Monday 24 October 2016

Woman left paralysed after hit-and-run calls for better cycling lanes

Martin Grant

Published 16/05/2016 | 07:53

Aline Barros. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Aline Barros. Picture; Gerry Mooney

A WOMAN who was left paralysed after a hit-and-run whilst she was cycling to work is urging the Government to build better cycle lanes.

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Aline Barros was knocked off her bicycle in an accident in July 2008.

The Brazilian suffered life-changing injuries, is paralysed from the legs down and suffers severe pains in her spine.

As a result of the accident, the former Herald AM girl has been left wheelchair bound.

The inspirational woman has now called on the Government to invest in better cycling infrastructure – before somebody else is seriously injured.

“Motorists and cyclists should both respect the road,” Aline (right) told the Herald.

“Drivers should really keep their distance from cyclists.

“But the problems happen when there are no cycle lanes.

“The Government really needs to build more cycle lanes, which are safer for cyclists to use.”

The brave young woman has even vowed that she would cycle again if advancement in medicine allowed her to walk – but wants better infrastructure in place.

Aline was happily studying English in Dublin before she was tragically knocked down near the GPO just a week before she was due to return to Brazil.

Although doctors have always advised she would never walk again, Aline has “real hope” that her day will come.

“I wish to go back to work and I loved the Herald job. It was wonderful.

“I was really happy and I liked to give some happiness to my customers,” she said.

“I think I was blessed, because I believe a lot in God. I always pray. My last word before the truck hit me was ‘thank God’.

“Ok, it is a big damage in my life but I am still alive…I just sit in the chair.

“I have my mind and I have my arms. I am happy with my life. I am never sad and never ask ‘why me?’

“Since the day of the accident I was told that I will never walk again.

“But I believe I will walk again. I am a realistic with my situation, but I will never lose my hope.”

Aline recently travelled to Greece for specialised treatment and walked for the first time in eight years.

A robotic suit allowed the Brazilian to walk, a feeling she describes as “amazing”.

“It was a wonderful feeling. I don’t mind if I will walk with my legs or with a robot…but I will walk,” she vowed.

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