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"It's only a matter of time until somebody is killed": Top Irish cyclocross racer back cycling two weeks after breaking bones in crash caused by trail trap

Seán Nolan broke four ribs and two vertebrae, as well as suffering a partially collapsed lung after riding into a trap on a mountain bike trail in County Louth

An Irish road and cyclocross racer has warned it is "only a matter of time until somebody is killed" by a trap as he returns to cycling just two weeks after breaking bones and suffering a partially collapsed lung after riding into a wire trap strung across a mountain bike trail.

Seán Nolan had returned to Ireland from Belgium, where he is based, to compete in the national cross country championships when he was brought down by the trap at Townley Hall Woods, near Drogheda, which was later found by his father.

> "I could have been paralysed" – Top Irish cyclocross racer sustains broken bones due to trap on mountain bike trail

The 20-year-old, who finished 40th in the men's under-23 race at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayeteville in January and has competed at races such as Paris-Troyes and ZLM Tour for EvoPro Racing on the road this year, landed on a tree stump and sustained two fractured vertebrae and four broken ribs.

Speaking at the time, Nolan said he could have been paralysed, and has in the last couple of days cautiously gone for his first ride since the crash, but warned "it is only a matter of time until somebody is killed".

Speaking to Independent.ie, Nolan said: "It is one of the first times I have been scared — I was not able to breathe and I have never damaged my back before.

"I am surprisingly good. I even stepped up on my bicycle today for the first time since it happened, to ride around the house for just a minute. It was brilliant but it was by no means training. I literally just stepped over the bike to ride up and down the driveway. It is one small milestone.

"Now it is just really nice to be on the mend and to know it is getting better and I am going to be grand. I am super lucky, really lucky I didn't do something worse.

Nolan added the traps are "not as rare as we think" and "it is only a matter of time until somebody is killed by it. I think if enough of these traps are put up, it is only a matter of time."

A Garda spokesperson confirmed the investigation is ongoing.

In a separate incident, walkers at Roddlesworth Reservoir near Blackburn in Lancashire found a tripwire 12 inches off the ground and strung between two trees at a site popular with walkers and cyclists.

"If a biker had hit it they would have been thrown down a drop or hit a load of rocks, seriously hurting themselves," one of the walkers told LancsLive. "We need to make as many people aware, especially bikers and people with dogs, to be aware of what we found.

"Whoever set the trap had gone to great lengths because it was tied to a tree down a drop and the other end went off quite a way into the woods and tied up to another tree.

"We went back today and two bikers came down the hill as I was trying to break the wire. We told them what had happened and one of them managed to snap the wire using a log to twist it.

"They agreed they wouldn't have seen it because the coating on the wire is brown like the ground and fallen leaves... So anyone visiting Roddlesworth Reservoirs, if you do wander off the main path, just be aware that some idiot thought it would be fun to hurt another human or pet."

In September, police in Gloucestershire responded to multiple reports of traps laid for cyclists after tripwires and wood studded with nails were found at Randwick Woods.

Last April, a horrific "medieval" trap using sharpened stakes was found on a mountain biking trail near Newcastle. Northumbria Police confirmed the trap – similar to archer's stakes used to defend longbowmen from French cavalry at Agincourt – has been removed.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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