Greater safety measures needed for cyclists, says woman left paralysed
‘Drivers: check your mirrors and be conscious of other users on the roads’
A cyclist left paralysed from the chest down following a collision with a lorry has called for greater safety measures to protect cyclists.
A collision with a lorry in October 2013, when she was cycling on the Longford-Mullingar road, left Geraldine Lavelle paralysed from the chest down.
“I had a spinal cord fracture. Mine was a fracture of my cervical bone in my neck, C6. It was was a quite high break and the results life-altering – I’m quadriplegic,” said Ms Lavelle.
“I was a keen cyclist, I cycled 25-30km Monday to Friday before work and I was only getting into it when the accident occurred. I had done one 60km race and one 100km race before the accident.”
The 30-year-old, who works at Sligo IT, says she has come a long way since the incident.
“I have come a long way both mentally and physically in the four years since I was in the hospital. I had lost 10kg of weight but it’s only when you come out and start rebuilding your life that you begin to move on.
“I had been living in Longford prior to the accident but moved back to Sligo and I moved into my own apartment. I had been living away from home so I wanted to continue my independence and rebuild my life.”
She said it took her 10 months to get out of hospital and get back to her life. “You have to keep motivated and not give up. It’s obviously difficult to move on in the beginning and sometimes you can get upset thinking back to that day, as it’s such a frightening experience; but you can’t give up.
“For me the message is simple. Drivers: check your mirrors and be conscious of other users on the roads. After a life-changing accident like mine, you literally have to come out like an adult and learn every single thing you learned as a child.”
To learn more about Geraldine’s experience visit her blog: spinalcordinjury.ie/category/blog/