David Galle, Coolham, West Sussex, November 2009

David, an experienced cyclist and member of the CTC West Sussex group, was hit by a van driver who failed to see him as he negotiated a staggered crossroads. David’s spinal cord was ruptured as a result of the crash, leaving him immobile and without any sensation in his limbs for 4 weeks. David spent 4 months in a specialist spinal injuries hospital.

David’s life was completely changed by this tragedy; he went from being extremely active to only being able to walk a hundred yards before having to sit down. Due to the limited mobility and sensation in his hands he needs carers four times a day to help him cook, wash and dress. He also needs long-term physiotherapy and has had to make adaptations to his house.

Three weeks after the incident, the police were asked why they still hadn’t contacted David. They explained that they were waiting for him to come out of hospital to interview him. They had made no effort to find out the severity of David’s injuries, had no idea he’d been moved to a different hospital and had no idea that he could have been paralysed for life. Sussex Police refused to send an officer to the spinal injury hospital because it was situated outside the county, so an officer from the Metropolitan Police was sent instead. The driver was charged with careless driving, fined £400 and given a 12-month driving ban.

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