Mountain biker Tim Rowsell filmed another rider crashing hard headfirst and knocking himself unconscious in the Surrey Hills

A mountain biker who filmed a fellow rider being knocked unconscious after a head-first crash in the Surrey Hills is urging cyclists to wear helmets, claiming it saved the man from more severe injuries.

Tim Rowsell captured the shocking footage on a GoPro camera and sent it to Eagle Radio to highlight the dangers of riding without a helmet.

The injured cyclist, named only as Andy, landed badly on a jump in the forest, with his front wheel hitting the ground and sending him flying over the handlebars.

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His face and helmet took the brunt of the impact, but Andy was still knocked unconscious for several minutes as Tim and other riders tried to bring him round.

“If you wear a helmet it can save your life and I genuinely believe that he would have been in a lot worse a state if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet at the time,” Tim told Eagle Radio.

“He was incredibly lucky and you can see at the end of the video that the helmet took the main impact and really was quite badly damaged.

“It was an old helmet, which he hadn’t used for a couple of years, but it did the job.”

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In the same story, cycling charity CTC said it did not support calls for mandatory wearing of helmets, saying that the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks involved, but added that it depended on what type of cycling the rider is doing.

  • Nigel B

    Well said Tim – what a dopey thing to say from the other poster. Anyone can see you were trying to help this man and seemed to know what you were doing, you remained very calm and told the person calling 999 to search for the grid reference which I now know how to do so thank you for that. Good job you were there!

  • Adam Beevers

    You don’t get it do you? You fall of your bike, you can hit your head on the floor, regardless of what you are doing or how fast you are going. That guy was hardly doing anything extreme.

  • Jon Hall

    Articles like this are often the same, though. Someone who was doing something quite extreme-sporty hurts themselves and urges EVERYONE to wear PPE. It’s a bit like a rally driver urging everyone to fit roll bars in their family hatchback.

  • Adam Beevers

    May well be, but smacking your head on the floor from falling off your bike at a standstill is still going to hurt.

  • Tim Rowsell

    So it was me that you can hear ‘Bleating at him’ in the video.
    Just to be clear from the outset here I am quite extensively trained in first aid and incident management – including neck injuries.
    The position I was holding his head in was a neutral position in line with his spine and head slightly back to keep the airway open. You also can’t see too well in the video that his mouth was bleeding quite heavily initially so had to keep him on his side to prevent blood from entering his airway, so I was doing exactly as you suggest by looking after his breathing.
    Talking to an unconscious casualty is common practice to encourage them to respond and wake up as well as work out their level of unconsciousness (and not ‘fairly dumb’ as you suggest). You first go for a ‘Voice’ response (asking his name) then a ‘Command’ (Open your eyes) then a ‘Pain’ response (a suitable pinch) which you can’t make out me doing on the video.
    As he came round I was asking multiple times if he had neck or back pain to which he said he didn’t. Because of his confused state he just wanted to stand up (natural human reaction) and could have been more harmful to try to hold him down.
    Yes, he very graciously consented to the video being posted to highlight the importance of helmet use which I think is an incredibly noble decision. I’ve already heard of people who have bought helmets because of this video.

  • J1

    I was just thinking that the first aid left a lot to be desired. I do worry when people say ‘don’t move them!’ though, that doesn’t matter if he’s not breathing. Always check airways.

  • Keith Mason

    Once you’ve established he’s unconscious but breathing, all you can do in a situation like that is to try to keep his head / neck still and his airway open till the paramedics arrive. If you have a couple looking after his head a third could give him a quick primary survey to check for any serious bleeding, open fractures etc. As you saw in the vid, keeping him immobile once he starts to regain consciousness is the trickier bit…

  • agfkl

    I’m relieved to see there was a happy ending to this saga, and kudos to the guys who helped Andy on the day. Picking up from “Wear a helmet’s” post, I’d like to ask what they really should have done…answers preferably from qualified persons please, not just anyone who’s got an uncle with a cub scouts’ first aid badge.

  • Jon Hall

    There’s a huge difference between the type of riding the man in the video is doing, and (for example) a gentle pootle on a quiet cycle-lane to the shops.

  • Wear a helmet

    He could easily have suffered major cervical spine damage and should have been immobilised very carefully in a position that looked after his airway.
    Holding the guys head at an awkward angle while constantly bleating at him to respond when he is clearly unconscious is fairly dumb and also could have caused catastrophic damage if unstable neck fracture. Hope this guy consented to this video being posted

  • Jim Crute

    I really hate ‘mandatory’ anything……but cycling, snowboarding or skiing without a helmet is just plain DUMB! A helmet will not prevent a concussion – but it may stop you from getting your head cracked open!