14-yr-old Mishap Victim Warns Fellow Quad Enthusiasts

DUBAI - Shaan Vaswani is a top player in the football team in his Jakarta school. But the 14-year-old won’t be there on the team, including his younger brother, heads to Singapore for a soccer tournament in February. The ninth grader will miss all other matches in this season as well.

Reason: he is still bedridden with the injuries he suffered during the winter holidays he spent in the UAE. Things were fine until the beginning of the New Year in Dubai. However, on January 2, Shaan’s vacation trip literally turned topsy-turvy when he went quad biking in a desert camp on the outskirts of Sharjah.

“He was the first among the 14 children in our team to start riding the quad bike. In less than three minutes, he had had an accident,” said Shaan’s father Vaswani Poppy. “He went up a sloppy sand dune... and then he couldn’t control it. He fell and the bike rolled over him.”

A palm-full of flesh came out of Shaan’s right leg while his left leg suffered a femur bone fracture, besides sustaining lots of bruises on his body.

Shaan was rushed to Al Dhaid Hospital which receives several such cases from the nearby desert safari camps. After an emergency surgery for fixing the soft tissues back on his leg, Shaan was shifted to Welcare Hospital in Dubai for another surgery for his broken femur bone.

“It is a disaster that has happened to my son who is a good soccer player in the school team. I am astonished that there are no safety regulations in place here to avoid such incidents,” said Poppy.

The Indian-origin man who runs an export company in Indonesia said the quad bike rental company he had visited did not have any safety standards in place, except for helmets for riders.

“Just the helmet is not enough. They did not offer any guidance to the children. The kids were not told how to control the bike and we didn’t know it is so risky,” Poppy said.

“They made us sign a blank paper when we went there. But, after the accident, they used it as a disclaimer form. And they also gave me a bill with a “no insurance” stamp on it and charged me Dh900 more against the damages on the bike.”

“We could afford to pay the Dh40,000 hospital bill and we also had to pay for business class flight ticket because Shaan cannot be taken in economy class. But, how many people, especially those on holidays here, can pay such a huge sum of money? I hope the authorities here will put more stringent safety rules for quad biking companies and also make insurance cover for riders mandatory,” Poppy added.

Shaan said he did not realise how powerful the bike was until he started riding it. “The tracks are not man-made. There are many rocks and it is a bumpy ride. It’s not meant for children. Quad bikes should be allowed only for those above 18 and those who know driving,” he told Khaleej Times before he flew out of Dubai last week. The rental company refused to comment on the incident.


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