A Hampsthwaite cyclist has said he is ‘lucky to be alive’ after a crash with a lorry left him with brain damage earlier this year.
Kevin Smith, 58, was left fighting for his life and had to be resuscitated twice after the crash on Otley Road, Harrogate. He spent a week in a coma after the crash.
“I knocked on heaven’s door twice but got turned away,” said Mr Smith. “It has made me think I am here for something, I am here for a reason.”
The keen cyclist is now planning a charity fundraising event at the Harrogate Big Bike Bash next month to raise money for Macmillan Cancer care and hopes to get back in the saddle, even if just for a few minutes, six months after the crash.
He added: “Let’s do everything I ever wanted to do and if I can raise money for charity while I am here, then I will.”
Mr Smith was cycling home from work at the National Milk Records in January - a route he took every day - when he was knocked off his bike by the lorry.
He said: “There was a lot of luck involved in a strange way; an off-duty nurse saved my life. He was riding home from work and saw the blue lights from the police and came to see if he could help.
“He caught me just as I was gasping my last breath, and saved me. He said he wouldn’t normally ride that way home.”
Mr Smith then had to be resuscitated for a second time in the ambulance on the way to A&E at Harrogate District Hospital.
His wife Sue, 55, a pharmacist at Cohen’s Chemist in Harrogate, said that she knew something was wrong because of the Endomondo App Mr Smith uses on his phone.
“He was late home from work,” she said.
“I called my son, Mark, who said he could see on the app that he was stopped on Otley Road so I drove straight there and found all the police.
“It was awful, just an awful day, the worst day of our lives. He is lit up like a Christmas tree when he is on that bike so I didn’t think he would get knocked over.”
Mr Smith suffered serious head injuries and brain damage and spent three weeks in hospital before he moved home to Hampsthwaite to be cared for by his wife.
The head injuries have had a lasting impact, he said: “I am a lot more talkative now than I used to be. It has changed my perspective on things.”
After intensive physiotherapy Mr Smith has been back on his bike. He said: “I went to the end of the street, it was fantastic.
“I have come a long way, better than I thought, I still have a long way to go but I have a vision, and with the support of my family and friends I know I will get there.”
Now the father of two is planning a static cycle ride on the Stray during the Big Bike Bash, Harrogate Council’s Tour de France legacy event on June 20 and 21. Two exercise bikes will be set up, and friends and family of Mr Smith will take turns to push the pedals throughout the day.
To sponsor Mr Smith visit www.justgiving.com/KevsBigBikeBash/