the death of another cyclist, 55, in Tai Chung Kiu Road on Monday and a motorcyclist in Che Kung Miu Road on August 20.
The three minibuses are owned by Kwok Chung Motor Car Limited, which operates three green minibus routes with a fleet of 30 to 40 vehicles in the district.
Its manager, who gave only his surname, Lo, said the three drivers involved had been suspended.
'It's really bad luck,' he said. 'All the drivers have been reminded of safe driving and required to take driving improvement courses.'
Lo said the three accidents had affected the company's operations as police had impounded the buses for examination and the company did not have enough drivers.
Liu Fung-chun, 46, a patient service assistant at Sha Tin Hospital, was cycling to work from her home in Lek Yuen Estate, Sha Tin, at 7.50am yesterday when she was hit about 400 metres from the hospital.
The widowed mother of two daughters was cycling across A Kung Kok Street despite two signs telling cyclists to dismount and use a pedestrian crossing.
Liu was trapped under the minibus and dragged 15 metres. She was pronounced dead at Princess Margaret Hospital. She had worked at Sha Tin Hospital for nine years.
'The initial investigation showed that the driver did not take reasonable precaution while approaching the pedestrian crossing,' Senior Inspector Chan Hung-yiu, of New Territories South traffic unit, said. 'The accident could have been avoided if he had braked or slowed down before reaching the crossing.'
Police said the site was not a traffic black spot. Officers are trying to establish whether the minibus was exceeding the 50km/h speed limit at the time.
The 59-year-old driver was arrested for dangerous driving causing death and released on bail.
Lo said the man was an experienced driver who had worked for the company for about two years.
His two fellow drivers involved in the other fatal accidents were also granted police bail. Neither has been charged.
There were eight fatal traffic accidents involving bicycles in the first six months of this year. There were 11 cases in the whole of last year.
Chan said that in Monday's incident the male cyclist was riding against the traffic in Sha Kok Street before reaching the corner of Tai Chung Kiu Road, where he was hit and killed.
'Cyclists are required to obey traffic rules,' Chan said. 'Safe cycling is to protect their safety as well as other road users.'
Sha Tin district councillor Cheng Cho-kwong said police should take stronger action against cyclists who break traffic rules.
More publicity to promote safe cycling was also needed.
The number of fatal accidents involving bicycles in the first six months of this year.
- There were 11 bike-related fatalities last year