A CYCLIST who was hit by a bus on a new £25m BRT lane has told how he has ‘learned his lesson the hard way’.
Rob West, known as Rolly to his friends, is urging fellow cyclists to always indicate after failing to do so nearly cost him his life.
The 27-year-old was cycling from his home in Tukes Avenue, Bridgemary, to work at Burger King in Fareham town centre when he was hit by one of the new Eclipse buses that uses the purpose-built route.
Cyclists are allowed to use the route alongside the buses.
But Rob admits that his failure to signal he was going to turn right at the junction of the bus route and Palmerston Drive contributed to the accident.
He said: ‘The lights were red, so I stopped for a couple of seconds, then they turned green and I went through.
‘But I didn’t realise, because I hadn’t seen it or heard it as these new buses are so quiet, that there was a bus behind me. I admit I didn’t indicate.
‘He clipped my back wheel, but if the bus hadn’t swerved a little bit he would have gone right over me and I wouldn’t be here now.
‘I know that in some ways I’m at fault and that the bus driver saved my life by swerving – I’m very grateful for what he did.
‘After the accident, I could see how distraught he was in his face but I couldn’t get up and say anything to him.
‘I can honestly say to people on bikes, always signal, and when I finally do get back on my bike, I will do that.
One of Rob’s colleagues was on the bus on her way to work and called his mother to tell her what had happened.
Mum Sue West, who is manager at the Fareham Burger King, said: ‘I felt absolutely sick to my stomach when I got the call.
‘We left immediately and got to the hospital before they did. I’m just glad he’s still here, it’s every mother’s nightmare.’
Rob added: ‘The doctor said the scars will heal, but mentally it will take longer to get over.
‘To come away with just a broken thumb, broken cheek bone, broken nose and some scratches and grazes, I’m thankful to say the least that I’ve not done any permanent damage.
‘But I’ve definitely learnt my lesson the hard way.’
And he wants to meet the bus driver and apologise.
‘When I get better and can go into Fareham,’ he said, ‘I will try and find the driver to say thank you for saving my life and sorry for putting him through it.
‘I would also like to thank the ambulance staff and the doctors who treated me at QA, they were amazing.’
The road was closed and traffic diverted for an hour after the accident at 10.40am last Thursday while emergency services dealt with the scene.
PC John Bridgeman-Hills of Fratton Roads Policing Unit, said: ‘Had the bus driver not taken immediate action, this story could have been very different.
‘So it’s encouraging Mr West is sharing his experiences in the hope others will take heed. I wish him a speedy recovery.’