A CYCLIST has spoken for the first time of her long road to recovery after suffering severe head injuries in an accident on a controversial York bus lane.
Georgina Steel said she suffered three brain bleeds after an accident with a bus on the lane in Fulford Road, and needed two operations to save her life.
She was then induced into a coma for a fortnight before making a remarkable recovery and eventually returning to her job as a civil servant at Imphal Barracks.
But she says the injuries have still left her short-tempered and impatient, with poor short-term memory and concentration, and in recent months she has repeatedly had to take time off work without sick pay – causing her financial difficulties – because of “banging, pulsating” sensations in her head.
Georgina, 42, formerly of Holgate in York but now living in Riccall, near Selby, said she believed the accident would not have happened but for the bus lane. She said she had just turned right out of the barracks after finishing work and crossed Fulford Road when the collision happened with a bus coming along the lane towards York.
Her close friend Gill Sykes, of Fulford, said she had been convinced in the weeks prior to the accident that confusion caused by the bus lane would lead to a terrible accident, and had then been appalled to discover her friend had ended up the victim.
She hoped similar problems would not arise with the proposed new bus lanes in Boroughbridge Road. Georgina said she believed a cycle helmet might have prevented her injuries and revealed that while she had had one at the time of the accident, she had left it behind at home that day.
“I had got really lazy about wearing it,” she said.
She said that having since got back on her bike, she never cycled anywhere without wearing it nowadays. “I would urge others to wear their helmets,” she said.
She praised the care she received from medics immediately after the accident and subsequently in rehabilitatin, but said she felt she had failed to receive the after-care she needed.
City of York Council said a review of Fulford Road had been carried out by the authority in 2010 and as a result, alterations were made to the layout to improve safety and understanding of the road layout.
“York was named the safest city to cycle in according to the national cycling charity CTC and we have achieved this status through a comprehensive approach including priority traffic lights for cyclists, advanced stop lanes, a city-wide network of off-road cycle paths and on-road cycle lanes,” said a spokeswoman.
She said York had been at the forefront of delivering safe cycling facilities for many years but the council recognised that more could always be done to make the city’s roads safer.
“Complacency on this issue is not an option,” she said, adding that a full safety audit would be carried out in Boroughbridge Road as part of the scheme’s development and delivery – which was standard practice on all schemes.
Georgina said that anyone with head injuries who would like to join her in setting up a support group in York should email her on firstname.lastname@example.org