PETALING JAYA: Having lost a leg and being left paralysed from the waist down after crashing into a stationary vehicle, Saad Zainuddin hopes that his experience would help young boys steer clear of riding modified bicycles (basikal lajak).
The 28-year-old from Johor Bahru said he began riding at 11 when “basikal lajak” started to grow in popularity. He also helped his parents with the family business in order to raise funds to buy parts to modify his bicycle, Harian Metro reported.
“At first, I only rode my basikal lajak with friends along the village roads near my home. But I soon built the courage to ride along the city’s main roads, including the popular location, Jalan Lingkaran Tengah.
“However, when I was 14, I paid the price for my ‘courage’ on Aug 10, 2008. While riding along Jalan Lingkaran Tengah with three friends, my bike crashed into a vehicle parked along the side of the road,” he was quoted as saying by the Malay daily.
Saad said he now hopes to put the tragedy that left him disabled behind him and move on with life.
He suffered severe injuries to the head from the crash and was left unconscious at the scene, only regaining consciousness when receiving treatment at the hospital.
“Upon further examination, the doctor confirmed I was paralysed from the waist down due to serious spinal injuries,” he said, adding that he was at first unable to accept his fate when the doctor told him he may be paralysed for life.
According to Saad, it just got worse as he lost the will to live after his left leg had to be amputated to prevent further infections.
“I suffered from depression for three years and was scared of leaving the house. But strong support and encouragement from my family and close friends helped restore my morale.
“I want to start life anew despite my paralysis and disability. I’m now helping out behind the counter at the family-run restaurant,” he said, adding that working had renewed his spirit to move on from the tragedy.
According to Harian Metro, Saad intends to focus on the family business, which was started 20 years ago, selling “nasi lemak ayam berempah” and “goreng pisang” along Jalan Yahya Awal in Johor Bahru.
Citing the 2017 incident involving clerk Sam Ke Ting and which claimed the lives of eight teens riding at Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, Johor Bahru, Saad urged youths to steer clear of taking part in “basikal lajak” to avoid endangering themselves and other road users.
“Take my story as an example, forget basikal lajak as the fun is only temporary. In the event of an accident, you will face a lifetime of suffering.”