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Sir Richard Branson Narrowly Avoids Death After Brutal Bike Crash

"I really couldn't believe I was alive, let alone not paralysed..."

Photo: Virgin.com

Sir Richard Branson was almost killed while riding his bicycle in the British Virgin Islands earlier this week, it has emerged, with the Virgin-owner saying that his “life flashed before [him]” as his bike was thrown over a cliff.

Branson is a renowned kitesurfing enthusiast, regularly riding on his privately-owned Necker Island, but while he’s never had much trouble on the water, the Virgin boss was not so lucky on two wheels.

Writing on Virgin.com, the billionaire said: “A couple of nights ago I went cycling on Virgin Gorda with Holly and Sam [his children] as part of my training for the Virgin Strive Challenge,” which will the three family members aiming to raise £1.5 million for charity, running, cycling and swimming over 2000km from the Matterhorn to Mt Etna.

“I was heading down a hill towards Leverick Bay when it suddenly got really dark and I managed to hit a ‘sleeping policeman’ hump in the road head on. The next thing I knew, I was being hurled over the handlebars and my life was literally flashing before my eyes.

“I really thought I was going to die. I went flying head-first towards the concrete road, but fortunately my shoulder and cheek took the brunt of the impact, and I was wearing a helmet that saved my life (however, perhaps they should build bike helmets that protect the side of the face too – does anyone know of one?).”

We do Richard! They’re called full-face helmets. Google it.

He continued: “My bike went flying off the cliff and disappeared. We’ve since recovered the crumpled bicycle, completely destroyed. My cheek has been badly damaged and my knee, chin, shoulder and body severely cut.

“As I landed, once I realised I was alive, I began testing my movement. I really couldn’t believe I was alive, let alone not paralysed. Coincidentally, the first person to arrive on the scene was my assistant Helen, who had just returned from holiday. She was wondering who was lying prostrate on the road. I was so glad to be alive that I quickly was able to summon my sense of humour, and said to her: ‘I’m alive! At least you’ve still got a job!”

Photo: Virgin.com

Branson next went to Miami where he underwent several x-rays, “but was extremely fortunate that apart from a cracked cheek and some torn ligaments I hopefully will be able to complete the Virgin Strive Challenge next month.

“My biggest hardship is having to drink tea out of a straw. Oh, and being called elephant man by a six year old!”

“My attitude has always been, if you fall flat on your face, at least you’re moving forward,” he concluded. “All you have to do is get back up and try again. At least I’m practising what I preach – though a little too literally!”

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