‘My leg was left 4cm shorter than the other after a road crash in Birmingham when I was riding my motorbike’

Motorbike rider John Castleton injured his left leg and foot in a road collision in Birmingham

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A motorbike rider had told how his leg was left 4cm shorter than the other after he was crushed by a car in a horror crash in Birmingham.

John Castleton, 66, suffered multiple fractures and crush injuries to his left leg and foot when a car pulled out in front of his bike in Harborne. He was trapped between the vehicles and also left with vascular and soft tissue damage, blood loss and lost 4cm (1.5ins) of bone from his left leg.

John almost lost his leg but surgeons were able to save the limb during emergency surgery followed by another six lengthy operations at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He spent seven weeks in hospital, needed a wheelchair to get around and has been unable to return to work since the accident back in June 2018.

John’s leg was also placed in a special metal frame for two years to stretch his leg, re-growing nearly 4cm of lost bone to aid the healing process. Serious injury lawyers Irwin Mitchell have now secured him an undisclosed settlement from the car driver’s insurance company to help fund his rehabilitation.

Motorbike rider John Castleton's left leg is 4cm shorter than his right leg after a horror road crash in BirminghamMotorbike rider John Castleton's left leg is 4cm shorter than his right leg after a horror road crash in Birmingham
Motorbike rider John Castleton's left leg is 4cm shorter than his right leg after a horror road crash in Birmingham

John, of Edgbaston, who previously worked as an NHS counselling psychologist has told his story as Road Safety Week begins today (Sunday, November 19), saying: “The road to recovery hasn’t been easy, but I’m getting there slowly and I’m determined to keep it up. I can see some light at the end of the tunnel.

“As a result of my ongoing rehabilitation, the risk of losing my leg has greatly reduced, which is a huge relief to me. On the days when it feels too difficult or painful to exercise, I remind myself of this.

“I’ve also had the most amazing support from Sandra, our family and friends, many professionals and Solihull Wheels For All, without which I would have never got to where I am now. I’m delighted and privileged to have played a part in the Solihull “So Go!” campaign. I hope I can inspire people like myself who may be struggling with movement, to help improve both their physical and mental health.

“By volunteering with SWFA, I also want to give something back to the charity which has helped me with my recovery. At every hand-cycling session, I get so much more than exercise. While I’m still not certain what my future holds, I know I’m lucky to be alive and to still have my left leg.

"Sharing my story is my way of saying thank you to everyone who has been by my side, and I also want it to act as a warning to drivers to take care on the roads at all times and ‘Think Bike! My life changed in a split second, and I wouldn’t want anyone else suffering like I have.”

Toni Knott, the specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing John, said: “The past five years have been incredibly difficult for John as he comes to terms with the life-changing injuries he suffered that day. However, he has shown such determination and motivation to overcome his ordeal and move forward with his recovery.

“With the help of Sandra and his family, he’s worked hard on his rehabilitation and was chosen to be involved in a campaign to inspire people to become healthier and happier by moving more. While nothing can ever make up for what John has been through, we’re continuing to ensure he has access to the ongoing care and therapies he needs to maximise his recovery. He also wanted to share his story as a stark reminder to take care on the roads and for drivers to ‘Think Bike!’.

"Through our work, we far too often see innocent road users left facing the devastating consequences of the actions of others.” John but hasn’t been able to work since the crash. Road Safety Week, organised by charity Brake, runs from November 19-25.