'Lucky to be alive' cyclist backs road safety after life threatening collision

By Claire Dukes - 6 August 2018


A Swindon cyclist, who admits causing a serious road collision which almost killed him, is warning others not to make the same mistake as him.

Wayne Smith, 51, was cycling across Thamesdown Drive at a pedestrian crossing by Elstree Way, around 6.15pm on Monday 23 July, when he collided with a motorcyclist who had been waiting at the traffic lights. 

Wayne admits he jumped the "red man light" on the pedestrian crossing as he was hoping to get across before the traffic moved off -  but unfortunately he miscalculated it resulting in him being knocked off his bike as the motorcycle legitimately pulled away. 

Wayne suffered serious head injuries and was taken to a specialist unit at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.   The motorcyclist, who was also knocked off his bike, received minor injuries.  

The collision was so serious - this main arterial road was closed for several hours.  

Wayne spent more than a week in hospital with a bleed to the brain, fractured cheek bone and bruising to his legs, pelvis and back.  He is now at home slowly convalescing and accepts he won't be back on a bicycle for a while.  

Wayne said:  "I've been cycling all my life - it's my main form of transport and I love it - and it's the first time I've ever done anything like this.  I don't know why I did it - a stupid, split second decision which was the wrong one.  
"I feel so lucky to be alive, this could have been so much worse for me and the guy on the motorbike.   Thank God he's OK - I was really concerned about him.  

"I can't remember anything about the collision immediately before or after;  all I remember is waking up in hospital and the doctors telling me I had a serious head injury."

The other mistake Wayne admits making is not wearing a cycle helmet:  "I've never worn one, thinking I'll be alright, but if I had worn one my injuries wouldn't have been so bad.

"People think it won't happen to them, that they'll be alright not wearing one - but they can save you from serious injury.  I will be buying one before I next get on a bike.  I won't ever go out riding without one from now on." 

Reflecting on the collision on the two week anniversary, Wayne now wants to make sure a similar thing doesn't happen to others. 

"My advice to anyone is never jump the red light at a crossing.  It's not worth it and you could end up like me or even worse.

"If my experience and advice saves at least one person from making the mistake I made then it's worth it.  But I am hoping this will make everyone reading this think twice about jumping a red light and consider wearing a cycle helmet."  

PC Jay Clifton, Wiltshire's Roads Policing Unit - who attended the collision - said:  "Wayne was given a strong warning about this as well as road safety advice.  

"Anyone using a crossing should always wait until the green man is lit and never risk going on a red light.  Also, if you're cycling, always wear something reflective, carry lights at night and wear a helmet;  the difference can be between life and death.   

"The other near fatal mistake Wayne made, jumping a pedestrian crossing light, happens time and time again;  people think they can just make it before the lights change and the traffic starts moving.  Often people get away with it by just missing the traffic - but sometimes they judge it wrongly and the consequences can be serious or even fatal. It's just not worth the risk." 

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