Despite his grim tattoo, inset, accident victim Trevor Robinson maintains a positive attitude towards life. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
THE simplest of driver errors, a mistaken split-second forward lurch into oncoming traffic, ended Trevor Robinson's life as he knew it.
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Trevor Robinson's tattoo. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
He was riding his motorcycle home from work in 2008 when, just 500 metres from his house, a car driver didn't see him and pulled out onto Hindmarsh Drive.
Trevor remembers the next moments clearly. He remembers colliding with the car, fighting to stay conscious, and not-so-politely telling bystanders to leave his helmet on his battered head.
He was rushed to hospital with life threatening injuries and a broken spine.
The next 11 months were a blur of life support, hospital beds, specialist spinal rehabilitation programs, and the almost unbearable task of coming to grips with his paraplegia.
''They spent a lot of time poking my toes with needles and asking 'Can you feel that'?'' he said.
''I used to try and guess 'Oh yeah that's the second big toe on the left foot', whereas they were probably doing the little toe on the right foot.
''No one actually said it, but I think at some stage I came to the realisation that I couldn't feel.''
The loss of his legs forced the aircraft engineer to abandon his job as an airworthiness inspector with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
As he struggled with his new life, he went into a spiral of depression and endured recurring pain he describes as ''sheets of lightning'' running down his legs.
Now, despite a tattoo that reads 'Do not resuscitate', Trevor maintains a grim determination not to let his injuries destroy his life.
He returned to work at CASA, and has become a vocal advocate and lobbyist for the rights of people living with disabilities working with various groups, including the Disability Advisory Council.
''You tend to get worried about where your place is in society,'' he said.
''You're vulnerable, you're at the bottom, there's not a lot of people in wheelchairs that are working, you're constantly having to fight for wheelchairs or parking spaces, or bloody toilets or whatever else.''