A CYCLIST from York whose helmet saved her life when she crashed into a bridge will tell her story on TV tonight.

Helicopter ER will feature Keren Wheeler, of Osbaldwick, who suffered head head trauma, cracked two vertebrae in her neck and spine and broke a rib, and was left with excruciating nerve damage in her arms and hands after the crash in 2018.

The accident happened when she was on her regular Sunday cycle ride in Ripon with the Yorkshire Lass Cycle Club and she suddenly lost control of bike and it slammed headfirst into the river bridge.

She said: “I remember coming up a hill and going round a right hand bend, and as I got to the top of the corner I put my brakes on and couldn’t stop. I then started barrelling down the hill.

“The descent seemed very short, but it was actually a very long drop. I think because I relaxed on the way down and thought to myself ‘this is it, there’s nothing I can do about it now’, it saved me from doing more damage.

"When I hit the wall I just dropped to the floor in the recovery position and couldn’t move, thinking I was paralysed.”

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance was dispatched and assessed her, and sent a second aircraft with a doctor on board to administer further complex analgesia before she was taken to Harrogate hospital by land ambulance.

Keren said she had had a long recovery, but was now back doing what she enjoyed, swimming and cycling and her fitness levels were back on par with before the crash.

Speaking about the importance of wearing a helmet, she said: “It’s a case of taking responsibility for yourself and your actions.

"You have to have respect for yourself. A helmet is vital."

*The episode airs on Channel Really (Freeview 17) at 9pm.