Eye surgeon stresses on ‘dressing for the slide, not the ride’ after motorcycle crash

My articles over the past two years of my journey with my motorcycle, Christine, have always been on a positive and high note, with the highlights being the happy, memorable and cherished moments – either riding alone, or with friends.

The articles have garnered followers along the way, and even influenced a handful to take up riding.

As with all exciting endeavours like motorbiking, there are inherent risks involved. One has to be licensed, skilled, knowledgeable, experienced, cautious, insured, and protected. Deficient in any one of these, could mean trouble. But even with all the boxes ticked, there is always a chance of things going south.

This is exactly what happened to me recently. Returning after a great ride of over 5,300km covering Malaysia and Thailand, you would expect things to be smooth sailing.

About 150km from home, I was on the North-South Expressway, listening to music and riding at a relaxed pace, when a car, driven by an elderly individual, suddenly swerved into my lane.

In my attempt to avoid the car, I was able to clear the bike, but not the pannier box, which grazed the car. The car went on to hit the central metal divider and spun. Both Christine and I were launched on different trajectories, going our separate ways, skidding on the tarmac.

The next thing I knew, my riding buddy, Dr Harjeet Singh, was turning me over to ask if I was okay. I sat up, thankful that I didn’t feel anything broken, or notice any open wounds.

My helmet and riding suit took the full brunt of the frictional ride on the tarmac. Thank god for the armoured paddings! Still, I had severe pain in my right shoulder and the left mid back.

Within a short while, another good friend Dr M. Thinakaran was at the scene. He is also a riding buddy but missed out on our Thailand trip. He quickly drove from Ipoh after being informed of the accident by Dr Harjeet.

Both Dr Harjeet and Dr Thinakaran watched over me to see if I was okay while waiting for the tow truck. We loaded Christine onto the truck and drove to the nearest police station to lodge a report. I quickly called my better half to inform her of the accident and to reassure her that I was okay.

The elderly driver of the car was fortunately not hurt, but dazed. Unfortunately, the car was running on an expired road tax, with no insurance.

After filing the police report, I hitched a ride back to Kuala Lumpur on the tow truck as Dr Harjeet continued his journey home, while Dr Thinakaran returned to Ipoh. God bless both of them who stayed with me until I was safely on my way back home. I am very much indebted to them.

Few friendships feed and nurture your soul. The rare few that do, are called brothers.

There are a few things I would like to stress. Firstly, is the importance of wearing proper protective and safety gear. A helmet, riding suit, gloves, and boots are a must. My riding gear is worth its weight in gold. If not for my attire, my injuries would have been more severe.

Secondly, it is important to have a valid licence, road tax and insurance for yourself and your vehicle. You wouldn’t want issues here to complicate matters.

It is also equally important to have a great set of ride buddies who have your back. Dr Harjeet and Dr Thinakaran are such individuals.

Many will have their own opinion and views about this incident. But for me, I have no regrets. There is a need to be aware of the risks and dangers of our passion, and it is vital to take all care and precautions.

There is always something that can happen at any time, to anyone. I have lost family members and friends to accidents. This was meant to happen, and I was fortunate to walk away.

Will I ride again? Most definitely yes! But I must make every effort to heal well and heal strong. I owe it to my family, my friends, my fellow bikers, my patients, and myself.

Here, I am blessed with a strong, steady life partner, wonderful children, close family support, great colleagues, and an understanding and compassionate hospital management.

Sometimes, a long ride with good friends is all the medicine your heart and soul needs. It’s not the miles. It’s the memories. And I’ve made plenty.

You have to take the good with the bad, smile when you are sad, love what you have, and remember what you had. Learn from mistakes, but never regret them. Things can go wrong, but just remember – the ride goes on.

Tagged with: