A CYCLIST who was lucky to survive an horrific accident has issued a stark warning to bikers who choose not to wear protective headgear.

Joan Gordon, 48, of Castle Garth, Kendal, says wearing a helmet saved her life after she hit a telephone pole while cycling at about 40mph down The Struggle near Ambleside.

She suffered a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain, a dislocated elbow, a broken arm and an enlarged hematoma on her left leg.

Joan’s husband, Rob, resuscitated her at the scene before she was flown to hospital in an air ambulance – an operation made more difficult for the pilot because he had to land among a field full of inquisitive sheep who 'mobbed' the rescuers.

The incident happened on November 22 but Joan is still unable to return to work as a property records officer with South Lakeland District Council, and she wants to make other cyclists aware of the importance of protective headgear.


She said: “My helmet saved my life. Lots of people around Kendal cycle without helmets but without a helmet I wouldn’t be here to tell the tale. I would be paralysed or dead.

“People don’t wear helmets because they think they aren’t stylish but I believe they should be compulsory like car seatbelts because you don’t have to be going fast to hit your head. Go bike riding, enjoy it, but wear the correct gear.”

Joan owes her life to the fact that she wore a helmet but she is also aware the quick response of paramedics and the air ambulance team, as well as the support from her friends and family, have helped her pull through.

She said: “I’m a very positive person. When they told me I had a bleed on the brain I said ‘well, at least they’ve found a brain!’ “That positivity got me through as I can see how depression could easily set in. I want to thank the air ambulance team especially, because they’re a charity and I’m planning to get back on my bike to raise money for them.

“I also want to thank long-term friends Debbie Bolton and Alison Kinnon for their emotional and physical support, and my husband Rob, for all the care and support he has given me for a number of months.”

Joan is still on the road to recovery but she believes everybody should live each day to the full, ‘because you never know what’s around the corner'.