Vernon, B.C. — Eleanor Wilmot, 66, is sure she’d be dead if she wasn’t wearing a biking helmet when she was struck by an oncoming truck.
It was a smouldering Friday afternoon in late July when she — expecting company — decided to make a grocery run on her bike in Vernon. She strapped on her helmet like she usually did and made her way to the store; routine.
Afterwards, groceries and fresh flowers resting in her bike basket, she began her ride home. She had just made her way into the intersection between 43rd Avenue and 27th Street when she was hit.
“I always go through the sidestreets but this intersection was hard to avoid. The truck was turning at the same time and suddenly I was under it,” Wilmot said. “The truck was so high that I’m sure he didn’t even see me.”
The next thing she remembers is being stuck, pinned beneath the truck with passersby telling her to try to hold still and wait for the paramedics.
“I just remember the heat,” she said. “The waiting was the worst because it was a hot day and there was lots of summer traffic and I just remember wearing shorts and a sleeveless top, laying spread eagle on the pavement. It felt like I was being barbequed on the pavement so it seemed like forever before the paramedics arrived.”
Wilmot’s husband Glen Nikasari was at Canadian Tire when he got the call telling him his wife was in the hospital.
“I talked to the paramedics and they said that when they showed up, they thought she was dead from the way she was positioned under the truck,” he said. “And when I saw the helmet and almost got sick thinking of what her head was going to look like.”
According to paramedics, the truck’s tire rolled right over her head. Wilmot is sure that this helmet saved her life.
Her injuries included: three to five cracked ribs, a small tear in her lungs, a fractured pelvis and a broken collarbone. She had three blood transfusions.
“I also had surgery and have a titanium plate in me now.”
She also had swollen and bruised head, shoulders and back and road rash on her hands and knees.
Having recently returned home, you’d never know she had a near-death experience. She still has bruising around her head and down her back but she is able to walk well and the swelling around her face has gone down.
She is grateful to the paramedics who saved her life — and to her friends who convinced her to buy a helmet.
“I never used to wear a helmet myself but if it had gone over my head without it, I don’t see how I would have lived,” she said. “It looks like it wouldn’t do much but it definitely did the job. Wearing a helmet saved my life.”
She hopes her story reaches young kids who are headed back to school in the upcoming weeks and urges them to remember to wear a helmet.
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