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Islington accident victim attacks Boris Johnson over bike helmets

PUBLISHED: 06:50 19 November 2010

Alex Doodle. Picture: Dieter Perry�

Alex Doodle. Picture: Dieter Perry

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A WOMAN whose life was saved by a bicycle helmet has called for a law to make them mandatory.

In June 2009, Alex Doodle, 38, was horrifically injured in Islington Green when her bike collided with a pedestrian who wandered into the road without looking.

The impact knocked Ms Doodle unconscious, split her crash helmet and left her temporarily paralysed.

Seventeen months on she is still off work – but she knows things could have been even worse had she not been wearing a helmet.

The architecture graduate, who lives in Englefield Road, Islington, said: “This guy came from behind a lamppost and just stepped into the road in front of me. He was on his mobile phone and he just didn’t look.

“I slammed my brakes and my arm hit him. Apparently I flew three metres through the air and landed on the back of my head.

“When I came round I could not move my arms or my legs or my head for seven hours, but I just thank God I had a helmet on. It’s frustrating that it’s not the law because people’s lives could be saved, like mine was.

“It’s just crazy. In other countries such as Canada it’s been the law for years.”

Ms Doodle has criticised the Mayor of London’s bicycle hire scheme for its lack of safety provision.

“I’ve only seen one poster for the Mayor’s bikes with a person wearing a helmet and the bikes do not come with helmets,” she said.

But cycling groups remain unconvinced about the case for compulsory helmets. John Ackers, secretary of Islington Cyclists Action Group (ICAG), said: “There’s a divided view among our members. The counter argument to helmets is that drivers tend to think you’re not going to do anything rash and will get closer. Whereas, without one, motorists stay well away.”

Adrian Williams, an ICAG committee member, said: “We’re not convinced the statistical evidence shows they are any use for adults. The statistical evidence is poor that they are any use in saving lives.”

Risks

Ms Doodle believes her life was saved by a helmet – and she hopes her story will help other cyclists realise the risks they run.

Although she survived the incident, it has left her with life changing injuries.

She is in constant pain, suffers from severe headaches, and is awaiting neck surgery for prolapsed and bulging discs.

Her memory and motor skills have been affected – and the one-time successful furniture designer has not been able to work since.

She added: “I can’t draw any more. I have lost my fine motor-skills – I have a shake in my hand. And simple things like dressing and trying to wash my hair are really difficult.”


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