A CYCLIST was thrown from his bike after a dog ran in front of him on a cycle lane.

John Smith injured his wrist and stomach after going over his handlebars on Sunday in Western Esplanade, Westcliff.

Mr Smith, a member of the East Essex Triathlon Club, is warning the cycle lane is too close to pedestrians and traffic and its just a matter of time before someone is killed.

He said: “I’d been cycling with friends from the club that morning, but decided to do a few more miles going through Canewdon and Southend.

“I got opposite the Toulouse cafe when this dog ran out in front of me. I was going at about 20mph.

“I had to brake really hard and went flying over the handlebars.

“Fortunately I didn’t fall into the road. If I had, I would have been seriously injured because there was heavy traffic.

“I have been cycling for years and am pretty vigilant, but the dogwasn’t on a lead and just ran across the cycle path.

“There are signs saying dogs must be on a lead, but its owner ignored that.”

The owner of the dog, a wirehaired greyhound type, apologised and said he would keep it on a lead in future.

Mr Smith, of Daws Heath Road, Hadleigh, was left with a badly-sprained wrist and bruising to his stomach.

He said: “There were some lifeguards nearby and they came to my aid. They wanted to call an ambulance, but I didn’t want that.

“I tried to get back onmy bike, but it was impossible because I was in so much pain, so I had to call my wife to pick me up.

“The guy should have his dog on a lead, but I don’t blame pedestrians.

“The cycle lane is just poorly designed. It’s not wide enough and it’s just a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed.”

Julie Dempsey, 51, from Canvey, was cycling with her partner two weeks ago when they also had a close shave on the same part of the cycle lane.

She added: “A small child suddenly ran out in front of us. My partner yelled to warn him and we managed to swerve just in time. I know its difficult, but ideally the cycle path needs to be wider and it needs to be a bit more obvious that it’s a cycle lane.”

Southend Council said having a cycle lane is safer than bikes using the road.

Martin Terry, councillor for public protection, said he was sorry to hear about the accident and wished Mr Smith a speedy recovery.

He said: “I understand the accident was caused by a dog off of its lead.

“Under our dog control orders and as part of being a responsible dog owner, they should be kept on leads along all pedestrian areas and roads in the borough.

“More generally, this stretch of road is part of a hybrid cycle lane, marked by a kerb with a contrasting colour to the carriageway.

“The cycle lane has a green surface with a white line on one side and a double yellow line on the other, which also further helps it to stand out.

“There are also a number of signs for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists warning them it’s a cycle path.”

Mr Terry said the cycle path that is there is safer than not having one at all.

He added: “I am not convinced that (not having a cycle path) would be safer.

“We have invested and been successful in attracting external funding to put in and extend cycle lanes throughout the borough and we work hard to make Southend an attractive place to cycle.

“We need everyone to be aware and considerate to each other and that includes cyclists and drivers travelling at reasonable speeds and pedestrians being aware and respecting the road and cycle lanes.”