Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Ride That Should Not Had Happened

Sunday. 6.00am. Alarm woke me up to the usual tune signalling it was time to get up and prepare for the Powerman Putrajaya cycling loop and running session, or BRICK as how we some of us familiar with the sports would call it. Woke wifey up as i went downstairs after shower and changing to my favorite CSC sleeveless jersey which I wore for my last Ironman in 2010. Wow! The jersey felt super loose - mainly due to the weight loss that has taken place over the past 1 year.  loaded up the bike on top of my car and headed to pick my mum-in-law up from her home. She was babysitter designate on weekends that me and wifey wants to go out and train together.
Bright Superb Morning 7am
Upon reaching my MIL's place, i noticed that she was not awaken yet. I called wifey to ask if she had called to wake up her mum, of which she said "Since 6.45am, but no answer". I started ringing the bell, calling the house phone and calling her handphone - no answers. I started to get worried as I called wifey again to see if she managed to get her. It was NO. Thoughts started racing in my mind; did she fall while going to the toilet?". "Her heart is weak, Oh God no, i hope it is not!". Many thoughts raced through my mind that morning. After about 30minutes, i decided to leave and go back home - to prepare for any eventuality. Upon reaching home and as I was about to make another call, the phone rang.
"Where are you? Already 8am, aren't you supposed to be here by 7am?", My MIL asked.
It was a mix of anger and relief, and we started laughing. Picked the MIL up and called Doc Pui San to meet her by 9am to cycle the Powerman Loop.
Babes at Putrajaya
We started off right at 9am and was lead by Pui San as she knew the route. I drop back a little so i could be near wifey which is on her 4th official outing (cycling). Weather was perfect, company was great, speed of which we were cycling were decent.
Cycle on the leftmost lane. Putrajaya is popular with cyclist because less traffic and wide road.
Because it was route familiarization, speed was not important - moreover, wifey being beginner to an extend and not gotten her "cycling legs" yet, could only go that fast. Her average has been at 20km/h, which is pretty decent. Putrajaya has many cyclists using the road as training ground. The huge roads and minimal traffic particularly on weekends is ideal and a safe conducive place to be.
Waiting at most intersection to ensure everyone accounted for
Immediately after the last photo above (taken at 9.21am), my wife was hit from the back by a motorcycle. I was just 50m ahead of her waiting for her. I looked back and all i saw was this motorbike going at speed and rear ending my wife. It was horrifying. I saw my wife being thrown over the handle bar, landed on the hard hot tarmac and i could not do a single thing. I dismounted and ran towards her. My life was in a blur. I can't recall how i felt that moment except one thing that was certain - worried.
Upon reaching her, Wifey was sprawled on the road, her left side of her face on the tarmac and she was crying in pain. Her right shoe was missing, the sunnies flung off her face, bicycle a few meters from her and the water bottle a good 10meters away. I quickly (and tried very calmly) assessed the situation.
1. Limbs are all where it should be and not in any peculiar position - ok, no broken/mangled bones.
2. Still talking/crying - ok, conscious.
3. In pain - ok. Alive.
I spoke to wifey and asked if she could move herself - my logic if there is any neurological damages, she would not be able to do so. She could and she slowly sat up in a daze - all the while crying and her face bloodied. What i saw was bad bruises on the left side of the face at the cheekbone.
And then, anger came to me.
Moving the bike to the roadside
I confronted the motorcyclist, a girl why she did not see my wife. Her reply was an unbelievable "Tak nampak" (did not see). WTF is that? My wife could had died!
My fingers were trembling as i tried to recall Pui San's name on my phone. I dialled once and there was no answer - Oh God, please do not let her keep the phone in her car! Then the phone rang and i tried as calmly to tell her what happened.
"OhShit!", her first respond.
So happened, a group of men (which i later found out was Polis from Presint 11) passing by Lebuh Sentosa stopped to check and radio-ed for ambulance and polis for back up. Pui San reached soon after and another cyclist (which i later found out his name to be Tengku Amir) stopped to offer help.
Things were in a daze and I was super worried for wifey though she appear to be talking. The moment I heard her scolding the girl - TWICE, i knew, she was lucid. Amir told me he lives nearby and will get home to get his car to take the bike. I am grateful. A stranger that stopped and helped!
Within 5 minutes, a traffic polis arrive and within the next couple of minutes, the ambulance came. Wifey was check by the medical assistance/emergency response personnel and was moved to the ambulance. Pui San checked wifey for any other broken bones or internally injured organs by pressing her back and seeking response. I told Pui San to follow wifey to the hospital while i clear up all the items on the road.
The motorbike and the girl's sibling and mother. Ambulance left for hospital.
Amir soon came with his car and took me to my car so I could load up all three bikes and then rush to the Hospital. Amir helped me to get to the IPD Putrajaya to leave the bike (as evidence) and then went back to the Hospital again. There i found out Amir is a deputy public prosecutor (DPP) and works in the AG's Chamber in Putrajaya. Unassuming. We also found out that the girl's father was a polis personnel. Amir left soon after as he has other appointment. I can not say enough thank you to him for the help he rendered - including informing me of my right to report and how i should report it to the polis.
Johann at the Polis Station. I removed the front wheel to minimise the chances of it going "missing".
IPD Putrajaya - Traffic Division
About an hour waiting outside for wifey with Doc Pui San, a Medical Officer (aka doctor) came out to inform us about Wifey's condition.
"Fracture kat tulang belakang (fracture at backbone). We are not sure stable or not stable", he told me and Pui San.
I felt the world crumbled around me. Time stood still.
"Kita dah inform specialist untuk tengok", He said before leaving.
That was the longest 2hours in my life before I was allowed to see wifey.
I was shown the x-ray by the Ortho specialist of which she could not confirm (due to resolution of the x-ray) if the fracture was fresh or old. She was in the opinion that wifey should be warded for observation with CT Scan done soon.
"But our CT Scan is not working sir", She said.
Knowing that myself and wifey has hospitalisation insurance, we decided to discharge at own risk and plan to bring her directly to Damansara Specialist.
Face bruised but still in high spirit
Taking extra care to drive carefully and having wifey sitting in a reclined position, we arrived at DSH and was placed in the A&E. The MO came and arranged for CT Scan after finding out that was the next course of action. CT Scan was performed within the next 30minutes and the Ortho specialist came in within 45mins of admission. The doctor confirmed that there was a fracture at T12 Thoraic backbone. The fracture happened at the front portion of the bone where it is thicker and though fragmented into three parts, missed the spinal cord. 
Which was a relief.
OK. Can smile again.
Wifey were ordered at least 24hours in-ward observation to ensure that the lower limbs do not feel numb, pins and needles etc which could indicate a pinched nerve or injury to the spinal cord. Doc Azman, which were supposed to meet up with us that afternoon for home cooked dinner came to visit us in the Hospital. Wifey's painkiller started to wear off and she was given another jab. Her lower back was bruised and there were a lot of pain radiating from the waist area. 
The more serious injuries
October 8 was our wedding anniversary and it was spent in the hospital. I am just glad that there wasn't anything more serious than :
1. Fractured T12 that misses the spinal cord
2. Concussion
3. fractured cheek bone with burst capillaries around the eyes and cheek.
4. multiple bruises on arms, legs, ankles which will be a pain when taking bath.
5. road rash on right shoulder that will be a pain when wearing bra.
6. Bruises above the lips consistent with kissing the tarmac.
7. Bruised lower back and bum, which makes it difficult to lie down flat and even walk.

Other wise, everything is superfine.
Happy Anniversary Darling!
Wifey was discharged the day after and we went to the IPD in Putrajaya. Walking was a pain and she can manage small steps - reminds me of the time she just gave birth. The painkiller given by the doctors were the only defence between pain and comfort. After the report was done, we were allowed to collect the bicycle and the girl that hit wifey too, could collect her motorcycle. We found out that the girl is an undergrad in a nearby local uni and just gotten her license about a week before the incident. She was apologetic and personally called wifey up to convey her regrets.
Material damages were mostly on the bicycle. These are replaceable unlike a lost life. We will try to claim for the repair/replacement from the Girl's insurance - which in our opinion is appropriate. 
Minor but not taking chances on the integrity.
broken rim and brakes.
possibly broken RD as it hyper extend in a way i never seen any RD did

The helmet that wifey wore that day was new. It actually saved her head from more possible head injuries. I inspected the cracked helmet and found that it broke into no less than five pieces (i initially thought it was three). The right side, which her head apparently landed first, were compressed by at least half an inch at certain part, deforming the helmet. There was indention marks on the helmet caused by the strap.
Broken into a few pieces and you can see the indention clearly. Noticed the compression on the thickness of the helmet on the side of the helmet.
The left side of the helmet with original thickness of 1-inch
the right side, compressed
The left side thickness in comparison to a key
The left side, which were compressed visibly.
The above shows why cyclists should wear helmet. In a very lucky accident like these (as in NO fatality), the helmet saved wifey from further serious injury to the head. Even with the helmet on, wifey is still feeling sore due to this knock. 
There is a few things that we learnt from this incident:
1. The incident where my MIL did not wake up and delayed the cycling outing were likely fated and a subtle way to get us to consider cancelling it. We are rarely late for anything if appointments already made.
2. Bring your IC or a photostated IC or any sort of documentation to prove your identity. Wifey forgot to bring hers - for the first time!
3. If you have no hospitalisation coverage - consider to get one. 
4. No helmet, no ride! This is no excuse. We saw a group of cyclists without helmet cycling around Putrajaya!
5. Always make sure your handphone is charged. Mine ran dangerously low that morning.
6. Never cycle alone. We were glad we did not!
It has been a week since. Wifey is slowly recovering and it will be another long 7 weeks before wifey will be so-called recovered. At the moment, the bruises at the back, the dizziness due to the concussion and the vanity of the cheekbone takes priority to heal.
And we can only hope the fractured T12 will also mend itself by then. Don't wait up too long, wifey will be back soon - and chasing after you.


  1. OMG! TQ for the write up. I hope all those who train on the public roads - runners or cyclist take heed of your advice here!

    1. Many times, it only takes a head to think. But sadly, many don't especially riding alone and without helmet. :(

  2. Sorry to hear what happened to you. Speedy recovery aileen har!! you are one strong woman! The smile tells it all.

    Stupe, you are the man! for being so calm and and wise during the incident.. be safe guys!


    1. I think i was too calm. But being flustered and kelam kabut won't help either. :)

      THanks for the wishes, Aileen is reading this :)

  3. my gosh .. . i can almost feel the pain reading thru the posting accounting every details of what happened on the fateful day. i saw one similar accident (but more severe) when i was doing the RJM 2011 in Ulu Langat, another famous cycling route and always feel that cycling is a dangerous sport cos our local motorists has no empathy towards cyclist and road runners.

    Aileen is one strong lady and am sure this will not deterred her to keep running and cycling soon. wishing her a speedier recovery and take extra care when you both get on that bicycle again.

    1. Jue - Malaysian motorists need a lot of training to be competent on the road. Too many selfish road users and if everyone can just learn to look out for other road users, we will have less death...and requirement for AES ;-)

  4. i am glad in the end all went well. its scary and it was truly bad. she is well on her way to recovery i know :) take care,

  5. Wishing Aileen a speedy recovery! This story is indeed a reminder for us to be careful when pursuing the sport that we love especially when we take it to the streets. Safety and precaution are not to be compromised.

    Could it have been avoided, Stupe? I mean, apart from not going to Putrajaya at all, etc.

    1. I am not sure if it could be avoided. Touch wood i have been very lucky. Partly due to my defensive running/cycling and not afraid to shout/scream out at people that come too close.

  6. Speedy recovery to your wife.

  7. this really shocked me!
    how the hell in the bright sun she can give that silly "Tak nampak" reason.. duhhhhh

    i hope Aileen will recover very soon...
    it's tough for u to get through all these, i know u are strong in heart, stupe.. give her the support all you can, she will recover well...

    God bless both of you.

    1. Fyrul - beats me. Until the day the girl learn to ride carefully and not be distracted by her handphone or things like that...i only hope she don't go kill herself or kill others in the process.

      thanks for the wishes and prayers. She is recovering well. :)

  8. feel bad about this stupe.. i pray to god she will recover soon..god bless u both..

  9. It is a positive and good thing that Wifey is able to talk and smile. Very good.

    I am a cyclist. If you need any help to make a claim for compensation for all the injuries and all the damaged equipment, I may be able to help. Only a cyclist will know about your equipments. I am also a lawyer.

    1. Vincent - many thanks. Currently, we are getting a family friend to check on this. As with all civil claims, it will take time. We will be going to the doctor again for a follow up and until the end of the treatment, we will then fully pursue it.

    2. There are two insurance to claim from:-
      1. Your wife's own insurance which you may have bought for her
      or she may have bought for herself.

      2. Then, you can go on and sue the insurance for the motorcycle the girl
      was riding.

      Based on what I have seen from the photos and with your feedback , my rough estimate of your wife's claim against the other motorcycle's insurance
      is about RM45,000.00.

      Do contact me to find out more:- vincentchoo7@yahoo.com

    3. That is a lot of money there Vincent!

      Will wait for the check up and getting the medical report before next step.

      thank you sir!

  10. Hope for Aileen fast recovery. Lucky, there were good people around to help. God bless them.

    1. Kam - yes! That is why i always believe in helping others, as we never know when we ourselves need the help. We did not managed to thank everyone, but we made it known to the IPD Putrajaya to thanks the P11 polis that passed by. The Putrajaya MOs when we discharge and the DPP that helped us. I am keeping in touch with Amir.

  11. Super speedy recovery for your badly bruised wifey, the Iron Lady... She's a fighter... Let's count our blessings then Stupe... C ya then on PNM..

    1. Eezard - onwards to PNM! Thanks for the wishes!

  12. Ahmitohfor! Consider small step to jump over big step. Still a painful price to pay but at least recoverable. Remember to eat the correct food to recover fully. Blessings to Aileen.

    1. Siew - thanks. Yes, a big blessing and a "cleansing" we hope. She is eating well, no choice since she married me. ;-)

  13. Hi TriStupe, I am sorry to hear about Aileen. I hope she is recovering well. Regarding the motorcyclist who mentioned "Tak Nampak", maybe she experienced Motion Induced Blindness. I hope malaysia will soon have bike / cyclist / runner lanes.

    1. Yes. Motion Induced Blindness. I was given the link by a colleague on this when he heard what happened.

      I hope Malaysian motorists will learn to be more corteous. Bike/cycling/running lanes is good, but nothing gonna stop idiots that will ram into the lanes! That was what happened in Singapore!

  14. it's been over a week, and I am still lost for words over the incident... love you guys...

  15. Glad she's okay. Speedy recovery to your wife.

  16. I pray for speedy recovery for your wife. Thank god, it could've been worst. This incident makes me more alert when I'm running on the road

    1. Bud - always run against traffic. That way, we can jump away should we need to...however...careful not to jump over the highway railing...especially the elevated ones ;-) I ran Pencala Link last Saturday...hahaha..i had that thought!

  17. I was totally unaware of the circumstances of the nasty accident. Now I know! Can't still fathom how the motorcyclist unable to "see" Aileen at 0920 hrs on a bright morning!!!! Glad to see that she's recovering fine! In my case, I hit the kerb coming downhill resulting in my being thrown off the bike, but, thank God, landing on my left knee on the earth-GROUND, not tarred road! Hematoma of the knee! Still, took me a good 3-MONTHS before up the saddle again! My best wishes to Aileen! Truly sorry that you had to celebrate Wedding Anniv in Hospital!There must be some subtle message somewhere in this sorry episode, Stupe! Take care!

    1. Thanks CA. Yes, that fall you got was bad. But on the plus side, got pretty nurse to serve you capati in the hospital. ;-)

      We are both glad that we still celebrating the wedding anniversary ;-)Aileen is reading this. Many thanks for the wishes and catch you soon.

  18. Wish her super speedy and full recovery..stay indoor/safe as much as possible during the recovery period,
    accident happens, myself also recovering fr fracture n rotator cuff tear..slowly.. :/

    1. Get well to you too Jin! Many thanks for the wishes.

  19. road cycling is so dangerous that why i prefer going off road; might be dangerous and technical but there is no uncontrollable factors like getting hit from behind.
    get well soon.

    1. Johan - yes, you are right. LIke you say, MTB has less uncontrollable factors other than a dumbass fler with zilch technical skills charging down at you ;-)

      Perhaps it's time for me to take the MTB out again.