Kenilworth Olympian Ciara Horne is hoping her recent brush with death can make the roads safer for fellow cyclists.
Horne feels “lucky to be alive” after a collision with a car while cycling to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital where she works as physiotherapist.
“I’m really lucky to be alive,” said the 27-year-old who has been inundated with well-wishes as she recuperates from the accident, described as “spectacular” by an onlooker.
“I’m very grateful for the support, it’s been overwhelming, especially from my boyfriend and my parents.
“It’s every parent’s nightmare to get a phone call saying your daughter has been hit by a car.”
Following on from the collision, Horne shared a shocking image of herself in a neck brace on her way to A&E where she received stitches in her lip but was found to have escaped more serious injuries.
And in the wake of the death of endurance cyclist Mike Hall, who was in collision with a car in Australia and a spate of similar incidents in London in recent months, Horne is using her profile to raise awareness of the dangers posed to commuters.
“What I want to do is build a mutual respect between cyclists and drivers,” said Horne, whose neck brace tweet received more than 1,000 retweets.
“There used to be a campaign, ‘Think once, think twice, think bike’.
“It was disturbing but effective.
“My advice would be for drivers to think more.
“I’m not saying all drivers are bad, some cyclists don’t wear the right equipment.
“But I was visible and I was safe.
“I just want drivers to think for an extra five seconds. Check there are no cyclists.”
Horne admitted she will speak to Sport Wales psychologists in a bid to build up her confidence ahead of a return to the road.
However, that will have to wait with ligament damage meaning her wrist will be in a splint for six weeks, forcing her on to the turbo trainer.
“If you are a horse rider and fall off a horse, people often say you have to get straight back in the saddle and the more you do it the more your confidence will grow,” said Horne who also suffered concussion in the fall.
“I can’t because of the injury but I’m not going to let one bad experience affect my goal.
“Ultimately, it was completely out of my control.”
That goal is to make the Wales squad for the team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in Australia next year where she is expected to line up alongside Rio gold medallist Elinor Barker.
Horne cruelly missed out on a medal in 2016 despite being part of the GB team pursuit quartet in the heats but having stepped away from British Cycling to work full-time alongside her training in Newport, she says her latest setback will not alter her focus.
“I want to excel as a physio and I want to excel at cycling. I want to be able to do both.
“Prior to this I was in a pretty good place.
“Some of my efforts have been better than they have ever been.
“I was in a happy place. Now I’ll just have to train smarter.”