“Dude it was gnarly. I thought I was dead”

Rachel Atherton crash, the aftermath

Rachel with Dan (left) and Gee after the crash

More details have emerged about the crash involving downhill mountain bike world champion Rachel Atherton and a pickup truck in Santa Cruz, USA, on January 19.


Atherton was training on her road bike with brothers Gee and Dan when the collision happened. She said in an interview following the crash: “Got in a fight with a truck … and ended worse off than I imagined.”

Hugh Holden, a California Highway Patrol officer, said Atherton had been riding on the wrong side of the road and it looked like she was to blame for the collision. He said it was unlikely she would be prosecuted.

Atherton, who was not wearing a helmet at the time, said: “I was pinning it down the road listening to AC/DC. Head down, looked up, there’s a truck coming. I was like, ‘Oh my God, what’s going on?’ So I swerved and he swerved the same way. And then we swerved left. And then I was like, ‘This is not good’, so I just … braced, tensed as hard as I could.”

Atherton hit the car head-on, with her bike taking most of the impact and her face and shoulder hitting the windscreen. Her shoulder is dislocated and severely swollen, and is due to be operated on soon.

Gee said: “She was just lying there and … because I saw the pickup, I was like, ‘Mate, my sister’s dead”… I honestly thought I’d lost her at that point.”


Investigations into the crash are continuing.