‘It must have been millimeters from our heads’: Family involved in horror Commonwealth Games cycling crash say it was almost a ‘total crash’ which could have ‘seriously injured or killed’ their two young ones children
The family involved in a horrific Commonwealth Games cycling crash say they were just ‘millimeters’ away from a ‘total disaster’.
In the second qualifying heat of the men’s 15km qualifier on Sunday, a high-speed collision with many riders saw England’s Matt Walls fly over the barrier and into the crowd on his bike.
Walls, 24, received treatment at Lee Valley VeloPark for more than 40 minutes before being taken by ambulance, while the Isle of Man’s Matt Bostock and Canada’s Derek Gee also went to hospital for tests.
Olympic omnium champion Walls tried to avoid riders who had crashed further down the slope, but as he went up he hooked another wheel and went over the top and into the first two rows of spectators.
This is where Hugh Colvin sat with his two young children, aged five and seven, along with several family friends. He says Walls contacted his daughter.
“It all happened so incredibly quickly with the speed the cyclists were going,” Mr Colvin told the BBC. “You can see the trajectory of the bike, it went over, it grazed my daughter’s shoulder and in one of the pictures you see, we’re obviously under the wheel.
“I was facing the other way because I had my head turned, but looking back at the pictures it must have been inches, millimeters from our heads and obviously close enough to graze my daughter.”
England’s Matt Walls lands in the crowd during the final lap of the men’s 15km race on Sunday
Hugh Colvin sat in the first two rows of spectators with his two young children
Mr Colvin’s wife Laura was not at the velodrome but admitted her husband and children would never have gone if they had known a disaster of this nature could happen.
“What was quite difficult for us to understand is to be able to see from the pictures that were taken of the accident, exactly how close this was to a total disaster,” she said.
“And how close our two younger children came to being seriously injured or killed. And that was the main thing we had to think about in the last few days.
Family say they were ‘millimeters’ away from ‘total disaster’
“If we had known for a moment that there was a risk of a bicycle with an elderly man traveling at that speed coming into contact with my seven-year-old daughter, my family would never be there.”
A statement released by event organizers said members of the crowd were treated at the scene by paramedics for minor injuries following the crash but did not require hospital treatment.
A man was reported to have received treatment for cuts to his arm and a young girl was also treated, while another member of the crowd was taken away in a wheelchair covered in blood.
Sir Chris Hoy called for protective screens to be installed at velodromes after the incident
However, Mrs Colvin revealed that one of their friends will need surgery after suffering a serious arm injury.
“He suffered a laceration to the bone which the hospital described as a machete injury,” she said. “It was very difficult for him, he is still waiting for an operation. In addition to the soft tissue and muscle injuries, he has a partially torn tendon in his arm, so this is the start of a long road to recovery for him.
Sir Chris Hoy and Dame Laura Kenny led calls for protective screens to be installed at velodromes in light of the incident.
“I hope people in power look at this and think that something really needs to be done before something really serious happens in the future,” Hoy said.
“I think it’s preventable if you put a Plexiglas screen around it [the spectators] like they do in ice hockey.
“It was horrible and it was going through my mind earlier,” Kenny added. “We all know it’s a dangerous sport. But crashes are getting worse because speeds are increasing.
“Maybe there should have been screens because Matt shouldn’t have been able to go over the top and into the crowd. This is the third time I’ve seen someone overdo it.