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Cycling helmet saved my life
6:00pm Sunday 13th January 2013 in News
Dentist Laurinda Watt, who was injured in a serious cycling accident, will return to work in two weeks time, after her life was saved by wearing a helmet.
Dr Watt, a mother-of-two who is based at the High Street Dental Practice in Chippenham, had two major operations on her neck after a motorcyclist ran over her during a family cycling holiday in France.
She says her recovery is due to the fact she was wearing a helmet, to members of the cycling group who stopped her from moving while an ambulance arrived, and to doctors at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol who operated on her.
Dr Watt, of Malmesbury Road, Chippenham, was cycling with her husband, her sons aged 14 and 11, and members of a holiday cyclist tour when the accident happened.
On the first day of the holiday, in August, the group had cycled half a mile out of the chateau where they were staying when Dr Watt, who was at the front of the group, spotted a motorcyclist approaching them.
She said: “I turned round slightly to call out a warning and I think I bumped into someone or something and fell off my bike.
“I rolled over to the far side of the road, but unfortunately the motorbike went in the same direction to avoid me. It went right over me.
“The helmet helped absorb the impact but if I hadn’t been wearing it something would have broken my skull.”
Dr Watt broke her neck in three places and her sternum. After a week in hospital in France she was flown home on a private plane.
Despite her experience and a long period of rehabilitation, Dr Watt was able to go out with her husband on their tandem bike a fortnight ago.
She said the experience has taught her how important it is to wear a helmet and she wants to warn people of the danger of cycling without one.
Dr Watt said: “Because it happened half a mile from where we started, I wouldn’t even cycle to the shop without a helmet. It was just a short journey – you don’t know what can happen.
“My neck has slightly limited movement, but otherwise I’m fine. I’ve had this awful accident but because I was taking precautions and I had a helmet, they put me back together and now I can go back to work.”
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