The Way I See It

The way I see it, if I had my way, I would ban motorbikes from our roadways.

After this week, I am more convinced than ever, that with our much increased traffic, motorcyclist are an endangered species.

I pause to say condolences to the family of Stuart David, a youthful and much esteemed Mechanic, who was as amiable as they come and one of the most polite and pleasant individuals that I have ever met, who passed away tragically on Tuesday.

As I prayed for his family who must be undergoing tremendous grief, I asked God why some nice people meet their demise like that and some rank vagabonds continue to exist, to create mischief.

Well I newa!

I guess I will only get the answer when by God’s grace, I make it into heaven but I am settled in my understanding that God knows best and his way is the best way.

Stuart was such a polite and friendly young man. Whenever he greeted me, it was always a quick, ‘Mr. Morton’ and that of course would be followed by that customary wide grin. Hon. Eric Evelyn told me this week, that whenever he called him, he would always be apologetic.

He would commence with ‘Sorry to disturb you…’ and when he ended his statement, he would say ‘and I am really sorry I had to disturb you.. .’

My heart also goes out to Orville KEM Bartlette, the driver of the pickup with which, Stuart collided.

I wonder if all those of us who drive realize that we could have been the ones driving on that road, that tragic afternoon and could have been intimately involved in the accident?

My heart also goes out to the Clarke’s family which includes a dear old lady, well into her nineties.

That family must also be pretty traumatized, with the number of fatal accidents happening in that general vicinity and now people are calling for the removal of their garage, as it is deemed to be blocking the view when persons are driving from the minor Chicken Stone road, onto the main road.

However, former top cop, Joseph Liburd told me about the proper technique to use that road:

When you are coming up that road in Chicken Stone, you pull hard to your left, close to Miller’s wall—almost as if you were heading to Charlestown and you will be able to see in either direction, without actually pushing your ‘nose’ onto the main road.

But back to motorbikes.

I used to ride motor bikes. I think I became probably one of the better riders on the island at one time.

It all started with me buying a moped which was used to get me around as a young Public Health Inspector. I did not have a license then.

I remember that first day, like yesterday, when I proudly pushed the red machine out of the door of TDC at Main Street in Charlestown.

I was pushing the bike towards the Charlestown Police Station-just bought it; did not even know how to ride it yet, when a young man stopped me.

‘Lend me you bike day. I have an urgent message to mek in Low Street.’

Well I newa!

It must have been that I looked like a real idiot, for him to make that kind of request.

He refused to speak to me for months after that!

Then I got accustomed to the thing and then the falls started.

I remember my first significant fall. I had made it a habit to glance up at the clock at the Gingerland Police Station at nights, when I was going home. On this particular night, I glanced up, not realizing that someone had placed a stone in the middle of the road. I don’t even remember if I managed to see the time, as I went tumbling over the handle bar!

I quickly got up before the Police men came out and I zoomed out of there, with all of my cuts and bruises!

In another life, I remember riding to go to a calypso meeting. Chaplet was behind with me and as I took that curb by the cemetery next to RAMS, a car was coming from the direction of Government house and the light blinded me momentarily. I lost control of the bike and both of us went tumbling down.

The stupid thing about it is, that when you fall from one of those things, it is still there waiting for you going ‘ru tu tu tu tu tu tu’ (Interpreted ‘ah want to kill you).

Chaplet asked me: ‘Sandopey you dead?’ He said I responded: ‘No, you?’

We both ended up at the hospital and later went to the meeting in bandages.

Another time, I was using Walter’s big bike (my brother). He had a huge thing.

That’s what make those things so deadly. When you are riding them and the fresh air is hitting your face, you feel as if you are on top of the world and you feel like the ‘king of all you survey.. .’

And so, on this day, I was cruising through Charlestown on Walter’s bike, making a good impression, I would imagine.

Then at the foot of Government Road, I spotted some people. They were looking at me, so this was star time.

I increased the speed and instead of just taking the corner close to the Police Station in the regular way, I had to put the bike into a deep lean.

Little did I know, that there was an oil spill from a Police vehicle right in that corner.

As I leaned, the bike started to slide and would not straighten.

I went tumbling from it. I hit the ground hard.

Now as stunned as I was, when I heard footsteps running towards me, I got up, grabbed the bike and –out a port!

Now the remarkable thing about an adrenaline rush is that ordinarily I could not lift that bike on my own, but on that day, I had Samson like strength and got it righted in quick time.

I headed straight to the Gingerland Health Center to dress my cuts and bruises.

Walter later ended up in Sterling’s windshield on that same bike, sometime after.

It happened a Saturday night and by Sunday morning, my mother received the news that he was dead.

We went to the hospital that Sunday morning to look for a dead man but thank God, he came out of his coma and is still very much alive today.

I am now very much convinced that ‘only boasting people ride motorbike,’ which contradicts totally, my perception of Stuart.

I recall one day riding down Church Ground hill and I had a bag holding in my right hand and controlling the machine with my left.

Someone hailed me and the only thing I could find to do was to release the left hand to wave to the person and then continue a good way down the road, not holding the bike at all!

After a few more falls, I sold the little machine and I have vowed to never go back on one of those things—not even as a passenger!

Even after Stuart’s tragic demise, a guy passed through Hull Ground since that, on a motorbike –all up in the air on one wheel and passed another vehicle, while still airborne!

Hey, he must have felt great about himself but he better stop it!

So, again condolences to Stuart’s family and I empathize with KEM and his family and I pray God that we never have another such accident on Nevis.

That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?

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