Calls for Government to put cyclists 'at the heart' of transport policy after Bradley Wiggins and Team GB's head cycling coach Shane Sutton are hospitalised


British Cycling is leading angry calls urging the Government to put cyclists “at the heart” of transport policy after its star athlete and the man behind Team GB’s gold medal haul in the Olympic velodrome were both injured in separate road accidents within 24 hours of each other.

Tour de France and Olympic time trial winner Bradley Wiggins was taken to hospital on Tuesday with a bruised hand and ribs after colliding with a van near his Lancashire home.

He appeared to be in rude health as he emerged from Royal Preston Hospital following a precautionary scan of his head, giving photographers a middle-finger salute.

But an incident this morning near Levenshulme in Manchester involving Shane Sutton, Head Coach for the GB Cycling Team, saw the cyclist suffer a small bleed on the brain and concussion.

Police said Sutton is now in a stable condition, but British Cycling claimed he will need to spend the “next few days” in hospital.

The 55-year-old Australian coach, who has transformed the fortunes of the GB Team since taking a position there in 2002, collided with a Peugeot 206 at 8.55am on the A6. He was conscious and breathing when he was taken by ambulance to Salford Royal Hospital. The driver was not injured, and no arrests were made.

Wiggins was hit when a white Astra van pulled out of a filling station forecourt. A garage attendant said the cyclist was “on the ground” and “in a lot of pain”. The female driver, uninjured, was said to be in a “bit of a shock” and will be questioned by police.

The cyclist’s teammate Mark Cavendish wished his friend a “ speedy recovery”, while heptathlete Jessica Ennis said: “It is very dangerous and you hear about some horrible accidents, and stories about what happens to cyclists, and I know he’s been campaigning about road safety, so it’s awful that’s happened to him but hopefully he can recover quickly and get back to it.”

His injuries are unlikely to cause too much disruption to his off-season training schedule, but campaigners are using the two incidents as an opportunity to call for greater awareness of cyclists on the road, especially since tens of thousands more amateur cyclists have taken to the streets in the wake of the London Games.

British Cycling released a statement saying: “Cycling is not an intrinsically dangerous activity but there is much more to be done to improve conditions for cyclists on the roads,” adding that the Government must “ensure that cycle safety is built into the design of all new roads, junctions and transport projects, rather than being an afterthought”.

AA President Edmund King said: “This collision should act as a reminder to all drivers that we need to be more vigilant particularly when pulling out of entrances and turning at junctions. We need to break down the ‘two tribe’ mentality on the roads and co-exist in harmony.”

Both Wiggins and Sutton were both wearing helmets at the time of their crashes, but Mark Sutton, Deputy editor of BikeBiz, said: “A helmet can’t prevent you being hit by a car. It’d do about as much good as putting a piece of melon on your head.”

Cycling expert Carlton Reid said special lanes for cyclists would not have prevented the two crashes. “It’s not recommended that you cycle at more than 15mph in a bike lane and these athletes cycle at the upper end of the speed limit. If it’s a 30mph zone they will be going at 30mph. And that’s a problem: when drivers see cyclists they think they’ll be going slowly – but that’s not necessarily the case.”

Comment: Two wheels still good, despite these collisions

By Simon Usborne

That riders with the skills of Bradley Wiggins and his coach could come to grief within hours of each other highlights the importance of road safety campaigns. It should boost them, too, but my big fear as a cyclist is not so much of errant vans but that such high-profile crashes will scare people off their bikes. Worse still, I fear they may fuel a culture of conflict on our roads that can only make them more dangerous.

Cycling is safer than coverage of crashes would lead would-be or worried riders to believe. The incidence of serious injuries and deaths has risen, however, even accounting for the growing number of riders. The Government and local authorities must do more to improve roads and promote awareness, but the risk of death or serious injury thankfully remains very low (lower, arguably, than the risk to the our nation’s hearts and lungs should fear reverse the cycling boom).

Evidence also shows that the more we ride, the more used to cyclists all road users become, increasing the safety of individuals. But with more riders seems to come growing animosity, particularly on the clogged streets of our cities. Drivers who hate cyclists have seized Wiggins’ crash. The cyclist’s wife, Catherine Wiggins, shared a relatively mild comment by “Ryan” on her Twitter feed: “You’d think Bradley Wiggins could afford a car by now, wouldn’t you? Bloody cyclists.”

Wiggins drives, of course. So do I and many cyclists. There are no tribes on our roads and if there is war it's between angry, impatient people, who exist regardless of the number of wheels beneath them. But if reasonable road users start repeating cries such as "bloody cyclists" or the myth that they don't pay road tax (it doesn't exist; we all pay for roads), then angry exchanges will become more common: more dangerous overtaking; more aggressive cycling; less care on either side of the windscreen. Regardless of the circumstances of these latest crashes, the failure of authorities, or your preferred mode of transport, one way we can all make roads safer is to open our eyes and be just a little bit nicer.

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas