Camera caught moment bike helmet saved mum's life in horror accident


A mum has revealed footage of the moment her bicycle helmet saved her life - as she 'bulls-eyed' through a car windscreen when a driver 'failed to stop at a junction'. Sara Phipps had completed a 30-mile bike ride as part of her Ironman training and was on her way home when an Audi suddenly pulled out at the crossroads she claims to have had right of way on.

Horrifying footage shows the 48-year-old fly into the wing of the silver car, smashing into the windscreen and flipping onto the roof before being flung to the ground. The accounts assistant was blue-lighted to hospital where doctors treated a catalogue of injuries including a broken right shoulder, broken right femur and bruising and cuts to her hands.

Three years on from her accident in March 2021, Sara, who used to regularly run 40 miles, now relies heavily on her partner and daughter to do things for her. The mum-of-two is now urging cyclists to always wear a helmet, as she credits hers for saving her life.

Sara Phipps was flung into the air in horror crash
A mum has revealed footage of the moment her bicycle helmet saved her life - as she 'bulls-eyed' through a car windscreen when a driver 'failed to stop at a junction'. -Credit:Kennedy News and Media

Sara, from Coventry, West Midlands, said: "Watching the clip back, it doesn't feel like it's me. I was ambling along at a slow pace as I was coming to a crossroads. I had the right of way going downhill and she should have given way.

"It was a clear bright sunny day and she didn't [give way], she just carried on. I turned the handlebars of my bike, I tried to react, but it meant my right thigh took the full impact.

"It hit the wing of the car, my leg broke on impact, I saw and heard it break. I was flung onto the bonnet and then my head 'bulls-eyed' the windscreen and somehow I went onto the roof.

"As she slammed the brakes on I shot off into the road. I've never been in so much pain, I was screaming. I remember every single second. I spent over £100 on a helmet because I wanted the best. I credit my helmet with saving my life, at the very least my injuries would have been significantly worse. It did its job, it's amazing really."

Sara, who was riding a £6,000 Canyon triathalon bike at the time of the accident, was rushed to University Hospital Coventry in Coventry. There she received treatment for her injuries - including an operation to relieve compartment syndrome in her leg.

Surgeons had to slice her leg open from the thigh down to her knee and leave the wound open for four days to relieve the swelling, leaving her with a 16-inch long scar. Sara said: "The pain was instant, it really hurt. I was put on a spinal board and my legs were in blocks. I couldn't do anything but blink and talk, it was really scary.

"The drive to hospital was excruciating, every bump, every speed hump and every pothole hurt. The surgeon had to cut my leg, when they started to cut everything popped, that was the sign that my muscles were all swollen.

"I had an open wound for four days and I now have a 16-inch scar from my knee to my hip." After an eight-day stint in hospital, Sara was sent home with painkillers where she started to make a slow recovery.

Sara said: "I went from running 40 miles easily to needing a commode downstairs because I couldn't get upstairs to use the toilet.

"My world was massive and then all of a sudden it was a few feet across the room to sit on a commode. I just felt like I lost my entire life and I had terrible PTSD, which I still get now which is awful."

Now Sara is urging anyone who gets on a bike to wear a helmet. Sara said: "I have PTSD, it drives me crazy. Physically I struggled with putting on weight because I can't do any exercise and suffer with terrible fatigue.

"It's still an ongoing struggle, my partner still does most things around the house and my daughter ferries me everywhere. Ending up with scars and mentally damaged is a lot uncooler than having messy hair.

"You could sustain injuries and your head will be the thing that gets messed up. Nine times out of ten you go over the handlebars and your head is the first thing that hits anything, so wear a helmet.

"You could be out on the roads doing all the right things and somebody else does something wrong, it happens all the time. You're the most vulnerable person on the road. It could be the difference between life and death."

West Midlands Police were contacted for comment.