Saturday, September 29, 2012

Safety Considerations #3 : The Accident

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                     AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                  

Just less than a week after writing my piece on Riding Safety (see Safety Considerations #2 - My Thoughts On Riding Safety) I fell victim to my own lapse in alertness.

The Incident

I was on a ride - the Gangnam Style Ride - on 29th September 2012 with a group of bikers. The plan was to ride from Subang USJ to Jenjarom and back. The ride was schedule to end at around 1pm. But as I had another appointment at 12:30pm, I thought I would ride with them till Kota Kemuning and turn back while they continued on.

So I rode with them till the end of Kota Kemuning where it joins up with Kampong Batu 7, there I stopped and said my goodbyes and good luck to them.

After seeing the last of them riding off, I rode back the route we came from, along the KESAS Highway and headed back towards Subang Jaya. Although riding alone, it was nice too, and I took the necessary precautions like ensuring that all my lights (front, rear and helmet) were turned on. I also rode as far left as possible.

Along the way I also took nice photos, including a silohuette of myself - was this a foreboding of something bad to come?

Picture is a reenactment just after it happened, to show how it happened. 
As I approached the ramp leading from KESAS up to The Summit Commercial Complex of Subang Jaya, I saw that the traffic queue was long. I cycled to the left of them up the ramp. But motorcyclists kept on wanting to overtake me. So the first chance I had, seeing a widening splay in the road, I swung left. With my attention on the motorcyclists behind me, I did not notice a manhole cover-grating with its slots parallel to the road.

"Whoomp!" my front wheel went into the slots of the grating and I was sent flying, landing face-flat onto the road. A bit daze, I quickly got up and examined myself. I had abrasions on my face and hands. Pulling my bike up the curb, I washed my wounds and treated myself with my on-board first aid kit.

It was a good thing I was wearing a helmet too. Notice the dent and scratches on the front left of the helmet. Without it, I would probably have more serious injuries.

Surprisingly, my bicycle was still ride-able and I rode the 3km. back to our start point. Packing my bike into the car, I drove off to seek further treatment.

My reflections after this incident :

1. Do not be distracted, a lapse in alertness can cause accidents.
2. Always wear helmets and make sure there are securely tied. Remember NO HELMET NO RIDE!
3. Do not ride alone. Co-riders can and will help look out for danger and point them out.
4. Inform others of dangers along cycling route, eg poor manhole gratings, poor lighting, speeding traffic, etc.
5. Always have a first-aid kit on board.

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  1. Awe that really stinks! I know too many times I have been pushed off the road by motorcyclists. Some of them are just so rude and impatient. Also I don't think that they should have had that cover going parallel with the road. Maybe you should have a talk with a bike accident lawyer, even though you didn't get hurt too bad, you could have. You can prevent someone else from getting hurt on the same road. Just a thought. But glad you had a helmet on, it probably would have been worse.

    1. Thanks Brielle,
      Have done that.
      But more important, first is to make the authorities aware, and I have written to them.
      And I have also started a Google Map where cyclist friends share danger spots.

      Oh... And Happy New Year!

  2. Wow... That's a scary accident! And with all that traffic around, you could have been seriously hurt. Thanks for sharing the lesson.

    It's such an easy thing for the government to do to help promote bicycling: only use bicycle safe grating in the roads.

    In my city there is a serous problem with the macadam falling to pieces right around all the grates, so there are pot holes around all of them.

    We all have to be very careful!

    Glad you are safe.


    1. Thank you, Andrew.
      Most kind on you to take note.
      Yes, we cyclist are sometimes a neglected lot.
      By the way, where are you from?

  3. Pretty scary!!! I saw this posted on Love Cycling Sg today. Do you mind sharing this on Asia Cycling Network on FB? We have a lot of new riders who does not know that these grills can be a danger poser

    1. Hi Amoi.
      Sure, it will be great if you can share on ACN.
      Now my motto is Ride Well & Ride Safe.

  4. Hope you are fine and speedy recover. I don't know why in Malaysia they love to setup death traps like this everywhere. Along JB there are even more. I either ride a MTB or be slow and extra careful if I am not familiar with the route. I witnessed an Angmo on a road bike speeding down a slop near JB SG custom. His bike went into the grills and he flew. He was less fortunate, having fractures and knocked out for a long while. Thanks for post, timely reminder for all.

    1. Thank you for your concern. This happened a few years ago and fortunately no broken bones or anything wore.