A 60-year-old Thai woman died during the busy July long weekend after her bike struck a pedestrian on the Cha-Am beach road. The woman then came off her bicycle and finished under the wheel of an adjacent tour bus.
The cyclist, wearing a cycling helmet, was named as Suchanan Santijitrungreuang, an assistant to the director of a school in Bangkok. She was rushed to hospital in Phetchaburi after the midday accident but was declared dead that evening. The accident, caught on CCTV, shows the pedestrian walking on the busy Ruamchit Road behind vehicles parked just over the curb, beach-side leaving no room to walk past and still stay off the road.
The cyclist travelled along the road between the parked vehicles and a tour bus then glanced off the pedestrian into the path of the bus alongside. The bus was travelling at little more than walking pace but appeared to have no chance to brake. It is unlikely that the driver had seen what had happened. The accident happened across the road from the junction of Soi 3 (north).
The obstruction of foot pathways either beachside by vehicles parked just over the curb or by vendors blocking the footpath across the road remains a big public safety issue at the Cha-Am beach. A tragic irony of this incident is that many cycle hire shops on footpaths are serial offenders. The frequent presence of large multi-wheeled tour buses also poses a hazard to cyclists and motorbike riders apart from to walkers. Many say these vehicles should be kept away from this busy single laned road, especially on busy weekends.
Some reports referred to this as a ‘freak accident’ but this was really a predictable tragedy which should become a ‘wake-up’ call to the relevant authorities. An unobstructed pathway should be an urgent and essential requirement for the length of the Cha-Am beach.