M20 Motorcyclist Speaks Of Lucky Escape

31 August 2016, 11:23

A motorcyclist has speaking about how he lucky he feels to have escaped serious injury when a footbridge collapsed on the M20 near West Malling on Saturday

Grandfather-of-three Jim Shaw, 73, says he had visited a bikers' cafe in Maidstone and was riding home to London when the bridge came down right in front of him, after being hit by a digger being carried on the back of a lorry.

He was travelling at 65mph and forced to take evasive action.

Speaking from his hospital bed, he said: "I didn't get a lot of time. One minute the bridge was there and the next it wasn't. It all happened so fast. Initially all I saw was one end of the bridge come down.

"As the bridge came down, I threw the bike on the ground, and I ended up just clearing it. I was lucky. Everyone now keeps asking me to suggest their Lottery numbers.''

Mr Shaw revealed his wife Doreen, 68, only found out he had been taken to hospital in Tunbridge Wells suffering from broken ribs after she rang him to ask him to bring the washing in.

"I told her, 'I won't be able to do that','' he said. "And she said, 'why not?' I said it's because I'm in hospital.

Mr Shaw said he is unsure whether his bike is still roadworthy, but the drama has not put him off returning to the roads once he has recovered.

"It's just one of those things,'' he said. "How often does a bridge fall down? It has certainly given the insurance company something to think about.''

The collapse sparked hours of traffic chaos on one of the busiest weekends of the year, and the M20 only completely reopened to traffic more than 24 hours after the incident.