The older I get, the faster I was. There are old bikers and there are bold bikers, but there are no old, bold bikers.– Evel Knievel, American stunt performer and entertainer
Alice was driving out of the lane to her house with three children when a drunk teenaged motorcyclist rammed into her vehicle on a dark night in 2018.
It ruffled up the three girls but not the seasoned single mother who made a report at the nearest police station.
Alice thought that all she needed to do was to pay the compulsory fine of RM300 and then she could have settled the case.
But since it was a Sunday and office was closed, she was told to come back on some other day – after all she had made a police report and this was good enough.
She thought it was a clear case where the youth who crashed into her car was wrong because he was apparently inebriated and riding at top speed without his lights on.
In carrying out her daily routine tasks of cooking, preparing breakfast and sending the children to school, Alice failed to report to the police station.
A year passed when Alice finally received a phone call and was told that as a result of the accident, she had to be in court to face charges of negligence.
When she checked with the police she found that the teenager who also did not have a motorcycle licence, had been let off the hook and fined REM300.
Alice who is her mid-50s, could not afford a lawyer. She was fined a hefty RM10,000 for her “offence”
To cut a long story short, her fine was eventually reduced to RM4,000 after she appealed that it hard to make ends meet as she did not have a permanent job.
The teenager who suffered a broken leg and a tongue-lashing from his parents, got away scot-free.
Road accidents occur every day and it is usually the motorcyclist who ends up getting badly injured or at worst, dead.
But in this case, it was the irresponsible rider who escaped the long arm of the law and the woman driver who had to suffer the consequences.
I know what it’s like being involved in an accident. I recall two very serious incidents – one 50 years ago in front of the Malacca Museum when I crashed head-on with a Morris Minor and another with a four-wheel-drive vehicle in 2009 in Kuching.
I’ve checked with my motorcyclist friends and almost all of them have had an accident; having skidded, fallen or crashed into a lamp post or tree at some time or other.
In fact motorcycle riding is one of the most hazardous modes of transport no matter how experienced or how smart you think you are.
For one thing, I know that the driving standards of motorists in Sarawak have fallen very badly over the last 20 years.
For example, many of the young drivers are impatient; if they reach a road junction they would not stop at an opportunity to shoot through.
Needless to say, some never use the signal lights and if they do, some put on the left signal but then turn right!
If car and motorcycle met at any road junction, the driver would always assume that the smaller machine had to give way – because car is bigger!
I have had at least six other “minor” accidents in Kuching last year – mostly while riding leisurely around Tabuan Jaya and stopping along the way to catch up with old friends.
One accident just behind the Petronas Fuel Kiosk.
I was riding my 110cc Yamaha “Kapchai” very slowly across the road when a car came from out of the blue.
Speeding along the narrow back lane of Tabuan Jaya’s Siang Siang Food Outlet, he hit my motorcycle squarely and I was floored.
I remained there for almost five minutes as a crowd gathered ogling at what they thought could have been a bearded corpse.
In another incident at Jalan Bayor Bukit, a woman driver rammed into my bike which flew 20 feet away from the spot where I was hit.
Despite everything, I will still vouch for the motorcycle because it is the most practical vehicle for the common man.
We know many ordinary folk own a motorcycle which is an all-purpose machine; fast, easy to park or move from one place to another, sometimes used to ferry wife and three children to their destination.
Yes, the risks are great but with the city’s poor transport system what do you expect the poor man to do?
So motorists, please have a heart and stop being road bullies. I am one of the lucky ones – bruised ribs, broken shoulder and shattered humerus bone – but no laughing matter!
And to fellow motorcyclists may you live a long and accident-free life as you ride your iron horse into the sunset.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.