A Cowfold man and former cycling athlete who was partially paralysed when he was involved in a collision with a car has joined a petition to stop dangerous driving.
David Galle, 68, of Thornden, was an avid cyclist for most of his life. He cycled, on average, 4500 miles every year and completed a four day 775 mile cycle in France when he was 61.
But one Sunday afternoon in November of 2009 he was cycling north on Duke’s Hill, travelling from Thakeham to Coolham, when he was in a collision with a car. He said: “He hit me sideways. I must have gone up over the bonnet and ended up lying on the road.
“Naturally when you’ve fallen down you get up and I went to do that and found I couldn’t move a thing,” he added. “I had ruptured my spinal cord so I was lying on the road paralysed.
“When the ambulance men picked up my arms and legs there was no connection to my body. I couldn’t feel anything. It felt like they were picking someone else’s arms up - it was really very frightening.”
Mr Galle spent four months in a spinal clinic in Stanmore and he was in a neck brace for six weeks. Some feeling returned in his arms and legs after the brace was taken off and he learnt to walk again after three months of physio.
However the loss of feeling has left him unable to walk far so he has to use a wheelchair.
A carer comes to his house four times a day to make him food as he has very limited use of his hands.
Mr Galle’s wife was diagnosed with MS two years after they were married and he cared for her for 30 years until she passed away in August of 2009, just three months before his accident.
Mr Galle said: “After 30 years of looking after my wife, this driver has put me in the same position my wife was in.”
Mr Galle said the driver of the car was given a fine and points on his licence but he was not disqualified from driving.
Mr Galle has signed CTC’s (Cyclists Touring Club) Road Justice Campaign petition which has called for better road policing to reduce the number of cyclist deaths on the roads.
It also calls for stricter treatment of drivers involved in collisions with cyclists.
The petition, which had 12,000 signatures, was handed to the National Cycling Lead at the Association of Chief Police Officers on Wednesday (February 12).
Mr Galle added: “Cyclists are being culled. Bicycles were on the roads before cars so we’ve got as much right to be on the road as any body else.”