Lucky to be alive after tractor-trailer crash
A motorcyclist cheated death yesterday after his motorbike was crushed by a massive tractor trailer.
Jah-Mar Gomes, 35, had a miracle escape and walked away without a scratch after the
eight-tonne Kenworth truck ploughed over his bike at a set of traffic lights.
Mr Gomes said that he jumped for his life after the truck rear-ended his bike and started to roll right over it.
He said: “I thought ‘there’s nothing I can do besides jump’. It just felt like God was the puppeteer and just pulled me up in the air and put me on my feet.”
Mr Gomes was speaking after the collision at the Paget traffic lights on South Road yesterday morning as he headed into Hamilton.
He said that he had overtaken a truck that had stopped at the lights — and when the light changed to green he realised the truck had hit him and was pushing him into Middle Road.
He added: “He hit me from behind while we were in motion and he pushed me what felt like 60 feet.
“I was yelling to the guy ‘what are you doing, what are you doing?’
“After I jumped off, the bike still moved 15 more feet so I got pushed a good 40 feet before I jumped off.”
Mr Gomes said: “At first I didn’t even think about life or death — I thought about the bike because it’s my girlfriend’s bike.
“But then I felt the heat from the grille and I thought ‘I’ve got to think about my own life’.
“By the time the bike went underneath the truck, it was like a shark opened up its mouth and swallowed the bike.”
A police spokesman said traffic was delayed for about an hour while officers examined the crash scene.
Mr Gomes said that bystanders could not believe the rider could have survived the crash and looked under the truck for a body.
He added: “The police came and asked ‘where’s the rider?’ and they didn’t believe it was me.
“The police said I should have been dead.
“Several people said that they’d have been dead if they were in my position.”
Mr Gomes said: “If there’s one thing this showed me, it’s that God is real.”
Bryan Ramsay, 65, the driver of the truck, feared for the safety of Mr Gomes and any potential passenger when he realised that he had crushed the bike.
He said that he knew something was wrong when he pulled away from the lights and heard a strange sound from underneath the truck.
Mr Ramsay said: “The first thing I thought was ‘what the hell is that noise?’ then I realised something was wrong.”
He explained that the motorcyclist was in his blind spot and he was unaware of the bike until Mr Gomes started to shout.
Mr Ramsay said: “When the light changed I thought ‘there’s nothing in front of me when I pulled up there so I’m assuming there’s nothing in front of me as I take off’.
“I didn’t know there was anything in front of me, but after I saw him from across the street, I just thought ‘I hope he wasn’t towing anybody’.”
He added: “I couldn’t see. The policemen even got into the truck and I stood in front of the truck and he couldn’t see me.
“So if you’re on a bicycle and you stop there, I can’t see you.”
Mr Ramsay, a driver for Island Construction, warned riders and drivers not to get too close to tractor trailers because their size made it difficult to see other traffic.
He added that he was involved in an accident in 1972 when a woman in a car was in collision with his truck and another truck in Somerset.
Mr Ramsay said that he was told by a friend that the woman had died, but later found out she had survived.
He said: “I almost quit driving that day.
“Drivers have to be careful because if I’m hurting somebody, I’m not just hurting them, it’s hurting me too because I’ve got to live with that.”
Mr Ramsay said that drivers and riders should maintain a longer distance in wet weather because braking distance was increased.
He also warned motorcyclists to stay away from the sides of trucks because the lugs on the wheels can cause damage while in motion.
Mr Ramsay said: “Be aware of these vehicles because we can’t see everything.
“We look out for everything but we can’t see everything.”
Police have appealed for witnesses.
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