Is one leg the cost of wheeling?

Published: April 30, 2012

A motorcyclist performs a wheelie on a highway in Islamabad. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: At age 25, one of Ali’s* childhood passions cost him a leg.

“The moment I learnt that my leg would have to be amputated was more painful than the moment I hit a truck on Murree Road after slipping from my bike while wheeling,” Ali told The Express Tribune.

He was taken to the Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) Department of Orthopedic Surgery, where doctors found he had suffered nerve damage in his leg.

To him it seems like punishment for lying to his parents. “Once, my father questioned about my ‘extracurricular activities’, but I just lied. I was scared they would ground me and my friends would make fun of me,” he said.

His parents consider themselves partly responsible for failing to keep an eye on their oldest son’s activities. “He used to tell us that he was going for tuition when he was going to do all this. We cannot afford to get a prosthetic limb for him, but at the same time, we cannot bear seeing him bedridden,” said Razia* his mother.

According to public hospitals, the number of motorcycle accidents is increasing in the city with each passing day. On average, over 45 motorbike accident cases are brought to Benazir Bhutto Hospital every day, 25 to Holy Family Hospital and 35 to District Headquarter Hospital, up from about 60-80 just a couple of years back.

Dr Junaid Abbasi, medical officer at the BBH Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, said majority of motorbike accident injuries admitted in the department are caused due to wheeling, overloading or speeding. He said a majority of cases are serious injuries and fractures. Head injuries are also very common, and usually lead to death on the spot.

“The hospital has received many young patients who suffered serious injuries while wheeling and we had to amputate their legs,” he said. Prosthetic limbs for many are but a dream, as they cost an upward of Rs100,000.

Chief Traffic Officer Senior Superintendent of Police Ghulam Abbas Tarar said the traffic and district police are making all out efforts to control wheeling.

But they also have to make sure that they do not put these amateur stuntmen at a greater risk of accidents. “We avoid chasing them or putting any barrier in their way with the fear that they will start speeding [and get into an accident] when they see policemen coming after them,” he said.

The hot spots for wheeling and other stunts are Airport Road, Jehlum Road, Ayub Road and Murree Road, though other major roads are also not immune to the menace. Most of the youngsters do wheeling on weekends when the volume of traffic is low on these roads,” he said.

He said that every month they issue over 80,000 fines and register more than 20 FIRs. His advice for parents was to keep a strict eye on all youngsters having bikes without mudguards, while opining that “there should be a separate area for legal wheeling, where they can only get entry after getting a permission certificate from their parents.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2012.

Reader Comments (7)

  • JB
    Apr 30, 2012 - 10:54AM

    Its so sad…’daredevils’ these days do not realise the pain their parents have to go through. I lost a cousin through this and with all due respect to the departed soul, there was no one to blame but himself. He not only lost his life, but his parents lost a son. Youngsters should realise that its not only their future they are putting on the line; but their parents’ futures too!

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  • Arman Yousaf
    Apr 30, 2012 - 11:24AM

    Folks! This adventure is not amendable, pl strongly refrain. I myself seen some wheelers critically accidented.

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  • M Ali Khan
    Apr 30, 2012 - 11:31AM

    this is what boredom, youthful stupidity, and peer pressure from idiotic friends can do to the lives of people.

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  • Apr 30, 2012 - 11:54AM

    I am in Karachi, and I hate it when these kids ride their bikes so dangerously as I am driving. I am worried about them and their safety, and I feel a bit selfish saying this, but I am worried about myself too. Getting involved in an accident in Karachi, even if it isn’t your fault, is a traumatic ordeal.

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  • Apr 30, 2012 - 11:57AM

    Universities and colleges should educate the students and police should take strong action against the one who violate traffic rules

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  • Raw is War.
    Apr 30, 2012 - 1:32PM

    at least HE is alive.

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  • THE
    Apr 30, 2012 - 2:42PM

    @Raw is War.: This is exactly the first thought that came to my mind! Agreed with you 100%. There is no one else to blame but these fools! Whenever I see some guy doing this or other stupid things, I wish he learns a leason. I know its cruel to make a wish like that but its an instantaneous reaction because he is not only putting his life on the line but also endangering the life of others on the roads.

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