'I thought I was dead' — Motorcyclist was thrown hundreds of metres at high speed
- Credit: Andrew White
A motorcyclist who suffered life-changing injuries in a horrific accident has said he wouldn't have survived without his protective gear.
Andrew White was riding his Kawasaki z750r behind a friend in a car on Main Road in Woolverstone on November 23, when he went to overtake after a signal from the driver.
At a very slow speed, the 26-year-old went to pass the car and his tyre slipped on a metal drain cover.
From there, things rapidly went wrong as his hand slipped on the throttle and the bike quickly got up to very high speeds –throwing Andrew over 250 metres through bushes, a fence and smashing his body into a verge.
He was taken to Ipswich Hospital by ambulance where some of his extensive injuries were treated, before being taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital for specialist surgery.
After three days in intensive care and a long stay in Cambridge, he came home to recover last week, but has been told he may never fully regain the use of his right leg due to nerve damage.
"I don't know how I survived the accident," Andrew recalled. "I was put on ketamine for pain relief and had an out-of-body experience where I was looking at myself screaming in pain and I genuinely thought I was dead.
"I will never go back on a bike again though. I don't know how I didn't die that day and someone must have been looking down on me — they might not be next time — and I couldn't do that to my loved ones.
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"Bikes are dangerous, when I was in Addenbrooke's most of the others in A&E and intensive care were bikers involved in accidents."
His fiancé Charlotte Wilkins, who works at Colchester Hospital, made the long drive to visit him every day at Addenbrooke's while he was on the ward.
Now, he is back at their home in Capel St Mary and faces months of rehabilitation.
Andrew was told by doctors his injuries would have been far more severe had he not been wearing his protective clothing — a jacket with backboard, specialist trousers and boots.
Only two of his vertebrae were damaged thanks to the backboard, and he may not have a right leg at all without the long boots holding his ankle in place.
"The doctors and nurses at Addenbrooke's and Ipswich were all amazing," he added.
"I worked extremely hard to get out of hospital before Christmas and I'm still affected psychologically, experiencing bad flashbacks and nightmares where the pain still feels so real, I even wake up screaming sometimes."
As well as dealing with the psychological trauma from his accident, Andrew is only receiving statutory sick pay and fears he will never again be able to work on the railways if his full mobility does not return.
A fundraiser has been launched to help support him and Charlotte through the festive period.