M20 bridge collapse: Injured biker, 73, recalls 'chaos'

Jim Shaw
Image caption Jim Shaw is being treated in hospital for three broken ribs

A motorcyclist who was injured when a pedestrian bridge collapsed on to the M20 has described how he threw himself off his bike to avoid the impact.

Jim Shaw suffered broken ribs when the footbridge near Maidstone was hit by a lorry carrying a digger on Saturday.

The 73-year-old was travelling at 70mph towards London when "chaos broke loose" and "bits were flying everywhere".

"I moved to the outside lane. There was only one place to go. I threw the bike on the floor and went under," he said.

Mr Shaw's bike was trapped under tonnes of concrete following the collapse.

Part of the bridge also fell on to a second lorry, the driver of which was treated for shock at the scene.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Jim Shaw threw himself off his bike to avoid the impact

Speaking from his hospital bed in Tunbridge Wells, Mr Shaw said he had been "riding down the motorway, enjoying life as it goes by" on his bike when he was forced to take evasive action.

Describing what unfolded, he said "the bridge was coming down, almost like in slow motion, because it's eating its way through the lorry".

"But then it tore away from the other side. As that came down, it was a matter of throw the bike on the floor and go for it."

"I've a few broken ribs, but they mend," he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Drivers described slamming on their brakes and hearing the collision

The bridge, between junctions three and four, came down on the London-bound carriageway just after 12:05 BST.

The M20 had to be closed in both directions as two large cranes worked to clear the road, which is the main route to the Channel Tunnel and Port of Dover.

It fully re-opened on Sunday, with the remaining part of the footbridge still hanging over the coast-bound side.

Officials have said the structure is safe and an operation to remove it will take place in the coming weeks.

No-one has been arrested in connection with the incident.

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