Matt Walls velodrome crash leaves family traumatised
It was arguably the scariest indoor cycling crash scene in recent times, and now the family who narrowly escaped injury have called for a review into the safety of spectators.
The London velodrome accident last week at the Commonwealth Games saw 15km scratch competitor Matt Walls fly over the fence and into the crowd, while multiple other riders went down in the incident.
Walls, Matt Bostock and Derek Gee were all hospitalised.
The crash sparked serious concerns for fans watching on after several people, including children, were seen ducking for cover.
It has now been revealed Walls’ bike landed where a five-year-old boy and another child had been sitting prior to moving up one row to see more of the track.
The parents of one of the children, Hugh and Laura Colvin, say they regret sitting so close with children and were “completely unaware” fans could be caught in the firing line.
“If we had known for a moment that there was a risk that a bike with an adult male going at that speed could come into contact with my seven-year-old daughter, my family would never have been there,” Laura told the BBC.
“It all happened so incredibly quickly at the speed the cyclists were going,” Hugh said.
“You can see the trajectory of the bike, it came through, grazed my daughter’s shoulder, and (in) one of the photos you can see we are obviously underneath the wheel.
“It must have been within centimetres, millimetres, of our heads.”
Laura added: “What has been quite hard for us to get our head around is being able to see from the photographs that were taken of the incident exactly how close this came to being a complete catastrophe and how close our two younger children came to being seriously injured or killed.”
“That has been the main thing we’ve had to reflect on over the last few days,” she said.
One of the adults that attended with the family suffered what the hospital described as “being like a machete injury” and needs surgery on a deep cut on his arm.
“It’s been really difficult for him,” she said.
“In addition to the soft tissue and muscle injury he’s got a partially severed tendon in his arm, so it is the start of a long road to recovery for him.”
The Colvins said Walls had been in touch with their daughter which has helped ease the trauma of the incident.
The accident comes as calls grow more safety measures at velodromes
“I think the crashes are getting worse and it’s because the speeds are getting higher, the positions are getting more extreme,” England’s five-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny said
“At some point the UCI are going to have to put a cap on these positions. Maybe there should be screens because Matt should not have been able to go over the top and into the crowd – that’s pretty damn dangerous.
“Matt was laughing and making jokes with the paramedics, which is brilliant to hear, but if he’d not gone over, he would have done less damage and certainly done less damage to the little girl (in the crowd).”