A cyclist in Cambridge broke his hip after his bike “went from underneath” him when he clipped a kerb on one of the city’s protected cycleways – and was left lying on the ground in the rain for three and a half hours until an ambulance arrived.
The incident happened on a new protected cycleway on Arbury Road on 1 November, reports Cambridge News, with the cyclist, John Whittaker recounting how he had to move out of the bike lane because of a parked van.
Unlike kerbing on many protected cycleways in cities such as London which are several centimetres in height, the ones in Cambridge are almost flush with the main carriageway, sloping towards it at an angle of 45 degrees.
The 67-year-old, who was on his way home from work, crashed as he attempted to ride back into the cycle lane. “I’m convinced that part of the problem is the new kerbing between the cycle paths and the road,” he said.
“With it being wet – and there being the leaves and mud that tends to be on Cambridge roads due to roadworks – as I tried to go up that kerb, I didn’t have a steep enough angle of attack, so my tyres lost traction and that was it. The bike just went from underneath me.
“I know other people who have said it’s a heck of a steep curve and they’ve been worried about it too.
“Some people have said even in the car, you can feel that kerb.”
He continued: “I can understand why it might be there for safety reasons, to give guidance to where the cycle lane is and where it is not.
“But maybe all the materials and debris on the road make it actually quite hazardous.”
After crashing, he tried to ride on, pedalling with one leg, but when he stopped five minutes later and put his other leg to the ground, it gave way and he fell off his bike.
He was told it would take five hours for an ambulance to arrive. While he waited, passers-by including a doctor and a former nurse stayed with him and police officers gave him a space blanket.
After three and a half hours, an ambulance arrived and he was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where he underwent a hip replacement the following day, staying there for a week while he recovered.
Mr Whitaker said: “All those good people stopped and helped me out for hours. I have no idea who they are and I’d just like to say thank you for all the help you gave me.”
A spokesman for the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) commented: “The new Arbury Road scheme is used by hundreds of cyclists every day to get around the city quickly and easily on their bicycle.
“Like many cycle lanes across the country, the cycle lane uses the innovative ‘Cambridge kerb’ to improve safety for cyclists by ensuring motorists get immediate feedback if they stray into the lane.
“We are sorry to hear of the cyclist’s injuries and wish him a speedy recovery.”
The East of England Ambulance Service has apologised to Mr Whittaker for the length of time he had to wait for the ambulance to arrive.
A spokesman said: “We understand that these situations can be stressful for patients and their families and again, we are very sorry.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.