Cyclist left for dead in hit and run horror

Cyclist Veronica Lester says she is lucky to be alive
Cyclist Veronica Lester says she is lucky to be alive

A keen cyclist setting out to fund-raise for charity was left for dead after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.

Veronica Lester said she feels lucky to be alive after being knocked to the ground off her bike on Breck Road, Poulton.

For someone to have hit me and not stopped is just unbelievable. It’s very callous, the driver would have felt hitting me.

Veronica Lester

The 62-year-old was left with a fractured skull, needing seven staples, and serious internal bruising and spent six days in Royal Preston Hospital’s trauma unit.

But the driver of the light blue hatchback, which fled the scene onto Moorland Road, is yet to come forward.

Now the mother-of-one and her husband, Simon, are appealing for any witnesses to come forward and for the driver to ‘do the right thing’.

Mrs Lester said: “For someone to have hit me and not stopped is just unbelievable. It’s very callous, the driver would have felt hitting me.

“I feel violated.

“I’ve no memory at all of what happened but I believe some children witnessed it, which isn’t nice.

“My bike isn’t that damaged but I’m really bruised so it looks like the car hit me and knocked me off and my bike has landed on top of me.”

Today the £2,000 bicycle bears little damage, but Mrs Lester’s £160 helmet is smashed and her professional clothing, worth hundreds of pounds, has been ruined.

She said: “I’m not just someone who doddles along on a bike.

“I’m a bold cyclist, to avoid this sort of thing.”

The cyclist had just completed a 20-mile training ride, ahead of a 100-mile London to Surrey charity ride in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in October.

She was just a few hundred metres from her home on nearby Derby Road when she was hit at around 11.45am on July 15..

A passing tradesman rushed to her aid, and emergency services were quickly on scene, closing off the main road while attending to the estate agent, who had lost consciousness.

But as yet no witnesses to the crash have come forward - and nor has the driver who fled the scene. Police have appealed for the driver of another car, which overtook Mrs Lester seconds before the crash, to also come forward.

Mr Lester, 63, told of his horror to be called by police officers from his wife’s phone, telling of the accident.

He said: “I got a call to say my wife was on her way to the trauma unit - to say it was a shock would be an understatement.

“You think, has she been paralysed? Has she lost 10 pints of blood?

“When I saw her it was really frightening but the doctors said she’d been very lucky and the helmet had protected her greatly.”

Mrs Lester, who has a young grandson, was unable to move for her first few days in hospital and will now undergo physiotherapy.

While she is determined not to let the incident put her off cycling she has stressed the importance of cyclists being confident and properly equipped on the roads, as well as for drivers to be mindful of other road users.

Mrs Lester, who is a member of the Fylde Coasters cycling club, said: “The idea is that cars overtake a cyclist like they would any other vehicle, but they don’t and that’s when these things happen.

“We have near misses all the time. Drivers just skim past.

“Cyclists must wear helmets and drivers need to give more thought to them.

“It’s nice to cycle in a group because you’re taken more seriously but it shouldn’t stop you being able to go for a ride on your own.

“I feel angry about what’s happened. It shows a real lack of respect not to stop, you shouldn’t leave someone lying in the side of the road unconscious.

“As it is, I’m lucky to be alive.”

PC Nigel Rowland, from Blackpool’s road policing unit, said: “CCTV enquires have shown a blue coloured car, possibly a Renault Clio orMegane, driving towards Garstang Road around the time of the collision. We would like to trace the driver of this vehicle as part of our enquires.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.