Dorset Police are urgently trying to trace a hit-and-run motorist who failed to stop after hitting a cyclist and throwing him 10 metres through the air, leading to him suffering injuries including two fractured vertebrae.
The Bournemouth Echo reports that the incident that left father-of-three Justin Graham in Poole Hospital for four days happened at around 5.30am last Thursday as the victim rode to work.
As the 40-year-old reached the Wallisdown Roundabout in the Dorset town, he was struck by a car approaching from Alder Road. Police believe that the vehicle is a Toyota Corolla dating from between 2001 and 2004.
Besides the fractured vertebrae, Mr Graham suffered other injuries including grazing to his leg and a broken bone in his hand.
“There is no way he wouldn’t have seen me,” he told the newspaper.
“I’m lit up like a Christmas tree when I’m cycling and I’m not a small person.
“I did a double somersault over the top of the car and they just kept going. I landed in the road on my back and when I rolled over to try and stand up, I fell backwards onto my back.”
A passing fireman who was off-duty witnessed the incident and stopped and gave assistance, including keeping Mr Graham’s head still until the arrival of the emergency services.
“At that time of the morning I am usually hard pushed to see another car,” continued Mr Graham.
“Thankfully the fireman and another lady stopped.
“From what I can tell I was around 10 metres from where the impact was,” Justin added.
“All I wanted to do was move my legs but obviously I couldn’t.
“But to be honest I was more worried about where my bike was and who was going to tell my wife.
“I can remember riding the bike and then suddenly looking down and thinking it was going to hurt.
“I cracked my helmet and the bike is probably a write-off.
“I’m lucky to be alive. I could be dead,” he reflected.
“This has not only affected my life, but my family’s.
“For all the driver knows, I could be dead.
“We’d ask anyone who knows anything to please report it.”
Mr Graham was released for hospital after four days and is continuing to recuperate at home, where he has to keep still and is receiving slow-release morphine to help with the pain, reports the newspaper.
Doctors do not expect the damage to his vertebrae to be permanent, although he has an appointment with a spinal specialist in six weeks’ time, it adds.
Mr Graham’s wife Rayna, aged 37, commented: “We want whoever did this to realise what they have done.
“How could they just leave someone and live with themselves?
“Now I’m over the shock, I’m just really angry. We just can’t understand it.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Robert Freeman at Dorset Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
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.