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Bike accidents hurt: A graphic account of a champ's wreck

Posting in Cities

Bradley Wiggins when he was in one piece, racing to Olympic gold in August.

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We like cycling here at SmartPlanet.

That means we're constantly on the lookout for innovations in bike safety. Our Tyler Falk has been peddling hard on those ideas lately - read his recent report on how to de-ice bike lanes, for example.

So, as nothing communicates the need for bike safety better than a bike accident, I thought I'd bring you a graphic account of a fresh crash in Britain. Yesterday's incident might have gone virtually unnoticed as just another 2-wheeled casualty except for one thing: the victim was this year's Tour de France and Olympic champ, Bradley Wiggins.

He of the sideburns survived, but oh what an ordeal as his ride ended abruptly when he met a white Vauxhall Astra (a small family car) pulling out of a gas station. He broke a rib and a finger. Here's how an eyewitness to the aftermath described it to the BBC:

"Don't touch the ribs, honey." Wiggins, an advocate for helmets, escaped with a few broken bones.

"I ran outside and there was a gentleman on the pavement - I didn't realise who it was at first.

"He was in a lot of pain - he actually thought he had broken his ribs.

"His hands looked bruised and they were curled up a bit. And then his colour changed.

"He got put in a local person's car and when the ambulance came they attended to him immediately.

"His wife [tried to] hug him and he said: 'Don't, my ribs'.

"He was assisted [in] walking to the ambulance. He could stand up. I think his ribs and hands were the main concern."

Ouch. Wiggins, a public advocate of wearing helmets, sure chose a rough way to demonstrate that headgear can save lives.

No sooner did Wiggins hit the ground than Great Britain's head cycling coach Shane Sutton suffered bleeding on the brain after a bike crash today, prompting a British Cycling spokesman to say, "We call on the government to put cycling at the heart of transport policy to ensure cycle safety, the BBC reported.

Yes please! And as winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, bring on that de-icer.

Photos: Top by Jans Canon via Wikimedia. Wiggins headshot from berlinnbooks.blogspot.com

What makes Wiggins tick, and other cycle tours, on Smartplanet:

— By on November 8, 2012, 1:24 AM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure