Cycling

FIVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL KILLED AFTER FALLING FROM “PARKED” ELECTRIC TRICYCLE

The e-trike used by Mr Leung and, right, the wall where his granddaughter died after, Leung claims, falling off the parked vehicle

A five-year-old girl was killed after falling from an electric tricycle on Cheung Chau yesterday lunchtime, with her grandfather claiming she fell off while the machine was parked.

The tragedy happened as Mr Leung, 56, rode with his granddaughter in Tai Kwai Wan San Tsuen. In a police statement, Leung claimed he had parked the e-trike, used for shopping, and was unloading the vehicle when the young girl fell out from the half-metre-high platform and sustained fatal head injuries.

The girl was rushed to Cheung Chau Hospital unconscious and pronounced dead shortly afterwards. Leung is reported in local media saying “What a pity”.

A source in the village is reported as saying Leung was “known for riding his tricycle fast”. That source believes the girl was thrown from the vehicle after it overturned while being driven. Meanwhile other villagers expressed doubt on Leung’s claim that he “rarely used the e-trike” and that the family had most of their food delivered. Food delivery on Cheung Chau is not common, they say.

A police source says Leung will be arrested for maltreatment of a child later today, while cops don’t rule out further charges upon investigation. Police took the e-trike for further investigation.

A pool of blood was seen against a wall in the village, with old and recent scratch marks on a wall indictating some collision between a vehicle and that wall at some point in the recent past. But later the scene was left unprotected, with only a small plank of wood covering the blood and no police tape or other restrictions to maintain any crucial evidence.

Police say they will continue to investigate and refused to speculate on the validity of Leung’s claims the vehicle was not in motion at the time of the fatal incident.

Medical experts who have studied child falls say a fall needs to be greater than about 1m to cause any skull fracture. And studies show short falls rarely cause death. “As others have found, most [studied] ‘minor fall’ fatalities occurred under circumstances where there were no unrelated witnesses to corroborate the initial history,” writes one expert in the Journal of American Forensic Medical Pathology, discussing falls between 1.5 m and 1.8 m, finding that proper investigation of such deaths almost always finds another cause of death.

Electric tricycles are not allowed to be ridden anywhere on Hong Kong’s roads, pavements or cycleways, but are becoming increasingly common in villages like Mui Wo and Cheung Chau.

Police have made almost 70 arrests of riders of e-bikes, e-scooters and e-trikes in the last six months, five of those arrests on Cheung Chau.

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