One moment on a quad bike that changed a man’s life forever

Ajman resident tells of horror crash that left him confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his days and how he has adapted to make the most of life.
Former policeman Abdullah bin Took was paralysed as the result of a quad-biking accident in Umm Al Quwain. Reem Mohammed / The National
Former policeman Abdullah bin Took was paralysed as the result of a quad-biking accident in Umm Al Quwain. Reem Mohammed / The National

AJMAN // Abdullah bin Took will never forget the fateful day 12 years ago when he took his beloved quad bike out to the desert to try some stunts with friends. It changed his life forever.

A keen quad biker since he was seven years old, the former police officer took his safety, and that of other road users, seriously. He always rode sensibly and kept within the speed limits.

“I was accustomed to driving the bike every day and I used to always be cautious in terms of dangerous movements,” said Mr bin Took. “But on the day of the accident, I drove the bike on the two back wheels in the desert in Umm Al Quwain.

“While I was descending from a high hill, there was a deep hole at the bottom I had not seen, and I fell into the hole.”

Mr bin Took, then 22, suffered severe injuries to his chest and his spine, resulting in paralysis.

It was a huge blow when doctors said that he would never walk again but he was determined to live the rest of his life as fully as possible.

“When a doctor at UAQ Hospital told me that I wouldn’t walk again, I didn’t get depressed because of my belief in God and His will,” said the 34-year-old law student at Ajman University.

“Even two years after the accident I kept the bike because I had hoped that I would walk again, but then I sold it.”

The father of three, who got married after his accident, hopes that his story will inspire others to take motoring safety seriously.

“Don’t drive recklessly, because you have parents, friends and family who are waiting for you to come back, and your accident will hurt them more than you,” he said, adding that he would be happy for his children to ride motorbikes and quad bikes, so long as they take the utmost care at all times.

“I advise people not to use bikes that will be dangerous for them and can’t handle, especially two-wheel bikes, because these are very dangerous and lead directly to death, not injuries.

Through hard work, faith and determination, Mr bin Took has rebuilt his life. He has spent more than a decade in a wheelchair but has never allowed himself to feel like a victim or have others treat him differently.

“My kids have never felt that I am different from fathers who can walk because I always try to be with them and to do everything together,” he said. “We travel, hang out, play and go to gym. They also love to help people who are in a wheelchair.”

Mr bin Took underwent intensive physical rehabilitation at a hospital in Germany, where he learnt to dress himself, shower and drive adapted cars, giving him more independence.

Thomas Edelmann, founder of Road Safety UAE, said quad bikers had to be aware of their surroundings at all times regardless of whether they were in the desert or on the road.

Salah Saif Al Shamsi, a cousin of Mr bin Took, said his relative’s accident made him and his friends more careful when riding their bikes, and he warned youngsters against dangerous driving.

“Everyone has been affected by Abdullah’s story and taken precautions. Safety on motorcycles is zero, and when an accident happens nothing will protect the driver,” he said.

The Emirati police officer, 36, said bikers had to take care because they might lose their lives or become a heavy burden on their family and friends.

roueiti@thenational.ae

Published: March 27, 2015 04:00 AM

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