Cyclist almost dies after impaling himself on metal pole

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter

A Perth cyclist has revealed the horror moment he thought he was going to die after impaling his groin on a road sign pole.

Neil McLagan, 37, from Perth, was cycling just 100 metres from his home in Seville Grove on May 22 when he became distracted by his broken electronic device on his bike’s handlebars.

“‘Look out buddy!’ someone said and without a chance to look up I was straight into the back of the roadworks trailer,” the father-of-two recalled to Yahoo7 News.

He had struck the back of a road workers trailer while looking down at his GPS, flying off his bike and plummeting into a sign. He impaled his inner thigh with the support pole of a road sign, piercing his groin.

Mr McLagan landed on top of a road sign, impaling his groin on a metal pole. Source: Supplied
Mr McLagan landed on top of a road sign, impaling his groin on a metal pole. Source: Supplied

“It opened up my groin and I lost a heck of a lot of blood. At the time I thought I wasn’t going to make it.”

Road worker Rodney, who had tried to warn Mr McLagan, rushed to his aid, applying pressure to his gaping wound after Mr McLagan lifted himself off the pole.

The experienced cyclist, who recently completed a Perth to Sydney ride unaided, said the traumatic experience prompted a wave of emotion as he lay there in a “matter of life and death”.

The father-of-two was riding along a stretch of road he knew “like the back of my hand” when he crashed into the back of a trailer. Source: Google Maps
The father-of-two was riding along a stretch of road he knew “like the back of my hand” when he crashed into the back of a trailer. Source: Google Maps

“Nothing else in that moment was important other than my family and trying to survive.”

Mr McLagan was rushed to a nearby hospital for a blood transfusion to replace two litres of lost blood before being transferred to Perth for vital surgery.

It was there where doctors revealed he had missed his femoral artery by a millimetre. If the pole had struck it, he would have almost certainly died.

“It narrowly missed everything major, if it was going to hit anywhere, it needed to be there,” he said.

Mr McLagan said he couldn’t think of anything but his family as he lay there thinking he was going to die. Source: Supplied
Mr McLagan said he couldn’t think of anything but his family as he lay there thinking he was going to die. Source: Supplied

“It’s a miracle, I should buy a lotto ticket.”

The next thing he remembers is waking up and being showered in hugs and kisses from his family – his wife Cara and three-year-old son, Caelan, and 14-year-old daughter, Leah.

“It’s such an overwhelming moment. One minute you think you’re not going to make it to the next where your partner is giving you hugs and kisses,” he recalled.

“My partner was very overwhelmed, it was very difficult for us all to go through this trauma. Not just physical but emotional trauma for all of us.”

He says without the help of the medics and Rodney who “saved his life”, he most likely wouldn’t be here to tell his tale.

Now on the long road to recovery, Mr McLagan says his ordeal has been life-changing not just physically but also with his outlook. Source: Supplied
Now on the long road to recovery, Mr McLagan says his ordeal has been life-changing not just physically but also with his outlook. Source: Supplied

Now on the long road to recovery after being discharged from hospital, Ms McLagan has had time to reflect and says he deeply regrets allowing himself to get distracted while on the road.

“The risk isn’t worth it, theres a great deal of regret,” he said.

“Theres no excuse because I allowed that to distract me. It doesn’t matter if you’re a cyclist or motorist or pedestrian, 10 seconds of distraction can cost you your life. I live with that regret now.”

The accident has been a massive eye opener for the father and says his desire to jump back on his road bike when eventually able to has diminished.

“I don’t think I have any desire to jump back on a road bike. I’d be happy to jump on a mountain bike around a lake with my family and kids though.”

Mr McLagan wants to use his ordeal to warn other cyclists and road users that a split second decision to check a phone or device can have gargantuan consequences.

“The message I would hit home now is be as prevalent as you can in the moment because if you’re distracted by these things while being on the road, its not only a risk to your life but others around you.”