M20 bridge collapse biker tells of lucky escape

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A motorcyclist has told how he feels lucky after coming off his bike to escape serious injury when a footbridge collapsed in front of him on the M20.

Grandfather-of-three Jim Shaw, 73, suffered three broken ribs after a digger being carried on the back of a lorry struck the bridge in Kent on Saturday.

Part-time school bus driver Mr Shaw, from Thamesmead, south-east London, was travelling at around 65mph on the London-bound carriageway.

He was heading home from a visit to a bikers' cafe in Maidstone on his Yamaha MT-07 when he was forced to take evasive action.

Speaking from his hospital bed, he said: "I didn't get a lot of time. One minute the bridge was there and the next it wasn't. It all happened so fast. Initially all I saw was one end of the bridge come down.

"As the bridge came down, I threw the bike on the ground, and I ended up just clearing it. I was lucky. Everyone now keeps asking me to suggest their Lottery numbers."

Mr Shaw revealed his wife Doreen, 68, only found out he had been taken to hospital in Tunbridge Wells after she rang him to ask him to bring the washing in.

"I told her, 'I won't be able to do that'," he said. "And she said, 'why not?' I said it's because I'm in hospital. She said she'd just seen a report about it on a big screen in Woolwich."

Mr Shaw said he is unsure whether his bike is still roadworthy, but the drama has not put him off returning to the roads once he has recovered.

"It's just one of those things," he said. "How often does a bridge fall down? It has certainly given the insurance company something to think about."

The collapse sparked hours of traffic chaos on one of the busiest weekends of the year, and the M20 only completely reopened to traffic more than 24 hours after the incident.