French bike crash leaves Kerry with a broken thigh

Kerry often takes his bike on foreign trips and breaks up negotiations with cycle rides to wind down. Picture: AP
Kerry often takes his bike on foreign trips and breaks up negotiations with cycle rides to wind down. Picture: AP
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US Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg in a cycle crash yesterday, apparently after hitting a curb, and scrapped the rest of a four-nation trip that included an international conference on combating the Islamic State group.

Mr Kerry was in stable condition and in good spirits as he prepared to return to Boston for further treatment with a doctor who previously operated on his hip, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said. He said X-rays at a Swiss hospital confirmed that Mr Kerry fractured his right femur.

News crews at the Geneva hospital where Kerry was airlifted. Picture: AP

News crews at the Geneva hospital where Kerry was airlifted. Picture: AP

“The secretary is stable and never lost consciousness; his injury is not life-threatening and he is expected to make a full recovery,” Mr Kirby said in a statement.

Kerry, 71, was taken by helicopter to Geneva’s main medical centre, HUG, after apparently hitting a curb with his bike near Scionzier, France, about 40 kilometres south-east of the Swiss border.

Paramedics and a physician were on the scene with his motorcade at the time and provided him with immediate attention. They quickly decided to order the 10-minute helicopter transport.

Dauphine Libere, a local newspaper, said Mr Kerry fell near the beginning of his ride to the famed mountain pass called the Col de la Colombiere, which has been a route for the Tour de France more than a dozen times.

Around the time of his fall, a Twitter feed about local driving conditions warned of the danger due to gravel along the pass. According to the newspaper, some Haute Savoie officials were with Mr Kerry at the time, including the head of the region.

Mr Kerry’s cycling rides have become a regular occurrence on his trips. He often takes his bike with him on the plane and was riding that bicycle yesterday when the accident happened.

During discussions in late March and early April between world powers and Iran, he took several bike trips during breaks. Those talks were in Lausanne, Switzerland, and led to a framework agreement.

He had been in Geneva for six hours of meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday as the sides work to seal a comprehensive accord by 30 June.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Zarif implied that there had been no major breakthrough and that the talks would be continuing for up to a month.

“We have decided to work full time for the next three or four weeks to see whether or not it will be possible to reach an agreement,” he said.

There was no immediate confirmation from the State Department as to whether the Iran talks will be delayed by Mr Kerry’s injury.

Mr Kerry regrets not being able to make the rest of his scheduled stops, Mr Kirby said yesterday. The top US diplomat had planned to travel later yesterday to Madrid for meetings with Spain’s king and prime minister, before spending two days in Paris for an international gathering to combat IS.

He will participate in the Paris conference remotely, Mr Kirby added.