CYCLING chiefs have called for a government-led safety drive after Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins’ road accident was followed less than 24 hours later by a serious injury to the British team’s head coach, Shane Sutton.
Sutton suffered bleeding on the brain after a road accident while on his bike in Manchester yesterday morning. Wiggins was released from hospital after a collision with a vehicle yesterday. The accidents prompted ruling body British Cycling to call on the government for immediate action.
A British Cycling spokeswoman said: “It is extremely rare that our riders and coaches are hurt while out cycling on the road, even rarer that two incidents should occur in a short space of time, and we wish Shane and Bradley a speedy recovery.
“Cycling is not an intrinsically dangerous activity but there is much more to be done to improve conditions for cyclists on the roads.
“British Cycling is calling on the government to put cycling at the heart of transport policy to ensure that cycle safety is built into the design of all new roads, junctions and transport projects, rather than being an afterthought.”
Sutton was wearing a helmet when he was in collision with a Peugeot 206 being driven by a 61-year-old man.
The British Cycling spokeswoman said: “Shane was taken into hospital where it was identified he has suffered bruising and bleeding on the brain.
“Shane was wearing a helmet. He is set to undergo more tests, and is likely to stay in hospital for the next few days.”
British Cycling’s director of policy and legal affairs, Martin Gibbs, believes Britain has a lot to learn from other countries where there is greater provision on the roads for cyclists. He said: “These incidents do remind you that we’ve got a long way to go we need to look to our cousins abroad and [Danish capital] Copenhagen and see what they’ve done.
“Around 30 per cent of people making journeys there do so on their bike. We need the department of transport to stop thinking of cycling as an add-on.”
Wiggins, 32, was thrown off his bike after a white Vauxhall Astra Envoy is thought to have pulled out of a petrol station and collided with him.
A police source said his injuries had been thought at first to be very serious, but later it appeared he had suffered only a number of broken ribs and cuts and bruises.
He was driven away from hospital yesterday afternoon.
His accident happened at about 6pm on Wednesday in Wrightington, Lancashire, which is near to his family home in Eccleston.
Father-of-two Wiggins is known to regularly embark on training rides around the area’s rural roads.
Team Sky’s Dr Richard Freeman said: “Bradley has been discharged from hospital after suffering minor injuries, including bruises to his right hand and ribs, but is expected to make a full and speedy recovery.
“He is now going to spend the weekend at home convalescing with his family.”
Australian Sutton, 55, has worked with the British cycling team since 2002 and has been credited with playing a major role in transforming the fortunes of the sport in this country. He was made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2010 for his services to sport.