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Epilepsy and riding

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by I Adore Vic, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Hi all,

    I'm doing my Ls in 2 weeks and have been told I'll need a letter from VicRoads stating I am safe to ride. Reason for the letter is I have Epilepsy.

    The epilepsy is controlled. I had it when I was a teenager (not the 'fit' type of epilepsy) and it was well-controlled by medication. Was on that medication for many years till after the birth of my 3rd daughter 11yrs ago and then doctors were so happy with me having no 'episodes' they took me off the meds for a trial.

    I was fit free - off medication - for 10 yrs, then last May out of the blue I was driving home with the kids in the back and had a fit behind the wheel. A full on fit. My first ever. Foot slammed on accelerator and we ended up in a ditch on side of the road with the wheels spinning under us.

    Car caught fire. People pulled up and got the kids out, and I came to as they were taking me out.



    Can't stress enough how lucky we all were....and that we ended up in teh ditch in only a single vehicle accident.

    Licence automatically cancelled for 12 months. Straight back on the medication I was on as a teen and I haven't had a fit since then.

    VicRoads gave me the okay to drive again this year.

    Now that I'm about to go for my motorbike licence I of course am concerned about the ramifications if this were to happen whilst on the bike....yet I am confident the epilepsy is controlled and I do look after myself (in ways of not getting overtired, stressed, drinking too much, taking meds on time etc)

    I am wondering if anyone else here is an epileptic, and if so, how did they go about getting their bike licence. Was it a relatively simple process? What was involved? Did you require a letter from your GP (I'm assuming I will) which was then sent on to VicRoads medical board for consideration?

    Thanks all.

    Rosie
     
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  2. I think you will need a letter from a specialist, We where involved in a case not long ago , where a woman had a prang and hit her head, she had a seizure two days later, and her license was automatically suspended, Although by the time she got the letter from VR it was almost 12 months later, You will need a letter to state you have not had a seizure in x period
    from a specialist.

    IANAL so take this with a grain of salt ,but you need to ring Vic Roads , and talk to your doctor
     
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  3. the rta can give the instuctions you need. nsw are very strict. i think it has to be more than 1 year without a seizure. make sure the rta have the correct information.

    adult onset of epilepsy can happen to any netrider at anytime.

    go see a handfull of drs because 1 dr can only give a bit of info, if u c a few you get a better picture.

    if you're given the impression you have cause for concern don't drive. do you feel that your concerns are based on the accident when you were off medication rather than if u had the seizure at home?

    start by identifying that. trauma can leave a scar of fear that can spiral into irrational beliefs.

    you've got to be certain so get a second and third opinion. cross reference.

    i personally wouldn't trust the rta. they've been labled incompetent quite a bit lately.

    after what happened, i don't think you'll ever feel the same way about driving again. i wont either.
     
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  4. My partner has Epilepsy and although he's had a couple of fits in the last 5 years, his specialist has always been very positive and monitored his brain wave activity etc.

    My partner has never had issues keeping his car licence nor his bike licence.

    We are in Victoria, so the laws could be different? But, I think he's meant to see his specialist every year to confirm he is ok. It's like a 10 minute conversation which he pays a fortune for, but worth it for both peace of mind and validity if Vicroads questions.
     
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  5. I have a Gf that is epileptic. She does not suffer fits as frequently as she used to, but they are severe all the same. She is petrefied that the RTA/ authorities will find out and she will lose her brief.
    Its a tough call from both sides, there is the big picture to consider, other road uses blah blah.
    I am glad its not me, thats all I can say really, cos I'd hate to be in a position that I could not ride/drive because of what "might or might not" happen.
     
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  6. its a tricky one as Caz mentioned.

    I used to do archery with a guy who had epiliepsy....made a lot of people nervous but he just made sure everyone knew and all was ok.... he carried his gear a bit differently so he could be "relieved" of it if needed but other than that... everything normal.

    I bike is a bit different but if it is under control i don't see why there would be a problem?
     
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  7. She is in Victoria not NSW.
     
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  8. Your best bet is to contact Vicroads directly and get it right from the horses mouth so to speak. AFAIK you need a history of one year free from any seizures if you're diagnosed as epileptic. If however like 1 in 20 people you have a one off seizure, some time in your life, you will not lose your licence unless it becomes recurring. A mate had a seizure which specialists put down to exhaustion and dehydration, he has not had one since and has kept both his bike and car licence.
    Just a guess but seeing as you have your car licence back, I can't see any reason why you couldn't get your bike licence. But you'd want to be 100% sure that it won't happen again EVER. Because having a seizure on a motorcycle at speed would almost certainly be fatal.
     
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  9. There is/was a netrider member who has epilepsy who I stay in contact with.

    He started having worse episodes late last year and ended up having his license cancelled and having his hours at work cut, etc.

    I spoke to him again a fortnight ago and he told me he's sold the bike because he is worried he'll have an accident. This was a hard decision for him, especially being only early 20s.

    He doesn't know whether he'll ride again, but belives he has made the right decision for himself, his loved ones and other road users.

    This is something that I think only you are going to be able to answer considering your experience with epilepsy, your personal situation, medication, etc.

    Think carefully. Riding may be something you can do for a short period of time depending on how you feel.
     
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  10. I rang VicRoads this morning. They already have a letter from my specialist (neurologist) stating that I'd been fit free for 12 mths and was okay to drive (a car) again (dated May06).

    As a result of that specialist's recommendation, VicRoads sent me a letter saying I was allowed to drive again.

    The guy at VicRoads said that I can take the VicRoads letter when I sit my Learners and that that would suffice.

    He also asked me if I was scared.

    Yes, I told him...I'm scared. I'd be an idiot not to. I was glad they took my licence away after the car accident....I didn't want to get behind the wheel until I knew I was okay to. I wasn't about to put my kids, myself and other road users at risk...so I took up push bike riding and walking instead....(and lost 10kgs in the process!!) :)


    BUT I am also confident in that I'm doing everything right to avoid a fit...yes there are things one can do to avoid them..as Outbreak Monkey's mate knows...

    I'm taking my medication on time all the time.

    I get plenty of sleep every night.

    I don't get pissed like I used to. ;)

    I'm looking after myself - eating better - drinking more water etc etc.

    I'm confident with the medication I'm on. It worked for me as a teen/young mum and it's worked since I restarted taking it.

    Caz....while I understand your g/f's fears about losing her licence, I don't think she's accepting the reality of the situation - and the reality is - she could end up having a fit behind the wheel and slamming her car into whatever/whomever/wherever. If she's still having fits then she should tell her doctor (yes, he'll notify VicRoads - I think you lose your licence for 3mths if you have a fit? Not that long in a persons life really). BUT the doctor will know and he'll be able to work with her on getting her on meds that are going to help properly control the fits. No offence, but perhaps if she'd been in the backseat of the car with my kids when I started having the fit and we ran off the road and the back wheels caught fire, she'd see things differently. It'll always be a wake up call for me.

    Hence my honesty with myself and docs. If i had a fit tomorrow I'd sacrifice my bloody licence/freedom and let him know. Life's too precious.

    Rosie
     
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  11. I rang VicRoads this morning. They already have a letter from my specialist (neurologist) stating that I'd been fit free for 12 mths and was okay to drive (a car) again (dated May06).

    As a result of that specialist's recommendation, VicRoads sent me a letter saying I was allowed to drive again.

    The guy at VicRoads said that I can take the VicRoads letter when I sit my Learners and that that would suffice.

    He also asked me if I was scared.

    Yes, I told him...I'm scared. I'd be an idiot not to. I was glad they took my licence away after the car accident....I didn't want to get behind the wheel until I knew I was okay to. I wasn't about to put my kids, myself and other road users at risk...so I took up push bike riding and walking instead....(and lost 10kgs in the process!!) :)


    BUT I am also confident in that I'm doing everything right to avoid a fit...yes there are things one can do to avoid them..as Outbreak Monkey's mate knows...

    I'm taking my medication on time all the time.

    I get plenty of sleep every night.

    I don't get pissed like I used to. ;)

    I'm looking after myself - eating better - drinking more water etc etc.

    I'm confident with the medication I'm on. It worked for me as a teen/young mum and it's worked since I restarted taking it.

    Caz....while I understand your g/f's fears about losing her licence, I don't think she's accepting the reality of the situation - and the reality is - she could end up having a fit behind the wheel and slamming her car into whatever/whomever/wherever. If she's still having fits then she should tell her doctor (yes, he'll notify VicRoads - I think you lose your licence for 3mths if you have a fit? Not that long in a persons life really). BUT the doctor will know and he'll be able to work with her on getting her on meds that are going to help properly control the fits. No offence, but perhaps if she'd been in the backseat of the car with my kids when I started having the fit and we ran off the road and the back wheels caught fire, she'd see things differently. It'll always be a wake up call for me.

    Hence my honesty with myself and docs. If i had a fit tomorrow I'd sacrifice my bloody licence/freedom and let him know. Life's too precious.

    Rosie
     
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  12. What's with this site?! :) Have been seeing double a lot lately!

    One other thing I failed to mention - I'm lucky in a way in that I have always had a little 'aura' before an 'episode'....when I was a teen (before I was diagnosed with epilepsy) I used to get deja vu beforehand and I always knew that something was coming up....

    When I was driving home last May I got that deja vu feeling and actually pulled over to the side of the road wiht my foot on the brake. (If only I'd put it in park and the handbrake on) :( I told the kids to 'shut up' and shut my eyes and waited for the deja vu to pass - as it used to do. Next thing I know I'm being dragged from a burning car. Apparently I started to fit - foot slammed on accelerator - car sped forward along road (You could see the skid marks on side of road) and into ditch...foot still on accelerator spinning wheels. One of the girls (11 at the time) tried to hold me from behind (sitting behind me) and one (9 at the time) got out of the car with the intention of walking the 3kms back to town to get some help. Lucky someone came along and helped.

    Going off my previous experiences with Epilepsy, if I happen to be riding along on my bike and I get deja vu I should have time to stop and get off the bike - quickly! I know what to expect (from the previous accident) so I'm better able to react. No stuffing around either...just get off the road and off the bike...even if it means dropping it. I'll have to do some 'pre-defensive' riding ...if you know what I mean....keeping myself in a situation on road that's going to work best for all. And I may have to limit myself with where I ride....perhaps not in city traffic! Or sticking to outside lanes. Will have to put some further thought into this.

    I had similar fears - not so bad as motorbike riding of course! - with sailing - wasn't allowed to go aloft (and when I say aloft I'm not talking a little yacht mast aloft) or out on the Jib Boom for six months after the accident.
     
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  13. Rosie, I totally agree with your comments re my Gf, she is ignoring a huge issue. it has got to the point she won't even talk about it now.
    She has the belief that there will be a "stigma"attatched and she will be labelled.
    I am not even meant to know she is epileptic, but her mother told me a few years back, and then in the next breath said, but we don't discuss it cos it upsets her.
    It's not for me to tell her how to live her life. I am here for her if she needs me, I can't do much more for her than just be there.
     
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