Cyclist hit by taxi in ‘hit and run’ backs road safety week

Date published: 21 November 2018

A cyclist who suffered multiple injuries, including a head injury, when she was hit by a taxi in Sheffield is backing this year’s Road Safety Week campaign for motorists to get ‘Bike Smart’.

Rachael Clegg, originally from Rochdale, was cycling home from her job at The Star newspaper when she was struck from behind by a taxi which failed to stop.

The collision took Rachael over the front of her handlebars and she was left with a series of injuries including a head injury, fractures to her jaw, cheekbones and left wrist. She required significant treatment following the incident - including cheekbone reconstruction and the repositioning of her jaw - and needed a total of five months off work as she attempted to recover.

Rachael, now 38, was cycling home when the collision happened on 27 September 2013.

The incident happened just a week after she had written a feature for The Star aimed at encouraging more people to get on their bikes around the city.

She said: “I had been into work briefly to file some copy and was on my way home when the incident occurred. I felt a jolt behind me and quickly realised what was happening. However, there was no way I could stop myself from coming off the bike. As I was propelled forwards over the handlebars I fell face first into the pavement, landing on my head and face.

“Initially it felt as if my teeth had been knocked out in the fall. Then I realised that my jaw was disconnected. A passer-by rushed over and I recall apologising because there was so much blood.”

Rachael was initially treated at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield before then being transferred to Royal Hallamshire Hospital. Upon discharge she went to stay with her parents in Rochdale, as she required support with a number of tasks.

Rachael eventually moved back to Sheffield but felt she had to give up her job as she the demands of it were too much as she tried to overcome her injuries. She is now an art director and designs calendars.

She recalled: “I was in a complete state following the crash, as my jaw was wired and I needed help with everything from washing to dressing. My parents even had to liquidise food so that I could eat.

“There was a clear lasting physical impact, but one thing I really struggled with was the psychological effects of what happened. Following the crash I was very tearful, struggled with concentration and also became forgetful. All of this also led to an impact on my mood too.

“It was just an incredibly difficult time and it highlights just why road users need to do what they can to keep cyclists safe on the roads. People travelling on two wheels can be very vulnerable and everyone has a duty to put safety first.”

Road Safety Week runs from 19-25 November. This year’s ‘Bike Smart’ theme aims to reduce the number of cyclists and motorcyclists killed or injured on the roads.

In 2016 a total of 19,297 motorcyclists and 18,477 cyclists were either killed or injured, according to the most recent figures from the Department for Transport.

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