Updated: Cyclist airlifted to hospital after crashing on yesterday's Wiggle Dragon Ride

Rider taken to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, full details yet to emerge

by Simon_MacMichael   June 10, 2013  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight, www.flickr.com)

A cyclist taking part in ysterday's Wiggle Dragon Ride, based at Margam Country Park, Port Talbot, was flown by air ambulance after crashing during the event.

There are no details as yet as to the extent of the cyclist's injuries or their condition.

In a statement, event organisers Human Race said:

There was an incident involving a cyclist at the Dragon Ride on 9th June which was attended by the Welsh Ambulance Service. The rider was airlifted to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where he is being treated for his injuries. The incident occurred on the descent of the Bwlch at Abergwynfi. Human Race, organisers of the Dragon Ride will conduct a full investigation into the circumstances of the incident and currently understand no vehicles or other cyclists were involved. The injured rider was attended to by a number of medical professionals who were also taking part in the Dragon Ride prior to St. John's Ambulance and the Air Ambulance arriving at the scene.

According to road.cc's Dave Atkinson, who is familiar with the section of road in question having ridden past editions of the event, "the descent off the Bwlch is pretty fast and open, Abergwynfi itself isn't a steep section but you can be carrying quite a lot of speed into the village."

In the comments below this article, road.cc user David Gunthorpe reveals how he was the first rider on the scene, coming across the stricken cyclist – whom he says is “doing ok, apparently” in hospital – immediately after a cattle grid which was preceded by a right hand corner at the bottom of the descent.

Speaking to BBC News South West Wales, he said: "I came round the corner, still descending, and I saw this guy in the middle of the road and he wasn't moving.

"I pulled over and I checked his pulse, which was fine. He was face down and bleeding from his nose and face.

"He was conscious but we were concerned about his breathing."

Two doctors and a surgeon also taking part in the ride stopped and performed emergency CPR prior to the arrival of St John Ambulance and subsequently the emergency helicopter.

He added: "The rear tyre had blown off the rim about 10 inches. It might have happened as we came over a cattle grid further back. His rear wheel was locked."

According to other comments below, there were a lot of crashes during the event, particularly early on, leading some cyclists to ride cautiously given the conditions.

 

37 user comments

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I really hope he's OK, I must have missed it by a couple of mins and the guys were doing a fabulous job when I went past.

Well done to everyone involved!!

He was one of three I saw who looked to have crashed hard over the 200+ km.

Ride safe everyone!

posted by migi [2 posts]
10th June 2013 - 14:32

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The descent off black mountain was the worst for me, early on, the wind was pretty fierce from the side. I also saw a few fallers, all being looked after by St John's who did a sterling job. It seemed mainly on bends where I guess they just over-cooked it, hope they are all ok.

posted by mattyb95 [28 posts]
10th June 2013 - 15:07

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That cattle grid caught me by surprise as it was shaded by a tree. Was quite hard to see the road at times (really bright sunlight, eyes couldn't adjust quickly enough in the shade) Could be that the rider didn't see it in time and went over it too quickly.

Hope he's ok and mends soon.

posted by danimal [2 posts]
10th June 2013 - 15:18

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The one prior to the village had a little lip on it, on the village side, or at least I thought so at the time.

posted by fennesz [83 posts]
10th June 2013 - 15:36

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I was passing the scene just a few minutes after the incident and concur with some of the other witnesses that the winds were a little troublesome and the cattle grid came with limited warning. I did see a few minor injuries earlier on into the ride and took heed. I wish the injured chap a good recovery, I have to be honest, seeing his condition at the scene put a bit of a downer on my first Dragon Ride. Otherwise, great day and challenging ride!

posted by CyclingLove [2 posts]
10th June 2013 - 15:51

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I didn't see that incident but I recall the cattle grid - no warning sign for it though there are several 30mph notifications.

Granny and eggsuck time - always ride over a cattle grid in the middle of the lane - where the road is worn the steel grid will not be and so will have a much larger ridge, a classic snakebite puncture waiting to happen.

Ride safe guys.

Oh and to the English guy who swore at me as he rode into the 1st Medio feeder at 20mph -

1)SLOW DOWN AROUND PEDESTRIANS ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY CAN'T WALK VERY QUICKLY BECAUSE........ WAIT FOR IT...... THEY'RE WEARING CYCLING SHOES!

2)I don't care how big you are or how hard you think you are, don't swear at someone, especially when he's got five ex-rugby playing mates with him. You were very close to being on the receiving end of a pasting. You have me to thank for remaining vertical.

Cake?

posted by 515 [16 posts]
10th June 2013 - 18:36

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When are these events going to be properly regulated. All you read about is accidents. The fact there is hundreds if not thousands of riders of different ability riding together there are going to be issues. I have seen riders 3/4 abreast on tight country roads riding in groups of over thirty. It's blatantly a race to some of the riders who think its s stage of the tour. British cycling should be doing something to sort these events so there are more marshals/signs and some sort of regulations on number of riders. Road races and time trials are tightly regulated for the safety of all road users these sportive/races are not. I hope the rider concerned makes a full recovery and the organisers and British cycling do something before there are more serious incidents

posted by Causeican [2 posts]
10th June 2013 - 19:54

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I saw a chap really cut up near Rhyslyn, not good to see. I think this was another flea to the one here? Either way hope they both recover quickly and get back out on the bike.

posted by Wookster [58 posts]
10th June 2013 - 21:40

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-The 3 fast downhills should be neutralized. Sprotifs in this country have become so popular that the descents do not match people’s abilities. You get better at descending by doing it not by riding a turbo.

-If I’m pedalling hard and in control at 70KM/h what I don’t want is some crazy guy with death wish half-wheeling me, loosing it and taking me down. There were too many people too close on fast descents. Not the place to sit on my wheel when I’m carrying you through the wind.

-One for the organisers – cover the grids and get a marshal to stop the livestock. You managed to do this on the first grid. Given the £150,000 entry revenue this is a small price to pay.

It was a sobering experience watching the medics efforts and the air ambulace but the crazy half-wheeling and red light jumping continued which I though was somewhat disrespectful.

I would only consider entering this event if the descents were neutralized.

I hope the guy who came off gets back on his bike soon - best wishes.

posted by sonicblaster [1 posts]
10th June 2013 - 22:29

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I was riding with David when we arrived at the scene. We were descending at a pretty hairy pace and can honestly say if we hadn't seen the rider on the road it could have easily been one of us. When I arrived I tried to get a visual response from him asking him to blink if he could here me. I was concious that he might have a sponal injury and was not keen on moving him. He was losing colour and it was difficult to judge what was happening. His arm muscles were twitching but he wasn't responding to my questions. Initially someone thought he had a pulse and as a doctor arrived we moved into the recovery position. shortly after that the doctor decided there was no pulse. He quickly started CPR and the patient responded, but with a very weak pulse. As time passed more riders who were medical staff arrived and started to help. The patient was struggling but constantly being monitored. Without the quick reactions of all those involved the outcome could have been very different. I love the adrenaline that a fast down gives you, but it's incidents like this that remind you how easily it can all change. I hope he recovers soon. My thoughts are with his family.

posted by Sepahpoura [1 posts]
10th June 2013 - 22:46

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I would agree with most of the above views on the riding standards shown on Sunday, some obviously very skilled riders who were a delight to watch and ride with and some very unskilled riders that will at best give Sportifs a bad name and at worst, be responsible for injuring other people.

Descending does seem to be a problem. As I came down Black Mountain at around 40mph and was entering the lower section of the descent going around a left hand bend, I happened to glance to my inside and spotted another rider half wheeling me (and fully intent on passing me)Had I not seen him and tightened my line as I had originally intended I suspect we too might have been seeking medical assistance.

Organisers of events can do little to curb this type of riding and the "race" mind set of some riders. It's just a shame that these riders who clearly want to race don't have the bottle to go and race in an appropriate environment by taking up racing.

I hope the chap involved in the above incident, and the other four injured riders that I personally saw receiving medical attention all recover soon and are back riding soon (all of the incidents I saw were on fast downhill stretches).

Former fat bloke, now not so fat, on a journey to taking part in RideUK24 Newcastle to London via l'etape and Dragon Ride Gran Fondo (and a few other sportives)
www.velopixie.blogspot.co.uk

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posted by velo pixie [6 posts]
11th June 2013 - 8:51

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This is difficult subject given that somebody is currently in hospital. I wish him a speedy and full recovery.
My heart sunk when I saw the emergency services and crowd of riders stopped to allow paramedics to tend to the injured rider. I also saw a few incidents earlier in the ride (sterling job done by the Mavic support crew who were usually first on scene and then, later, by St. John). Probably more than I have seen on other sportives and, I can only assume, that is due to the high profile nature of this event (it is billed as "the UK's most prestigious Sportive") attracting those seeking a challenge and the recent surge in popularity of our sport.
I'm lucky; I can ride to my heart's content (time permitting) in the North and South Downs where we have some great climbing and descending so, though they're not so long, have experience of fast twisty, windswept descents. I've taken my share of spills and will probably take some more (hopefully not too serious [either on body or wallet!]); that's how I learnt to brake and corner.
I appreciate that others are not so fortunate and don't have the same topography / geography on their doorstep.
However, by all accounts, in this instance (the guy who is badly injured) none of that is relevant. He had a rear tyre blow out. OK, there is an argument that the cattle grids could / should have been covered; so what happens when, in the next village, a motorist swerves to avoid a sheep and hits a child?
There was some poor riding on display granted, but cycling is inherently dangerous and accidents happen.
The last thing we need is people calling for regulation and neutralized descents. Let's not ruin the enjoyment of the many due to a selfish few who don't ride in the spirit of the event.
Once again, I sympathize with anybody injured, their families and loved ones.

posted by Al'76 [126 posts]
11th June 2013 - 10:21

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I have raced, ridden in groups and also enjoy riding the odd sportive.
Whilst I think the boom in cycling is fantastic it has introduced a lot of older guys to the sport. Disposable income doesn't seem to be an issue judging by some of the bikes you see however, bike handling and group riding are.
This is nowhere more apparent than on descents. The lines, speed taken into corners etc suggest more accidents in the future.
These rides are very difficult to police 100%, it is down to riders to ride within their limits. As has been said there are some technically very good descenders who are safe at higher speeds.
For the sustained growth of cycling and its infrastructure I would love to see people new to the sport joining a club and participating in group rides. Not only would this increase comfort in riding in a group but also help watching more experienced cyclists descend etc.
I hope the chap who was involved in the accident is ok. I saw several other crashes on Sunday and would wish everyone unfortunate enough to have an accident a speedy recovery

posted by alexjones5 [25 posts]
11th June 2013 - 11:44

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I really hope the rider is ok, my thoughts are with him and his family. Here's hoping he makes a full and speedy recovery.

I passed by the accident soon after it happened while he was being attended by several riders shortly before the ambulance arrived. No one wants to nanny state these rides but I did witness some pretty reckless riding and overtaking on descents. I don't think it would do any harm to have some big signs at the top of descents or at particularly fast sections reminding riders to mind their speed and ride within their limits.

As for cattle grids - riding over them at any speed is always a little unnerving, and the cattle grid may or may not have contributed to this accident - I really don't know. If all cattle grids were covered it would require extra marshalling (to contain sheep etc) which would be ideal but not sure this would always be practical (and would the coverings be any safer?)

However I do think more overt warning and slow down signs repeated in the 100 or so meters before the grids or other potential hazards may help to reduce riders approach speeds.

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posted by jonsta [1 posts]
11th June 2013 - 12:17

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This was my 2nd time to do the event. I have not been riding that long compared to some peolple I guess, about 18 month to 2 years perhaps. I totally agree with some of the comments on here that some riders were racing and showed little regard to other riders.

I had, on more than four or five occasions, riders come whizzing passed in groups and their handle bars virtually clipping mine or they dart in front when overtaken and their rear wheel nearly touching my front wheel, forcing me into the kerb to avoid a clash. Furious is an understatement!

I arrived at the crash scene just as the air ambulence was taking off and stopped where I was, just like the majority of riders. However, a number of other riders who were turning up were pushing their way to the front of the backlogged cars and cyclist so (I can only assume) they would be the 1st to get away when the road was re-opened. How disrespectful to the rider that had the accident hey ?

It was a tough day on the bike in the sunshine (which I shouldn't complain about!)and I found the cousre a challenge indeed. I live local and have done the route a few times previously in training and in a milder climate !

I wish the cyclist who had the accident a speedy recovery and wish his family and loved ones well.

posted by Markthenark [1 posts]
11th June 2013 - 15:17

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To the guy in the held bunch who was more frustrated that his finishing time was ruined, than he was interested in the condition of the fallen rider: Shame on you. You know who you are.

posted by Hoester [52 posts]
11th June 2013 - 16:08

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Any updates on how the injured rider is getting on?
(Appreciate privacy laws etc)

posted by CyclingLove [2 posts]
11th June 2013 - 19:20

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Sepaphora's account is spot on. I was the first dr on the scene. Awful accident . Ruined the day for me after the elation of getting up the bwlch knowing it was all downhill from there

I don't think this is the right place to criticise 'mamils' or sportives in general. No other riders were involved by all accounts and this was simply a tragic accident. I'm local and ridden those cattle grids tens of times with no incidents. This was simply bad luck.

I want to say thanks to everyone who stopped to help the poor guy out. i wish the rider and his family a full and speedy recovery.

Lucky a trauma surgeon and anaesthetist rolled up too as well as at least 4 oher doctors. Air ambulance guys were awesome. Everyone who stopped to help deserves a pat on the back, and people who were moaning that their time had been messed up should be ashamed of themselves. There was also a tosser van driver trying to force his way up the mountain past the ambulance who i gave a right mouthful to. Yeah it cost me half an hour on my official time , but some things are more important.

posted by al h-g [3 posts]
11th June 2013 - 19:35

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Madonepro that is a truly awful thing to say. If you are lying in a heap unconcious haven fallen off that chip on your shoulder you'll be glad for any medical help you recieve by bypassing medics. Study hard work hard and play hard!

posted by al h-g [3 posts]
11th June 2013 - 21:08

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Having done the Gran Fondo for the 1st time on Sunday the climbs and descents are what makes this sort of event. I saw the rider who crashed at the bottom of Black Mountain whilst the ambulance was there.

Thanks to those who did stop - and particularly the medical professionals taking part. Others might complain but you're doing absolutely the right thing.

Most of the riders know that this is a tough ride, but it does depend on how much experience you have on descents. I descend fast but don't half-wheel and get a lot of practice.

What I did see was some expensive kit out there - makes my Spesh Secteur look low-rent. Unfortunately, just having a decent bike doesn't make you a decent rider.

Oh, and major respect to the guy doing the ride on a hand-bike.

DCLane's picture

posted by DCLane [26 posts]
11th June 2013 - 21:28

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Madonepro.

I bet the poor injured sod in question was really pissed off at the seven medics that rocked up and ruined his classically proletariat sport.

Twat.

Oh and since you're bound to ask; I'm a shop worker.

Cake?

posted by 515 [16 posts]
11th June 2013 - 21:39

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I have been a competitive club cyclist for some 30 years,time trial (100 miles 12 hour) and now sportives for the last 6 years. Therefore, I count myself as an experienced cyclist. But, and it is a big but experience has taught me to know what i can't do and that is descend fast. You see I live in Suffolk and yer don't get exposed to the climbs or the descents and therefore for me I take it easy, Im still Learning how to descend, and big enough to accept this.

Some cyclist on this ride clearly did not accept or even no their limitations. i am not saying the badly injured guy was one of these, just pointing out as others have done that we witnessed some near misses.

I hope the guy recovers fast

posted by ManicDrummer [2 posts]
11th June 2013 - 22:53

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I did the gran fondo for the first time and saw the aftermath of three accidents. Two in the Neath area, the first on a dual carriageway, the second heading out of Neath - with ambulance in attendence. Finally the third just before the medio/gran cut off, locals attending with ambulance on the way.

On the Bwlch descent my ride buddies Armadillo all road rear tyre started to disintegrate. With the outer protective strip peeling away. It held together, but not good.

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [123 posts]
12th June 2013 - 14:31

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The course for the Dragon was spectacular with Sunday's glorious weather. Of course there were plenty of the usual low-level hazards that we generally cope with without any drama, each week on club rides. I'd put the cattle grids in that category. I hit a small hole on my decent into Neath which scared the bejesus out of me, but there were no major issues. On the whole car drivers were most respectful too.

The sheer scale of the event and the broad range of abilities always causes a greater level of risk. I do get spooked when others put me at risk and the cutting in after overtaking was the worst example of this that I experienced on Sunday.

The serious injury to one of our number puts a damper on things, but appears to be a pure accident. I hope we get news of his recovery soon, our best wishes to him and his family.
On my club ride the week before this, I had an explosive puncture with a tyre side-wall rupture. Had I missed that ride my blow-out might have been on the Dragon, so there but for the grace etc.

What time in the afternoon did the accident happen?
Disclosure- I'm a medic, so another M in my MAMMIL credentials please Devil

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posted by brumtaffy [1 posts]
12th June 2013 - 19:37

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madonepro, please see a medic like one of those who helped the fellow rider on sunday. Perhaps they have a pill to cure the chip on your shoulder.

up the workers ... doctors, solictors, programmers, lawyers.

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [123 posts]
13th June 2013 - 6:59

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I crashed at the junction with the Afan road. It was entirely my fault no-one else involved, I was going too fast, braked too late, skidded and whilst I controlled the skid (years of commuting on a fixie) my back tyre popped flipping me over. I don't think I endangered anyone else and I have the road rash to remind me of my stupidity, but I am a very experienced road cyclist. At the end of the day accidents happen. I personally didn't see any incidents of dangerous riding, but you have to accept that if you choose to travel at speeds in excess of 30mph dressed in lycra and little else the consequences can be bad. Best wishes to the guy in hospital, I know that the St John's that attended to me were superb so I'm sure he was/is in good hands.

posted by chimpcyclist [1 posts]
13th June 2013 - 13:19

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I took just over 7hrs to do the 200+, I found it most dangerous when we came back across the riders doing the smaller routes.

These people were riding in groups dotted about smack in the middle of the road doing 40 mph on a straight and all over the place in corners!

I live in Northwales, I race regularly and ride the same types of roads involved in the Dragon.

Know your limits and know that you can't EVER hammer decents you don't know no matter how well you go down hill because it usually ends with at least road rash.

Crashes happen, its part of our sport, sometimes its just poor luck.

I agree completely its a lack of basic cycling knowledge, skills and rules that make these things more dengerous.

posted by migi [2 posts]
13th June 2013 - 14:11

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Happy i helped to save someones life on sunday - makes the training and " more money than sense" worthwhile.
Been cycling since my teens, came from a working class background and the great opportunities offered me by this country allowed me to become a medical professional through hard work and ability. No silver spoons or inverted snobbery here!

All i will say on here is that i have been hearing some more poitive news on the rider and wish him a speedy recovery. My thoughts and good wishes are with him his wife and family. I know his family have been reading news articles about the crash on here so please think before you post , even if you are trolling.

posted by al h-g [3 posts]
13th June 2013 - 21:31

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Oh, by the way, there was no implication that I didn't care about the fallen rider, and the typical response from medics, not the other professions I mentioned. Typical.

posted by madonepro [34 posts]
26th April 2014 - 4:25

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Here's a tip.

When these events get advertised, visit there webpages, download the gpx file, study it, and then with some friends, plan a weekend together and ride the course.

It'll be safer, more enjoyable, and you'll be with people you trust.

posted by madonepro [34 posts]
26th April 2014 - 4:27

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