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“I genuinely thought I was going to die” – Richard Branson shares how He Survived a near-fatal Bike Accident

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Richard Branson Bike AccidentVirgin‘s Boss, Richard Branson has shared a story of how he survived a bike accident in British Virgin Islands.

“Genuinely thought I was going to die as I fell head first and bike disappeared off cliff,” he said, adding that his life flashed before his eyes.

He wrote on Virgin’s website:

A couple of nights ago I went cycling on Virgin Gorda with Holly and Sam as part of my training for the Virgin Strive Challenge. 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?). 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!”

Richard Branson's bike injuries2

George, one of the team, sprinted from the bottom of the hill and the team soon got me back home and patched up. I traveled to Miami for x-rays and scans, but have been 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. All you have to do is get back up and try again. At least I’m practicing what I preach – though a little too literally!

The date of the accident just happened to be the fifth anniversary of the fire on Necker Island. What a way to mark it! Thankfully, good fortune has smiled on me so far. It has been quite a year, I’ve been in the wars knocking my teeth out playing tennis not once but twice, and also being kissed by a ray and running into a bullet proof door.

Over the years I’ve had many brushes with death, not least in my ballooning adventures. In the documentary Don’t Look Down, which we’re releasing soon, my co-pilot Per Lindstrand quotes Napoleon: “I know he’s a good general, but is he lucky?” He says I have certainly been lucky – I wouldn’t disagree!

Today my son, Sam mentioned another fitting quote, from Hunter S. Thompson: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

Photo Credit: Virgin

9 Comments

  1. Anon

    August 26, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Saved by his helmet.

  2. Bodunade

    August 26, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Love his sense of humour.

  3. GraceOfGOD

    August 26, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    @All,

    Good day Dear All,

    I wish to SHARE my thoughts. When I started READING this article a LINE got my ATTENTION => “my life was literally flashing before my eyes.”. This seems to be a RECURRENT thing in such GHASTLY accidents. I have HEARD this BEFORE. May be GOD is TALKING to us by SHOWING us OUR PAST, may be GOD is giving US ANOTHER CHANCE to become BETTER human beings. It is just my ASSUMPTION. I wish him a prompt RECOVERY and hope he will have a RETHINK about his life and this is also VALID for ALL of us . Have a GREAT week end and stay BLESSED 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Nkechi

      August 26, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      God giving you another chance, you are so fortunate. Some people went straight to eternity in such a situation and did not live to tell us the story.

  4. Temi

    August 26, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Money can not buy nothing… sorry Sir!! recover quickly

    • Takeaway

      August 26, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      Yes, bitter Temi…but he wasn’t boasting in this entire read!

  5. Tosin

    August 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Just to add that he’s not begging for money for health care 1. because he has money but also 2. because in his country most people have health insurance. backup plan for the backup plan. Not here. WHY NOT????????!!!!!!!!!?????

  6. Prince

    August 26, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    This man sef no dey stay for one place. He thinks he’s a young chap.

    • Mabel

      August 26, 2016 at 7:28 pm

      Exactly! He lives the extreme life of a thrill seeker, so shyt is bound to happen. I have no time for him and his foolishness. Why couldn’t he do his training in broad daylight like a normal person?

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