Outram cyclist John Nicholl with the remains of his bicycle
and helmet yesterday after he was hit by a car travelling
at almost 100kmh on State Highway 1 on Saturday. Photo by
What is the first thing that goes through a cyclist's
head when he is hit from behind by a car travelling at nearly
Outram cyclist John Nicholl says usually it would be his bum
- the same as for a bumble bee.
The 45-year-old was quite jovial yesterday, despite nearly
being killed on Saturday, and was using humour as a means of
coming to terms with his extraordinary survival.
During one of his more serious moments, he said the first
thing he actually thought after being hit by the car was: ''I
should be dead''.
''Anyone who saw it thought I would have died in hospital.
''I know people have been killed along that road in the
Taieri College year 7 teacher, part-time Roxburgh Baptist
Church pastor, cyclist and runner said he had just cycled off
Henley Rd and on to State Highway 1 about 1pm on Saturday,
when he was struck by a Toyota Corolla travelling close to
''It was one of those split second things. I was in a high
gear and I wanted to cross the road, but I couldn't get
across quickly enough.
''So I went on the centre line, hoping the car would go
around me. But it didn't.
''I heard the horn toot and I heard the brakes squeal, and I
thought 'Whoops, here we go'.
''I thought it would be all over - especially at that speed.
''The car rammed up the back of me and I remember flying
through the air.
''I heard a big thud, I don't know what I hit. I woke up and
thought it was a bad dream.''
He was taken to Dunedin Hospital, and incredibly, escaped
with just a broken collar bone, concussion and multiple cuts
Rather than go out and buy a Lotto ticket, Mr Nicholl said he
was happy just to stay home with family and recover.
Luck had nothing to do with his survival, he said.
''We have a faith in God, so we don't believe it was luck.
''I think God's hand was on my life. My time wasn't up. I
still have things to do in my life - God has me here for a
Mr Nicholl's wife, Vanessa, said it could have been the worst
weekend of her life.
''We're just so relieved he's OK. I've got four children - I
could easily have been a widow.
''I shudder to think. It's everyone's worst nightmare.''
Mr Nicholl said the incident was a reminder it was
important to make the most of every second of life because
''you're only one second away from life or death''.
Mr Nicholl hoped the driver of the car which struck him was
all right, and apologised for putting him through the ordeal.
The driver was uninjured but the car's windscreen was broken.
Mr Nicholl hoped to be back at school by Wednesday but
conceded he would have to take it one day at a time.
Police inquiries into the incident are continuing.