Cyclist has been to hell and back

THE morning started like any other. Bundaberg teacher Diane Carr awoke at 4.30am and saddled up her racer for a daily training ride to Elliott Heads.

The fitness-mad Branyan Drive resident can remember peddling away from the CBD along Princess Street but the rest of her day, and the next two months was wiped from her memory.

“It’s as if it never happened,” she said.

“I had friends and relatives drop everything and come and visit me in hospital but I can’t remember any of it.”

The accident survivor has told her story for the first time in support of A Metre Matters, Bundaberg – a new awareness campaign set up by local cycling clubs to encourage motorists to keep a one-metre buffer between cyclists and encourage harmony on the region’s roads.

On December 3, 2008, at 5am Carr was struck from behind in a 60kmh zone by an intoxicated driver in a stolen vehicle and sent flying head-first into the bitumen.

The impact crushed her helmet to pieces leaving her with severe head injuries, a snapped vertebrae and broken ribs.

Carr had to teach herself to walk again after the accident and her transition back into the saddle of her racer has been a long and painful one.

She first braved the streets of Bundaberg last April and can now manage to ride distances of up to 50km.

“It’s not the same, it’s never going to be the same as it was, but it’s something I enjoy and it’s something I’m willing to fight to be able to do,” she said.

The former Alloway State School principal has had to leave behind her career because of ongoing physical concerns and short-term memory problems.

“It hasn’t been easy to deal with,” she said. “It’s been a long and hard road to recovery.”

Carr said her story should serve as a warning to all motorists about the consequences of dangerous and aggressive driving on the region’s roads.

“There is no place for this sort of aggressive and stupid behaviour,” she said.

A Metre Matters, Bundaberg representatives have liaised with local MP Jack Dempsey, Bundaberg Regional Council, Bundaberg Police, Queensland Department of Transport and schools to launch an awareness campaign.

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