A cyclist who narrowly escaped death has released this shocking image of his mangled helmet that has been shared over 34 MILLION times.
Experienced rider Ben Hobbs, 46, was struck down by a recycling van when he was cycling to work one morning.
The large van smashed into the dad-of-two and knocked him from his bike before he suffered a broken spine, broken ribs, broken sternum and a head injury.
Now Ben is encouraging others to share the hard-hitting image as a stark warning to cyclists who don’t wear protective gear.
He said: “It’s quite surprising that the image has had such an impact. It has been shared around the county and I’m really grateful for that.
“I’ve heard cyclists say that helmets are not the be all and end all because they only cover certain places but the helmet certainly worked for me.”
Ben, who has two children, Eden, 13, and Reece, 9, was rushed to Torbay Hospital A&E, in Devon, after a van driver cut across his path and hit him off his bike.
He said: “I don’t know what speed I was going at when the driver cut across in front of me but I didn’t have time to stop.
“I was on my way to work and it was about 9am when the accident happened. There were a few people who stopped to help and a fantastic first aider who had to stop me from trying to get up.
“People kept telling me that I was in a mess but I didn’t know what was going on. I kept trying to get up and I didn’t know I had a serious spinal injury.”
“I don’t remember much but the first thing I can clearly remember is being in the ambulance. In the hospital I still didn’t accept that it had happened to me and kept trying to get out of bed in the night.
“By day three a nurse sat down with me and said you’ve broken your back and you need to stay in bed.”
Ben, who lives with wife Tammy, is still recovering from the incident on March 19 where he was just moments from death.
He says he owes his survival to his Specialized Echelon helmet after medics told him he was lucky to be alive.
He said: “My head injury was right on the top of my head. The helmet has done the job for me.
“I’m a good rider and I’m confident. Nothing like this has happened to me before and I’ve been riding since I was four or five.
“I ride about 6,000 miles a year in Devon and commute to work everyday which is about
13 miles. I had just finished doing a complete overhaul of my bike and it was in 100 per cent condition.
“You’ve got no control of what will happen when you are on the roads. As a cyclist I make a balanced decision and go by the theory that you need to expect the unexpected. You don’t know what people are going to do.”
Mark Walker, a first responder for South Western Ambulance Service, shared the photo on his Facebook page after he was sent it by a colleague.
He said: “He is a lucky man. If it had been his head that had hit the van he wouldn’t be here today. He was wearing the helmet in the correct position and it took the pressure of the impact.
“This is a powerful image and that shows the importance of wearing a helmet when cycling on the road.”