C25 Arc 10: a lucky escape – and a plea to take care.

The C25’s purpose is to entice the rider out beyond the metropolis into pastures new, and while designing the system I was acutely aware of the importance of noting potential hazards along the way. Last week, out of the blue, I was thrown by a potholed rut between the surface of the approach lane and the main A40 carriageway in Beaconsfield, and left unconscious by the roadside for 20 minutes.

It was a very lucky escape. I have no memory of the accident itself – just the moments before, when I could see the A40 was completely clear, so approached the curving slip road junction quite fast. Fortunately the exact circumstances can be reconstructed, thanks to evidence from Mick and Mary, my Good Samaritans, a revisit to take photos, and data from my GPS watch.

It goes like this. Broad Lane Beaconsfield enters A40 with a wide Y-shaped junction(see satellite image), but my left turn entry arc is yanked further left – the wheels had been trapped in the trench (closeup photo). I over-compensated and am thrown into the main carriageway on my R side. Man picks me and bike up, (guessing: I mutter “I’m fine”), he departs – leaving a possibly seriously brain injured party. This is snap-shot-witnessed by Mick and Mary as they pass by eastbound. For the next 18 minutes I lie by roadside until M and M return westbound (my memory is returning just before they stop) and take me to High Wycombe Hospital. The hour of GPS speed data (Exhibit 3) clearly shows three phases: cycling, my semi- and un-conscious ‘trip’, and van journey. 

In half a century of cycling this is the most serious incident to befall me. I feel very fortunate to escape with minor injuries, for the A and E consultant was clear; my helmet could have saved my life. Now that the scene has been revisited and pictures taken, I will pursue the responsible authorities and make sure carriageway repairs are made.

The first chapter of the accompanying book for the C25 will be dedicated to Safety and Courtesy; I will be revising it to stress the importance of riding unfamiliar roads and tracks with caution, in anticipation of potential hazards.

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