A Dublin solicitor is “lucky to be alive” after he was knocked off his bike by a hit-and-run driver while training in Greece.
Cahir O’Higgins (42) has shared a photo of his injuries and called for a change in the law to protect vulnerable riders on Irish and European roads.
The racing cyclist was training in the mountainous Soniou region when he was knocked off his bike.
“I was hit at speed by a car on a descent from behind. My rear wheel was knocked over my head and my face hit the ground with force,” he said.
Mr O’Higgins said he was cyc-ling “very tight to the edge” because it was a “technical, tricky descent” but the driver ploughed into him regardless.
“I was completely blameless,” he said.
Mr O’Higgins, who is from Kilreekil, Co Galway, said: “Luckily, I sustained only minor injuries. I needed eight stitches on my chin and have fractured my fingers and a rib.
“Truthfully, I’m lucky to be alive today.”
He said he believes the car may have sped off after Monday’s crash because the driver was not insured.
He shared a photo of his battered body on Facebook in a bid to warn drivers to be vigilant.
“I decided to put up the snap, not because people need to be turned off their evening meal by an ugly photo, but more the fact that even minor injuries can be fairly shocking,” he told the Herald.
“This is what happens when motorists don’t take care.”
Mr O’Higgins is now assisting on legislation to introduce a minimum passing distance for motorists when overtaking cyclists. Stayin’ Alive At 1.5 is a campaign to pursue the adoption of a law that requires motorists to give cyclists 1.5 metres of clearance when passing from behind.
He helped in drafting legislation earlier this year with Wexford-based cyclist Philip Skelton and Ciaran Cannon, the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“We need to lobby to get this law passed in Ireland and we need to have much greater awareness of cyclist safely,” he said.
Asked about his current condition, Mr O’Higgins, who is still in Greece, said he is in good spirits.
He said doctors have advised him to go to another hospital for plastic surgery because the scarring on his face could be prominent.
“I told them that, at 42 and at this stage of my life, a bit of scarring isn’t going to make much difference,” he said.