‘I am lucky to be alive’ – Cyclist reflects on horror crash

PUBLISHED: 06:16 07 June 2019

Duncan being treated at the scene by paramedics. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Duncan being treated at the scene by paramedics. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Avon and Somerset Constabulary

In June last year, Duncan was cycling home to Portishead from Bristol as he did regularly during the summer.

But one evening he was knocked off his bike in a crash. The car driver misjudged the oncoming traffic and to avoid a head-on smash, careered into Duncan.

The impact on him, both physically and mentally, were huge.

He woke up in hospital and could not remember his mobile phone passcode to call his wife.

Duncan, aged 40, said: "I remember the first time my wife saw me, she burst into tears.

"The nurses hadn't fully cleaned me up while I awaited X-rays and scans and at that stage the doctors were unsure as to whether I had sustained head or internal injuries.

"I felt broken and battered, with cuts and grazes across most of my body. I felt like a shell of my former self who left for work that morning.

"We hugged, and all I could think about was seeing my two lovely young boys again. It was this thought that upset me most; I had no idea how serious my injuries were.

"My wife told me later she remembered seeing tear marks through blood stains on the side of my face.

"Doctors told me afterwards I was very lucky to be alive.

"The day I came home from the hospital and first saw my children was very emotional, and I held them tightly."

Duncan's head, ear, arms and legs were all scarred and he was unable to lift his two-month-old child.

The head injury sustained saw him concussed, causing memory and concentration issues too.

Duncan added: "My knee and wrist joints also haven't fully recovered.

"I am a lot more anxious and feel really vulnerable around traffic so have stopped riding on certain busy roads.

"It's a shame as it has limited my cycling, which is something I've been involved with all my life.

"Regardless I feel extremely lucky to still be here for my wife and boys, but feel sick when I think that I could've very easily died as a result of riding my bike home from work."

The driver's licence was revoked and he will need to pass a practical and theory test to regain it in future.

PC Purchase, who was first on the scene, said it could have been much worse.

He said: "Luckily Duncan's injuries weren't as bad as they could've been and I remember showing the doctor a photo of what was left of the bike, he was stunned that Duncan wasn't left with more serious injuries."

Avon and Somerset Constabulary is running a campaign to remind drivers of the need to respect cyclists.

Motorists should leave 1.5m between their vehicle and the cyclist when overtaking, while those on bikes are reminded of the importance of reporting near misses and making themselves visible.

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