LONDON (AFP) — Tour de France champion and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins was in hospital on Wednesday after being hit by a car while riding his bike near his family home in Lancashire, north-west England, police said.
However, a police spokesman said the British cycling star’s injuries were “not thought to be life-threatening”.
Wiggins, 32, was thrown off his bike when hit by a car believed to have pulled out of a gas station before colliding with him. Wiggins is known to often go for training rides on rural roads in the area.
The accident happened at approximately 6:00 pm in Wrightson, Lancashire, near Wiggins’ family home in Eccleston, and took place just months after he called for drivers and cyclists to “co-exist” following a fatal accident near London’s Olympic Park.
The driver of the car that hit Wiggins, a local woman, was said to be unhurt.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “Police were called to the scene of a road traffic accident at Crow Orchard Road in Wrightington at about 6:00 pm this evening.
“A cyclist has been involved in a collision with a white Vauxhall Astra car. The rider of the bike, a 32-year-old local man, was taken to hospital by ambulance with injuries not thought to be life threatening. His family have been told.”
Wiggins’s team, Sky, issued a statement on its website: “We can confirm that on Wednesday evening Bradley Wiggins was involved in a road traffic accident whilst riding his bike near his home in Lancashire. He is being kept in hospital overnight for observation but the injuries he has sustained are not thought to be serious and he is expected to make a full and speedy recovery. We will announce more details in due course.”
Accident investigators visited the scene but the road was not sealed off.
Garage attendant Yasmin Smith, who went to Wiggins’ aid, told the Lancashire Evening Post: “By the time I got there he had moved to a safer place but was still on the ground and he was in a lot of pain. He said he thought he had broken his ribs and while a lot of police cars arrived it was about 15 minutes before the ambulance got there, by which time he was blue.”
This year saw Wiggins become the first British winner in the history of the Tour de France and, barely two weeks later, he also won the time trial at London 2012 in front of his home fans for a fourth career Olympic gold medal.
On the same day that Wiggins enjoyed his latest Games triumph, a cyclist was killed following a collision with an Olympic media shuttle bus just outside London’s Olympic Park.
Commenting on the accident, Wiggins, who has called for a law making it compulsory for cyclists to wear protective helmets, said: “It’s dangerous and London is a busy city and a lot of traffic. I haven’t lived in London for 10 to 15 years now and it’s got a lot busier since I was riding a bike as a kid round here, and I got knocked off several times.
“But I think things are improving to a degree — there are organizations out there who are attempting to make the roads safer for both parties. We’ve all got to co-exist on the roads. Cyclists are not ever going to go away as much as drivers moan, and as much as cyclists maybe moan about certain drivers they are never going to go away, so there’s got to be a bit of give and take.”