Cyclist still traumatised after truck hit him
Cyclist who was hit by a truck last year wonders why similar accidents are still happening
He shuddered when he read about a cyclist who died after she was hit by a cement truck on Monday.
"The hair on my arms stood," Mr John Liang, 39, told The New Paper.
Madam Lin Shui Yu, 59, was hit while cycling on a pedestrian crossing in Yishun Central. She was cycling with two of her friends.
Why does this keep happening, wondered Mr Liang.
In March last year, he was cycling along Changi Coastal Road when a tipper truck hit him from behind.
Mr Liang was flung "several metres" and landed on the grass verge, head first.
"Thank God, I had my helmet tightly strapped to my head. Yet it came off and the inside split in two, like a watermelon," said the cycling enthusiast.
"I suffered 10 broken ribs and a broken collarbone. There was also a blood clot in my brain.
"Can you imagine what would have happened if I wasn't wearing a helmet?"
Mr Liang lost consciousness "for about 30 seconds after the landing" and when he came to, the first thing he saw was the tipper truck lying on its side.
He said: "The condition on the road that day was perfect - the sun was shining, the roads were dry and traffic was not heavy.
"There was no possibility of bad vision or the vehicle skidding. Then this happened.
"Witnesses who ran over to help me told me that after it hit me, the truck swerved and hit two trees before landing on its side."
Mr Liang believes that the truck driver was a foreign national who had been on the job for only a month.
This could not be verified.
"The irony was he managed to escape unscathed," Mr Liang said.
Despite being in excruciating pain, Mr Liang still had his wits about him.
"I was able to give my wife's contact number to the passers-by and ask them to send photos of the accident scene to her," he recalled.
Mr Liang was taken to Changi General Hospital and warded for three days.
"I underwent surgery to have tubes inserted into me to drain the blood, just in case the broken ribs stabbed and punctured my lungs," he said.
"But I didn't go through any operation to repair my ribs or collarbone. They healed on their own. I was also given morphine to manage the pain."
Mr Liang was on medical leave for two months after he was discharged from the hospital and spent the next nine months trying to recover.
He was given painkillers.
"I couldn't sleep well. I would be jolted awake by the pain if I were to turn in my sleep," he said.
"I am still recovering. Every six months, I would have to return to the hospital for my check-up to make sure my collarbone is healing well.
"It hasn't fully healed. I was told there is still 5mm more to grow before it becomes whole again."
The clot in his brain has slowly dissipated.
Mr Liang has yet to get back in the saddle.
"It has been a year and I still feel the apprehension," he said.
"The lack of exercise has piled on the weight. I need to get fit again. I need to conquer my fear and get back to riding soon.
"I hope by telling my story, I'll be able to persuade the authorities to look into the industry which allows foreigners to drive big vehicles before they are familiar with our roads.
"They also have to look into the drivers' long hours and their driving speed."
Mr Liang does not know what became of the driver who hit him.
"Something needs to be done before more people are killed on the roads unnecessarily," he added.
By the numbers
The number of people killed by heavy vehicles hit a 10-year high in 2011, with 83 heavy vehicles and buses involved in fatal accidents.
Heavy vehicles involved in accidents resulting in injury and deaths
Total number of accidents resulting in injury and deaths
Population of buses and goods and other vehicles
Total vehicle population
Source: Singapore Police Force