While on a training ride for the collegiate UC Merced Cycling Team near the historic California gold rush town of Jamestown in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Ethan Fann and his three friends encountered a car at high speeds, catching the whole thing on video.
The four riders were descending the technical and aptly named Twist Road when the incident occurred.
Fann said, “It was just a matter of ‘wrong place wrong time’. Fortunately for us, the driver stopped and helped us make the necessary calls to emergency services which were then able to get to us within a couple of minutes.”
In the video of the incident which took place in June 2015, the first rider to hit the vehicle sustained a concussion as well as multiple bone fractures and had to be airlifted to the local hospital. His helmet virtually disintegrated when hitting the driver’s side window of the van and likely saved his life.
Fann notes, “The second miracle is how he landed on top of his brother which prevented his unprotected head from hitting the asphalt.”
The rider to the left of the vehicle and Fann only sustained minor injuries; some bruising, a few stitches and road rash.
By using the video, local police were able to determine the driver of the vehicle was at fault for being too far to the left of the road when making the turn around the blind corner.
Although Fann knows they weren’t in the wrong, he knows he and his friends were extremely lucky: “I still learned the lesson that I should be incredibly careful when outriding my line of sight.”
Since the crash, all four riders have made complete recoveries.
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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
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