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Former Tour of Britain winner injured after being knocked off bike on “death trap” Shropshire road

Tony Hewson left unconscious after incident on road where John Searle lost his life two years ago

Tony Hewson, winner of the 1955 Tour of Britain, has suffered serious head injuries after being knocked from his bike while riding near his home in Shropshire. The incident last Friday, which left him unconscious, happened on the same stretch of road where cyclist John Searle was killed last year.

The trial of the two motorists involved in that collision, Pamela Willocks and Russel Davies, ended on Monday with both acquitted of causing death by careless driving.

Sheffield-born Mr Hewson, aged 80, was struck by a car’s wing mirror as he rode his bike on the B4368 Corvedale Road, near Craven Arms, reports the Shropshire Star.

His daughter Justine, who lives in Berkshire, journeyed to Shropshire to be with her father who has been discharged from hospital and described the road as a "death trap."

She told the newspaper: “He has been cycling all his life. He won the Tour of Britain in the 1950s, and has ridden in the Tour de France.

“He was on a training ride and was returning home at about 3.30pm, coming out of Diddlebury.

"He was hit by a black Audi and he was knocked into the road, unconscious for a time.

"The ambulance arrived after 45 minutes and he was taken to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

"He had a serious head injury as well as whiplash and cuts and bruises. He had a bleed on the brain and we feared the worst.

"But thankfully by some miracle he's rallied and he's back home in a battered and bruised state, recovering the best he can.

"He's extremely lucky to be alive," she added, saying that the incident happened by the home of volunteer West Midlands Ambulance Service First Responder John Caine, who lives by the scene of the incident.

Ms Hewson explained: "He was off duty at the time and in the garden. He was lying in the road holding my dad's neck in place when the ambulance arrived.

“My dad was went into shock and was extremely cold and he wrapped him up and stopped hypothermia. His knowledge was invaluable really."

Mr Caine said: "I saw the traffic slow down very quickly and went out to have a look, and saw him on the roadside. I checked him all over and made sure his neck was secured. I could tell the helmet had been damaged.

"Once the paramedic arrived I got warm towels while we waited for a spinal board."

Ms Hewson has called for safety measures to be introduced on the road to protect cyclists. She said:  "It's an extremely dangerous road. Not only push bikes, but motorbikes and cars have been involved in accidents there.

"It's very twisty and bendy and we want to raise awareness for all road users - it is a designated cycle route, it really should be a safe place, not a death trap.”

Her appeal was echoed by the newspaper in an editorial that noted that Mr Searle, who like Mr Hewson was struck by a car’s wing mirror – he was then hit by a second vehicle - “was out riding his bike, enjoying the best of Shropshire’s beautiful countryside, when a tragic incident took his life.”

It added that while that incident took place two years ago, “though the road on which he suffered critical injuries remains popular with cyclists” but has not been made any safer.

The newspaper said: “The Corvedale has a notorious reputation and there have been numerous fatal accidents through the years. As an increasing number of people take to the roads on bicycles, more must be done to ensure their safety.

“Better signage, rumble strips and improved road management are among the modifications that the county’s engineers might consider. There is a responsibility to ensure that the accidents affecting Mr Searle and Mr Hewson are not repeated in future,” it added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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