Alpha Kabeja before his accident
Published: 19 July, 2012
by TOM FOOT
A CYCLIST who was left in a coma after being knocked off his bike on New Year’s Day wants to stand for election on a road safety ticket when he gets out of hospital.
Alpha Kabeja was found lying unconscious beside his crumpled bike in Camden Street, Camden Town, by a passer-by.
His family told the New Journal at the time they had no idea what had happened to him.
But after waking from his coma he revealed he had been in a collision with a van that drove away leaving him in the road as he fell unconscious.
The police said they were not investigating at the time and the driver was never found.
Mr Kabeja said his accident has inspired him to launch his own campaign.
The 29-year-old, from Somers Town, has spent seven months in rehabilitation since the crash which came just three months after the death of fashion student Deep Lee in King’s Cross.
Speaking to the New Journal from his hospital bed, Mr Kabeja said roads were not yet safe for cyclists.
“I have to thank my stars that I am lucky, when you think about what happened to that poor girl in King’s Cross.
"I am still here,” he said. “I was passionate about cycling before, but I wouldn’t want to ride again.
"I would be too cautious. It never felt safe to begin with. I never felt safe before riding. Drivers have to be more aware.
"The driver could have looked into the side-mirrors, and looked around to see if anything is coming. As I was coming down on my bike the van came out suddenly.
"I was forced to hit the brakes and went over on to the pavement and hit the curb. I remember looking up and I saw the van back-up, and then drive away again. Then I was unconscious.”
Mr Kabeja said cycling lanes were “barely seen at the moment” and new ones should be separated from the road.
He added: “This has made me more ambitious and I would like to stand for election in Camden, as an independent, to campaign for cycle safety.”
Mr Kabeja, a former pupil of Quintin Kynaston School who went on to get a degree in biological anthropology from Birkbeck College, managed a band that played with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds in the Roundhouse last year.
He said: “It’s been a long road. In June, they had to put a plate in my head and they took a piece of my skull out to release pressure.
"That haemorrhaged and caused me to have a fit.
"My left side is weaker and I am trying to get my legs stronger.
"At the beginning it was hard physically, but now it is more of a mental strain.
“Every step I take there is like a burning sensation in my head, there is hesitation, it is like my head’s on fire.”
A talented musician, Mr Kabeja said “one of my goals” was to one day be able to play his beloved guitar again.
At the time of the accident, his family were told he could be severely brain-damaged.
But, despite his left side being weak and having slightly slurred speech, he is making good progress and is even working on an autobiography for the disability charity, InterAct.
Mr Kabeja added: “My memory is coming back, because I am constantly working on the book. These are the early stages, but I’m hoping it will inspire other patients.”