THE parents of an Aldbourne cyclist hit by a car while on a 6,000-mile ride through the Americas have said his life was only saved by his cycle helmet.
Oliver Arnott, 25, was on just his third day into a three-month trip of a lifetime as he aimed to cycle from Vancouver to Panama City.
The newly-qualified lawyer was flung 40 yards from his bike after being struck by an SUV as he cycled down route 101 in the east coast state of Washington.
After emergency services took 10 minutes to find him, Oliver was taken to Harborview Medical Centre in Seattle, escaping with a broken shoulder in four places, bruised lungs and a badly-bitten tongue.
However, Oliver’s father Stephen says his son owes his life to the new cycle helmet he had purchased specifically for the trip.
He told the Newbury Weekly News: “At the moment, we are just incredibly grateful he survived.
“He flew 40 yards after being hit, ending up in the bushes at the roadside, and was unconscious for around three hours.”
“Whoever made the cycle helmet saved another life because without it he undoubtedly would have died."
According to his father, the experienced cyclist, who had previously travelled from John O’Groats to Gibraltar to raise money for Help for Heroes, had taken all the precautions possible before setting off on the epic journey, but, as Mr Arnott admits, sometimes events such as this are beyond our control.
He said: “He had researched everything.
“My brother was knocked off his bike while cycling through America so Oliver knew the risks and did everything he could to minimise them.
“But sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it, other than stay in an arm chair and not do anything adventurous, which he was never going to do.”
Parents Stephen and Kathy are now hoping to get Oliver back to Aldbourne to help him recover – however Mr Arnott says he isn’t sure how long he’ll be able to keep the adventure-seeking lawyer at the family home.
“I think he’s hoping to return next week but it depends on being given the all-clear medically,” said Stephen.
“He’s a strong fellow and this was to be his last bit of freedom before starting work so he’s already talking about flying back out to America and taking it up again.”
From his hospital bed, Oliver described the aftermath of his lucky escape and just how fortunate he had been, in his online blog.
“My helmet has completely smashed, and my bike is crumpled scrap (sadly, it is beyond repair).
“In fact, every doctor I have spoken to thinks it’s a miracle," he wrote
“It is events like these that teach us to be grateful for every day that we are given and to enjoy our time on this earth.”