“I WOULD have died instantly without my helmet,” said a cyclist hit by a car last week.
Chris Luff, who lives in Arborfield, sustained life-threatening injuries in the accident which took place last Wednesday.
He said he had been cycling along Barkham Road when he was hit behind by a car, forcing him off the bike and breaking his leg.
Speaking to The Wokingham Paper, the 48-year-old, said that his helmet had been extensively damaged and police at the scene said that he would not have survived the crash if he hadn’t been wearing it.
Now, he wants to spread the word about how important bike helmets are.
The accident took place on the evening of Wednesday, May 4, causing Mr Luff serious injuries.
He said: “There was an enormous impact, I’ve never known anything like it in my life. I was separated from my bike and landed with my foot the wrong way round.
“There was searing pain in every part of my body.
“I knew I was in a bad way.”
The ambulance arrived within 10 minutes and treated Mr Luff’s cracked ankle. He also had broken teeth, heavy bruising and cracked ribs.
He is expected to be in a leg cast for nine weeks, making work very difficult.
“There’s a lot of bolts and screws in there,” he said of his leg cast. “I also have to inject myself every day with Tinzaparin which is to prevent blood clots from the trauma and open wounds.”
Although the cause of the accident is not known, it is thought that the driver of the car was doing around 40mph. She was uninjured but in a state of shock at the scene.
Police on the scene told Mr Luff that it was that it is “virtually impossible” for cyclists to survive in an accident of this nature.
The keen cyclist added that he bears no malice to the driver, adding: “She was mortified and in a bit of a state, but it was an accident and the insurance will sort it out.”
Now Mr Luff is keen to get the message out there that bike helmets save lives.
“For me, it’s second nature to wear as much safety equipment as I can,” he said. “My head was hit very hard – it took a real whack, but it’s OK. I would have died instantly without a helmet.
“I want to make sure that people have the conversation with their children about wearing helmets.
“If a child comes off their bike and bangs their head it could change their personality and affect the whole family.
“If we can get a parent to get their child to wear a helmet, that’s a good thing.”
Mr Luff also wants parents to get into the habit of wearing a cycle helmet themselves.
“I’ve got on a bit of a soapbox about it. What if a Dad doesn’t wear a helmet and has an accident himself? What if the injuries happen to him?”
Local charity Headway Thames Valley works with people who have brain injuries and also want to encourage cyclists to always ride with a helmet.
Jamie Higgins, spokesperson for the charity, said: “Cycling is such a great way to keep fit and also a good mode of transport. At Headway Thames Valley, we promote safe cycling, while supporting calls to make it safer for people of all ages to get on their bikes.
“Brain injury can happen at any moment – all it takes is just one fall and you will regret it for the rest of your life.
“At Headway Thames Valley we often use the statement, ‘Use your head – use a helmet’
“Sustaining a life changing brain injury as the result of a cycling accident is not uncommon. Indeed, several of our clients at Headway Thames Valley have been referred to the charity following such an accident. In some cases, the client has been wearing a helmet and the consequences of their accident could have been much more severe, whilst other clients haven’t been wearing helmets and perhaps wouldn’t have ever needed our support if they were.”
For more on Headway Thames Valley’s work, log on to www.headwaythamesvalley.org.uk or call 01491 411469.