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Jamie turns heads on his custom scooter

Jamie Chapman cruises around town on his custom trych wheels. PHOTO/PATRICK O’SULLIVAN

Ellie Franco
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It may not be a Harley Davidson, but Jamie Chapman’s customised scooter has been life changing.

In 2004, the Masterton man narrowly avoided death when he crashed his motorcycle just outside of Eketahuna.

“I ran into this lady at 106 kilometres on the highway. She was doing 20,” he said.

“And when I discovered she was in front of me, I had five metres, and you can’t pull up at five metres at 106.

“I should have died on the road, but I didn’t.”

Jamie’s injuries were serious, with head trauma causing memory loss, seizures, damage to his eyesight and a lack of mobility requiring months of rehabilitation.

He even doubted his wife, Clare, would stay with him.

“It’s been very hard. You have no idea what a traumatic brain injury entails,” Clare said.

“Even though they are still that same person, they’re not really that same person.”

“When I woke up out of my coma and could make sense, I said to my wife, ‘if you want to go you can go. I’ll be devastated, but you can go’,” Jamie said.

“But she elected to stay, and I thought ‘woo-hoo!’

“It’s been a journey, coping with my inabilities. Because I forget a lot, I’m unstable.

Today, Jamie, 60, lives apart from his family in the Wairarapa Retirement Village where he keeps busy by reading and teaching himself guitar.

“I live in the hospital side so they can watch me keep an eye on me. Because when I had my last seizure, I was out for about, 15 hours, it was probably a bit long.”

Although his beloved Harley Davidson is now history, he turns heads cruising around town on his custom trych wheels.

“Mobility scooters – they make me look older than I am. I wanted this because it looks like a motorcycle.”

While Jamie will never ride a motorbike again, he still finds ways to push the limits on wheels.

“Once I get a bit of speed up, I can pick my feet up and my wife hates it. Yeah, because apparently I’m dangerous!”

View the video – times-age.co.nz/video

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