Alexis tells of bridge horror

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Here is what happened to us:

At about 13:30 last Saturday, the three of us on our bikes were heading to Kew Garden. Bike riding to Kew garden via the Thames path is something we've been doing for more than 16 years. When my daughter was a toddler we use to cross the bridge via the pedestrian path. We reverted to take the road probably 10 years ago after having been told off too many times by too many angry pedestrians!... I never felt comfortable riding on this bridge even though I'm a confident rider and ride every day to work (Hammersmith to Westminster bridge). I was ahead, my wife second and my daughter [Clara] last. My daughter is 18 and a confident rider too as we do many bike rides together and the London Bikeathon last year. She studies at Edinburgh University and rides her bike there very often. The traffic on our side of the road was very light as I could not see any car between us three ; however the traffic was very dense on the other side.

I was maybe into 1/3 of the bridge on my way south when I heard a big bang. Turned around and heard my daughter screaming... Dropped my bike and ran to the scene. I could not see my daughter as I could only see a silver car smashed again the main pillar of the bridge and my wife running as fast as possible to get to my daughter out. Another red car was in the middle of the road... My daughter was squeezed between the pillar (the bridge), her bike and the car. She could not exit and get her hand off the pillar. My wife was starting to climb on the car and bang on it to push it away... It was a terrifying scene, like an earthquake really. Fortunately I realised quickly that my daughter was okay. I felt immensely relieved as I really thought for a few second that it was the end since the noise was so strong as the two cars collided...

What really happened is whilst the silver car driver was overtaking my daughter’s bike, the driver of the red car coming from the other side of the traffic lost control of her vehicle... The silver car driver went to veer left and crash into the front of my daughter’s bike and squashed the front wheel of the bike... Then next the red car crashed into the silver car... It is lucky that the bike resisted somehow as it saved my daughter from being completely squeezed between the pillar and the car... When you think about it, my daughter felt she was in a pile up by first seeing the silver car coming into her and second the big bang of the red car into the silver one... What next?...

My hat to the police and ambulance service who were on the scene in no time. The public was ever so helpful too. Amazing to see the help we got from the people. The whole traffic was shut for a good 3 hours I think.
Anyway why this driver was overtaking my daughter on the bridge – and on the narrow section of the bridge too!!!! Not only 20mph limit should be enforced but a sign should be put up to signal to not overtake bicycles on the bridge!. There is simply not enough space for a car to overtake a bike safely.

My daughter is fine but too threatened to go back on a bike…
What a mess!

Alexis Vergez