Surviving a fatal bike accident..

After going head-on with a trailer truck

Trust me when I tell you - Biking comes with a huge responsibility & maturity. You may escape hundreds of close calls, but all it takes is that ONE unlucky day and I had mine back in March 2018. It’s taken me forever to recall & “publish” the experience, but here it is..

I’ve been riding since my early teen and now married to someone who shares that love & thrill with me

Next to Atal tunnel, Manali

There are trips which sometime spans more than 2 weeks in a stretch with roughly 13 hours of daily ride time (worst being 19 hours in a day through Saach Pass). I drove my Pulsar 200 for 62000 Kms before eventually switching up to my dream bike, Kawasaki Ninja 650 back in March 2017

Normally I am against street racing, nor am I a fan of reckless driving, but I do enjoy the occasional high-speed drags with a tendency to lose my cool if challenged (or annoyed) for a race

It was exactly 1 year since I joined my office in Chandigarh, India and 3 weeks left for my bike that I had covered nearly 19000 Kms on it. The plan was to go on weekend trips to finish the 1 year anniversary with 20000+ kms but fate had other plans for me..

I was returning home late from the office in my complete ride gear (thankfully as usual) & came across two drunk fellows in a Suzuki Swift driving next to me, honking unnecessarily, making noises & shouting annoyingly for a race, which I ignored maturely until I hit the next traffic light. To avoid further taunts, I cut across the traffic & stood right at front of the line, but unfortunately so did they. They started revving up the engine while we waited for the lights to go green, and THAT is when I lost it & my share of being wrong for that night started

The lights turned green & I angrily pushed all of my bike’s worth into the throttle “how dare he”, destined to embarrass & have them tuck the tail between their legs when it’s done. There was nothing logical in my mind past that, driven by anger and a sense of pride, I clearly remember pacing for around half a km, driving at 170 km/hr when I decided to peek at the “losers” behind who were trailing far behind. I focused back at the front & out of nowhere, a huge trailer roughly 300 meters apart just turned blocking my entire side of the road and a divider to keep me confined in there

It’s taken me months to remember & piece together all the details which followed that night. I recall knowing seconds before that I’m going to crash real bad & my bike doesn’t have ABS, so breaking hard wasn’t really an option

The only one was to brake efficiently & aim for that tight spot in the divider to switch onto the adjacent lane, but that was too far fetched..

..and so it happened!

There was a flash & the next memory I have is a couple of guys asking me to unlock my phone & if I could sit in the back of their car but I was asking about my bike :)

By the time I arrived at the hospital, relatives had already reached (Dad phoned everyone) & I could identify & talk to them. Doctor’s initial reaction was “Disoriented, but seems stable”, but later the results came -

  • 15 fractures, which includes 5 in the spinal cord, entire left rib cage & a broken wrist
  • Internal bleeding in spleen, adrenal gland and chest, enough to operate without approval with a near 0 chance 0f survival
  • Blood supply to my left kidney was cut off, so it was being rendered useless
  • There were questions if I’ll ever walk again
  • On the plus side, my head & neuro scan was all clear ;)
This was all over my body

I was immediately shifted to the ICU & it took 5 days for the doctors to confirm that ill survive (thanks to a lot of background love & support from my family & special mention to masarji (Uncle) who’s a veteran)

This topic deserves its own section since it was among the toughest time for me. Here were my restrictions -

  • I could not simply walk. I was discharged after 2 long weeks & the best I did during therapy was standing still for 10 seconds
  • I needed help to even sit-up on the bed. I had to hold my breath & somebody had to pull me up
  • My diet was really restricted since one of my kidney was lost & the other one was trying to cope up - Lauki/Ghia (Bottle Gourd), Tinda, some curd, max 400 ml toned milk - Basically a renal diet
  • The very restricted diet plan was in turn not letting my fractures & body heal fast, plus I couldn’t have plaster in any of those places
  • I could only lie straight on my back while sleeping, I couldn’t turn in either direction. This is true for the merry daytime as well
  • I had to live overly careful & germ free since I could not afford to fall sick, have fever or even cough once. With my rib cage fracture, coughing was really painful
  • My neck movement was very limited, I could not turn much in either direction & would have to talk looking straight ahead
  • Basically it was painful to almost literally do anything. Even sitting upright on a wheelchair for more than 5 mins would start giving pains in the spinal cord fractures.

Life was f#ck*d but here’s how I managed it -

  • First, and the most important - Keep a positive morale! There’s no point dwelling over the past or mistakes but instead being thankful to survive. It’s important to learn from your mistakes & come out matured
  • Don’t be a fuzzy eater or crying over pains, your body is healing & you need to make amends. Plus, you’re already a huge pain in the butt to your family at this point ;)
  • Do what you love (thankfully I had my PS4), otherwise find one. You need to kill a lot of time & it will be easier with it. There will definitely be days you’ll just want it to end but it WILL pass
  • Look forward to something you’ll do once you’ve healed a little. It motivates you to stretch the extra mile & reach there quick
  • Always wear a DOT standard helmet and proper ride gear. In my case (and will be in mostly all cases), it makes the difference b/w life and death (or at least something permanent)

You need to be ready to push your body & staying patient with the progress. The 1 thing I was daily looking forward to do was a mere 50 –100 meter walk holding Geet’s hand and bearing pain. Falling down would’ve had really bad implications and I was as careful as I could be, but stepped out every single day. I honestly feel this made the difference in my recovery, I was walking longer distance after a week, jogging short distance after a month & apparently drove Geet’s scooter after “stealing” her keys (since she was not letting me)

Btw the reward was making tea for everyone if anyone’s getting ideas ;)

Time is a great healer, be patient! There are good days and there are bad days, you could even be experiencing shitty ones, but they will PASS! (Trust the system!). Keep your head together & work through your problems one at a time, find ways to fix them or seek help from your close ones, anything.. but rest assured that difficult times will pass

I was riding back 4–5 months later (Took more than a year for longer routes though), thanks to ALL of my family members who helped me crawl my way out (literally!)

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Solutions Architect (Cloud Advisory) with Mavenwave Atos

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