Split-second decision to 'throw' bike saves man's life after crash

Split-second decision to 'throw' bike saves man's life after crash
PHOTO: Courtesy of Muhammad Hairin Wahid

As he filtered into the second lane of the expressway, biker Muhammad Hairin Wahid turned his head momentarily to check his blind spot.

Suddenly, he heard a loud crash and he faced forward immediately.

A motorcycle ahead of him had been hit by a car and was swerving to the left of the Kranji Expressway (KJE).

Mr Hairin said he instinctively "buang" and fell on to the tarmac.

"Buang" (Malay for throw) is the act of throwing oneself off a moving bike before it crashes.

The 33-year-old, who said he works in the "safety line", told The New Paper last night: "I knew if I did not let go, it would have been my turn.

"That half-second saved my life. If not, I would have been hit by a lorry."

His motorbike was hit by a lorry after he jumped off.

The accident happened on March 31 last year at around 8.15am, after a car had swerved to avoid hitting another car in front of it.

While Mr Hairin suffered just scrapes on his elbows and knees, the other biker, Mr Jeremy Lim Yew Leong, 34, was thrown off his motorbike and died after he was run over by a prime mover.

On Wednesday, the driver, 34-year-old civil servant Nur Azkiya Ahmad, was jailed for three weeks and banned from driving for five years after pleading guilty to one count of causing a death by performing a negligent act. She is appealing against the sentence.

Recalling the horrific accident, Mr Hairin, who was on his way to work, said his motorbike swerved to the left after he jumped off.

He said the accident caused a seven vehicle pile-up on the expressway.

After getting up from the road, Mr Hairin said he went to check on the other rider.

He did not see Mr Lim get hit by the prime mover, but he noticed that Mr Lim was not moving.

"When I got up and looked ahead, he showed no signs of life. He just lay there motionless," said Mr Hairin.

Several motorists stopped to help direct traffic away from the scene.

Mr Hairin joined them as they waited for the ambulance to arrive.

A group of motorists attempted to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Mr Lim.

Mr Hairin said: "Coincidentally, there were people who were trained. They managed to lie him flat and tried to administer CPR, but there was nothing they could do to save him."

HELP

Eventually, ambulances arrived and took both motorcyclists to the National University Hospital.

Mr Hairin, who has been riding for more than 15 years, said he thought of never riding again.

The father of two said: "I am the only one supporting my family. I thought of not riding again to be safe."

But his wife encouraged him to move on and get back on his bike.

"She told me, 'If your intentions are pure and if you say your prayers, you will be safe.' That encouraged me to ride again," said Mr Hairin.

Although it has been a year since the accident, not a day goes by where he does not feel thankful that he narrowly survived the accident.

He said: "Just a short moment earlier and I could have been in the other rider's position.

"I am relieved that I am still here with my family today."

'HE WAS ALWAYS CAREFUL'

With bags of groceries in hand, Madam Susan Lim answered a telephone call from an unfamiliar number.

It was the call every mother feared: Her son had been involved in a traffic accident, said the caller from a hospital, and that she should come quick.

Madam Lim panicked. She rushed home, dumped the bags on the floor and raced to the National University Hospital (NUH).

There, she saw her son, all bandaged up on a hospital bed. She knew he was gone.

On March 31 last year, her 34-year-old son, Mr Jeremy Lim Yew Leong, was killed in a traffic accident after the motorcycle he was riding was hit by a car on the Kranji Expressway.

He fell and was run over by a prime mover.

It's been a year since that dreaded phone call but Madam Lim, a widow who works as a food promoter, still remembers it vividly.

She told The New Paper on Wednesday: "I was already in my estate, walking home from the FairPrice supermarket at Tampines, when I got the call.

"The first thing I asked them was: 'Is he all right?'

"But all the doctor would tell me was: 'You should come and see for yourself.'"

Madam Lim said that throughout the taxi ride to NUH, she prayed that her son was not too badly injured.

She said: "He was always careful on the road, I did not think it would be so serious."

But she could barely recognise her son when she saw him, motionless and swathed in bandages. He was also hooked up to machines.

"I knew he was gone," she said tearfully.

Her son was not the only family member Madam Lim lost in recent years.

Four years ago, her husband died from complications from high blood pressure, leaving Madam Lim and her son in their five-room flat.

Her other child, a 31-year-old daughter, had moved out after getting married.

Madam Lim said her husband's death had left a void in her life and her son was her only companion.

Although Mr Lim had a busy schedule as a manager at beverage and property conglomerate Fraser and Neave, he would always make sure she was taken care of.

Madam Lim said: "He would help out whenever he could. When I needed help to change a light bulb or get something fixed, he would be there for me."

She added that he would set aside time to have dinner with her, especially on special occasions like Chinese New Year.

RODE

Mr Lim rode his motorcycle a lot and would sometimes borrow a friend's car to drive around.

Madam Lim said her son was always careful on the road. "Whenever he drove me around in a car, he was careful and made me feel safe."

Mr Lim was well liked by his peers.

"During the wake, he had more than 500 people visit him. They all wanted to say their last goodbyes to their dear friend," she said.

Madam Lim said her home is quiet now that her son is gone.

When TNP visited her flat on Wednesday, she showed us around, including Mr Lim's room where most of his belongings were left untouched.

Movie posters he had framed lay on the floor. Beside a neatly-made bed, Madam Lim had placed an A3-size photograph of her son on a table to keep his memory alive.

"He was healthy and took good care of himself," she said.

"My son was supposed to live a long life but it was not meant to be."


This article was first published on April 29, 2016.
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