Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and his long-time coach Shane Sutton have been hurt in two road accidents this week – not even a full day apart from each other. On Wednesday, just after 6pm, Wiggins was riding his cycle when a van hit him as it drove out of a garage forecourt. Then on Thursday, around 9am, Sutton was knocked from his cycle while riding on a main road in Manchester. The incidents have led to new calls for protection to be improved for British cyclists.
In the incident involving Wiggins, the driver of the van felt ashamed after realising she hit the cyclist, and she’s expected to talk with police today. A witness says that she heard tyres screech, along with a loud noise. Wiggins was groaning and appeared to be hurting, and he got into another vehicle to keep warm. Catherine, his wife, arrived crying, along with the couple’s children in the back seat of her car. When she tried to give her husband a hug, he told her not to because his ribs were hurt. The witness added that Catherine went over to the van later shouting, and Wiggins followed to try to calm her down.
After being hospitalised for the accident, Wiggins was discharged on Thursday and is expected to okay. Team Sky said in a statement that he suffered minor injuries – bruised ribs and hand. He was only kept at Royal Preston Hospital overnight as a precaution. Now he’s returned home to recuperate, and there won’t be any long-term problems. The team’s Dr Richard Freeman added that Wiggins is expected to fully recover fast.
In the incident involving Sutton, a coach for Team GB, was knocked from his bike. He suffered a head injury that caused a small bleed on his brain. He is recovering at Salford Royal Hospital and is reportedly in stable condition. It’s expected that he will be kept there for more tests and observation for a few days.
Greater Manchester Police say the driver of the car which hit Sutton has been questioned by officers. It’s understood the coach was between the vehicle and footpath when they collided. A witness says they saw him lying in the road, shaking and talking about how afraid he was before the ambulance took him away.
British Cycling confirms that Sutton was wearing his helmet when the collision happened, and it’s likely he will remain in hospital for several days to undergo more tests. A spokesman says it’s very rare that their riders and coaches are hurt while riding on the road. It’s even rarer that two separate incidents would occur so closely together. They wish Wiggins and Sutton speedy recoveries.
Martin Gibbs, the director of British Cycling, believes the government needs to do more to keep incidents like this from happening. These incidents remind people that they have a long way to go and should look to neighbouring countries to see how they have improved cycling safety. He noted that 30% of people make journeys on their cycles, and the Department of Transport needs to stop considering bikes as add-ons.
Edmund King, the president of the AA, says that motorists have to be more vigilant when they emerge from entrances and turn at junctions. It’s even more important that they check and double check for other road users, cyclists and pedestrians at a time when the evenings are getting darker. The ‘two tribe’ mentality needs to be broken down so that all road users can co-exist in harmony.
Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond says the government has put £30 million into improving junctions that are dangerous for cyclists. A spokesman for David Cameron adds that the prime minister supports campaigns for the safety of cyclists.