Motorcyclist’s whole life changed in split second

ALLAN Shaw is just one face in Queensland's invisible road toll.

A motorcycle accident left him paraplegic 38 years ago.

"It does affect you a great deal," Mr Shaw told The Courier-Mail.

"For starters, you lose anything from a back break, you lose that down.

"The only thing you don't lose is kidney function, it seems to work.

"As for feet, legs, that sort of thing: Nothing."

Allan Shaw became a paraplegic. Picture: AAP/Steve Pohlner
Allan Shaw became a paraplegic. Picture: AAP/Steve Pohlner

In a split second his life changed when he fell from a motorcycle at New Farm Park.

"I broke my back, T4-T5," he said.

"I was going around the corner, I got a front wheel wobble and I looked down, hit the gutter, there was one surveyor's peg in the area and that's what got me back.

"I knew straight away."

Mr Shaw said he couldn't dwell on his accident and learnt to adapt and "get over it".

He built a home with everything to his height, including the kitchen sink and a large access shower.

"That's the way it is. Nobody is going to be there for you to lift you into the chair all day," Mr Shaw said.

"You've got to do it all yourself.

"In and out of the car, on the bed, on the shower chair, off the shower chair, back into bed, get dressed, back up.

"It takes three times as long. It's something you've got to be aware of.

"There are a lot of invisible things," Mr Shaw said.

"People don't realise it, they just think I'm alright. Nothing will happen. But it does.

"And it's always to the person who is not expecting it."

He said because he had no stomach or leg muscles he relied on upper body strength but because of continuous use it weakened quickly.

To make things worse, Mr Shaw had a car accident a few weeks ago and shattered his ankles.

He is now undergoing rehabilitation.

He said drivers needed to be aware they weren't covered for other vehicle damage if they had compulsory third party insurance, as he did not know.