A MOTORCYCLIST told today how he miraculously escaped with his life in an accident on the A64 at notorious Bilbrough Top.

Peter Cahill was thrown off his machine, flew into the air and struck a car bonnet and windscreen before falling on to the road.

He says police and paramedics who rushed to the scene told him they would have expected someone involved in such an accident to be killed, or at least seriously injured.

"I can't remember anything about it, but they said: 'You shouldn't be here,' " said Peter, of Askham Lane, York.

But the 37-year-old escaped with nothing worse than cuts, bruises, strained muscles and a chipped tooth.

"The car's bonnet, windscreen and roof were damaged when I hit them, and my bike, a Yamaha 900, is a write-off," he said.

"They X-rayed me for 50 minutes when I got to hospital, but there were no fractures. I should at least have lost my leg.

"My helmet saved me. It had paint from the car on it."

Peter said he had just emerged on to the westbound carriageway from a gap in the central reservation when he was caught up in a sideways-on crash with a car coming along the dual carriageway's outside lane.

He believed the car had originally been travelling at about 50 mph but had been braking before the accident.

The crash happened only days before the Government announced last week that a flyover was finally to be built at Bilbrough Top, allowing the central reservation gap to be shut. The Evening Press had been vigorously campaigning for such measures on safety grounds.

Peter said he fully supported the flyover and closure of the gap. "It should have happened years ago. I knew it was a very dangerous location before the accident happened."

He praised paramedics who put him in a neck brace and board before taking him to hospital, because of concerns he might have suffered a serious fracture. "They were absolutely fantastic," he said. Traffic Constable Martin Brown, who attended the accident, said Mr Cahill could have been killed.

"Motorcyclists are very vulnerable," he said.

"I think it was a glancing blow rather than a full-on impact. He was just lucky."

Station Officer paramedic Jim Bryan, of Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service, who attended the scene, said: "He is lucky to be alive. He suffered no obvious injuries and the situation could have been a lot worse."

Updated: 10:56 Wednesday, November 05, 2003