The father of a 13-year-old boy in the Republic of Ireland says a quick-thinking van driver saved his son’s life after the youngster was pushed off his bike at speed by a car passenger.
Conor McKenna, a member of Emyvale Cycling Club, was knocked unconscious after being shoved from his bike on Monday afternoon while on a training ride in County Monaghan, reports the Irish Mirror.
The newspaper says that after being thrown into a roadside ditch, he bounced back into the middle of the road. A van driver got out of his vehicle and managed to stop an approaching lorry as the teenager lay on the road surface.
Conor’s father, Richard McKenna, told the newspaper: “A young lad from Louth pulled up in a small transit van and stopped the lorry and another car on the road.
“Thank God he did because I can’t imagine what could have happened to Conor if he hadn’t been there.
“There’s absolute no doubt in my mind he wouldn’t be here today if that lad hadn’t stopped the lorry.”
He added that his son’s cycle helmet, which was broken in the incident, had helped save him, saying: “I want to urge all parents to make sure their kids wear helmets when they go out because I think Conor would have been killed even if he was wearing a cheaper version of the helmet.
“Because he is such a keen cyclist he was kitted out in proper cycling gear so I dread to think what could have happened if he wasn’t. His helmet was completely smashed.”
Mr McKenna went on: “Conor has been out cycling since he was 10 and loves it.
"He goes out every day for 20 or 22 miles at a time and we always tell him to make sure he is careful and to obey the law of the road.
“We never dreamt that someone would do something like that to a child.
“It was a mindless, random act of absolute madness, and it could have been absolutely anybody.”
He added: “Would they have done that to a pensioner?”
A neighbour of the family reportedly chased after the vehicle involved in their car but lost it.
A report in the Irish Examiner added some more detail about the incident. The newspaper said that the vehicle had drawn up alongside Conor when a rear-seat passenger lowered the window, grabbed the youngster, then pushed him away.
Police have appealed for help in tracing a maroon Peugeot 306 with a Northern Irish registration that had been spotted in the area at the time, and anyone with information is asked to call the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.