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Haverhill cyclist, founder of HaverSports, wants safety improvements at Bumpstead Road/Sturmer Road junction where car knocked him down

A cyclist has called for safety improvements at a mini-roundabout in Haverhill where he was fortunate to escape serious injury – or worse – after being knocked off his bike by a car.

Jack Tappin was left with several cuts, massive bruising and torn back muscles after being sent flying into the oncoming lane as he turned right from Bumpstead Road into Sturmer Road at the junction’s mini-roundabout when the accident happened at about midday on Friday, May 26.

An avid triathlete and ironman, Jack, 35, had at the time been heading home to Shetland Road after a training ride.

Jack Tappin at the roundabout in Bumpstead Road/Sturmer Road, Haverhill, where he was hit by a car while cycling Picture by Mecha MortonPicture: Mecha Morton
Jack Tappin at the roundabout in Bumpstead Road/Sturmer Road, Haverhill, where he was hit by a car while cycling Picture by Mecha MortonPicture: Mecha Morton

Jack, who is currently unable to even bend and pick up his three daughters, aged four, three and five months, because of his injured back, described what happened.

He said: “I was coming down Bumpstead Road. I was going slow because I had my arm out to turn right.

“I’ve gone into the middle of the land so it’s quite obvious I’m turning right.

Jack Tappin cycling during a previous ironman challenge
Jack Tappin cycling during a previous ironman challenge

“I’ve looked to my right, there is no traffic coming so it’s clear and I’ve actually made the right turn and this taxi has just come through.

“I’m in the middle of the lane and he’s come through and hit me on the left and the next thing I know I’m in mid-air thinking am I going to die, am I going to be fine?

“There is nothing you can do, it’s just mid-air and you are waiting to land.

“I landed on the opposite side of the road. If there had been any traffic coming it would have gone straight into me.”

The driver that he collided with stopped, as did other passers by, including an off-duty nurse and an off-duty fire officer.

The nurse helped dress his cuts and the fire officer drove Jack and his bike home.

He currently has an ongoing personal injury claim relating to the accident.

Jack works in communicatons and is a former Haverhill Echo reporter, as well as being well-known for founding and running HaverSports, which organises many athletics events in this region, including the HaverTri.

His own experience at the junction has prompted him to make a plea for it to be improved, but other near misses have exacerbated that desire, including one for his wife.

“Paula had a near miss a few weeks back. Someone just came through from the left without even slowing. She did an emergency brake.

“The more she has told people about that, the more she’s heard about something simlar happening to other people.”

Jack, whose job involves communicatons around National Highways maintenance works in the East of England, believes some design changes to the junction could make drivers slow down on approach and while going over the mini-roundabout, be it by raising the roundabout or adding chevrons or a rumble strip to the road.

“It would be fairly easy and fairly cheap. It’s not like they need to build a new tunnel or a bridge,” he said.

“I can’t think of anywhere else in Haverhill that is that bad.”

His injuries from the crash have also sidelined him from his ironman and triathlon training, meaning he has probably ‘lost an entire race season’ and it also happened two days before he was due to cyle in the 100-miles long Ride London event.

Jack was also left stuck at home for the half-term week that followed his accident, missing out on trips that were planned for his family.

He added of the accident: “The key thing is that we don’t want it to happen again.

“I was not crippled or badly injured but It should not take that for something to change.”

Suffolk Highways has been approached for a comment.