Cyclist: I should be dead

By John Lewis

Teacher escapes with minor injuries after 100km/h collision.

John Nicholl with what is left of his helmet and his damaged bicycle. Photo / Supplied
John Nicholl with what is left of his helmet and his damaged bicycle. Photo / Supplied

What's the first thing that goes through a cyclist's head when he is hit from behind by a car travelling at nearly 100km/h?

Dunedin cyclist John Nicholl says usually it would be his bum - the same as for a bumble bee.

The 45-year-old was quite jovial yesterday, despite nearly being killed on Saturday, and was using humour as a means of coming to terms with his extraordinary survival.

During one of his more serious moments, he said the first thing he actually thought after being hit by the car was: "I should be dead".

"Anyone who saw it thought I would have died in hospital. I know people have been killed along that road in the past."

The Taieri College Year 7 teacher, part-time Roxburgh Baptist Church pastor, cyclist and runner said he had just cycled off Henley Rd and on to State Highway 1 about 1pm on Saturday, when he was struck by a Toyota Corolla travelling close to 100km/h.

"It was one of those split second things. I was in a high gear and I wanted to cross the road, but I couldn't get across quickly enough.

"So I went on the centre line, hoping the car would go around me. But it didn't. I heard the horn toot and I heard the brakes squeal, and I thought, 'Whoops, here we go'.

"I thought it would be all over - especially at that speed. The car rammed up the back of me and I remember flying through the air. I heard a big thud, I don't know what I hit. I woke up and thought it was a bad dream."

He was taken to Dunedin Hospital, where he was treated for a broken collar bone, concussion and cuts and abrasions.

Rather than go out and buy a Lotto ticket, Mr Nicholl said he was happy just to stay home with family and recover.

Luck had nothing to do with his survival, he said.

"I still have things to do in my life - God has me here for a reason."

Mr Nicholl's wife Vanessa said it could have been the worst weekend of her life.

"We're just so relieved he's okay. I've got four children - I could easily have been a widow."

Mr Nicholl hoped the driver of the car who struck him was okay, and he apologised for putting him through the ordeal.

The driver was uninjured but the car's windscreen was broken.

Police say inquiries into the crash are continuing.

- NZ Herald

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