Keen cyclist David Welch was struck by a car while riding in a bike lane and is now facing months of recovery before he can ride again. Picture: John McCutcheon
Keen cyclist David Welch was struck by a car while riding in a bike lane and is now facing months of recovery before he can ride again. Picture: John McCutcheon

‘I thought I’d die’: Cyclist run down in crash

AS A bull bar flashed behind him and a cycle lane's green bitumen rushed beneath, David Welch feared he was going to die.

In that split second, the 72-year-old's mind turned to a fellow cyclist who had been hit by a car and tragically gone underneath it on Eumundi-Noosa Rd.

Mr Welch was riding in the designated bike lane along Cooroy-Noosa Rd when he was struck by a four-wheel-drive the morning of June 26.

Six weeks later, he told the Daily how he desperately tried turn and grab the bull bar, but instead felt its impact.

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"I was flung to the ground, and landed on my right hip and elbow," Mr Welch said.

Keen cyclist David Welch was struck by a car while riding in a bike lane and is now facing months of recovery before he can ride again. Picture: John McCutcheon
Keen cyclist David Welch was struck by a car while riding in a bike lane and is now facing months of recovery before he can ride again. Picture: John McCutcheon

His pelvis was fractured, his elbow grazed and he remains on crutches, unable to do the simplest tasks like peel a potato, let alone return to work, drive or ride.

Mr Welch returned to the roadside with his mangled carbon fibre bike at his feet ahead of Queensland Road Safety Week, which starts today.

He hoped speaking about his experience might encourage drivers to pay more attention when behind the wheel.

READ: 'The road's not a rubbish tip': Cyclist breaks leg

Mr Welch acknowledged the compassion of the driver whose vehicle had struck him, and appreciated that he rode with him in the ambulance.

"He said he had a lot on his mind and he wasn't concentrating and he didn't see me," Mr Welch said.

"My cycle shirt is bright orange and my bike has a flashing white light and a red light.

"He's driving along, not really thinking what he is doing and it's had very little impact on his car or his life. On the other hand, me who was hit by him, it's had a tremendous impact on my life.

"I can't do anything for three months, and probably a month after … it's affected my cycling, it will be months before I get back to my original fitness."

The morning of the crash, Mr Welch embarked with two others on a 110km ride in preparation for the Noosa Classic.

The undeterred rider now has his eyes on a four-day mountain bike event in New South Wales next year, and once recovered plans to return to his 80/20 split of mountain and road cycling.

"At the moment cycling is my life, it's keeping me active, it gives me an aim, it keeps me fit," he said.

"I enjoy it, I don't think this event is going to put me off riding my bike."

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Mr Welch acknowledged it was easy for both drivers and cyclists to "get into the zone" and lose concentration on a stretch of road.

But he said the safety message was simple.

"It's the same old thing, drivers be aware of cyclists," he said.

"Cyclists are very vulnerable, they are not protected by a metal box, it's easy to lose concentration, just be aware.

"Most cyclists have flashing lights, which you wouldn't have seen five years ago.

"They are trying to keep fit, they are trying to be physical."



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