THE distraught driver of a van which left a 69-year-old cyclist fighting for his life yesterday was seen crying into the grass verge after the collision.

Chris Thomas, a 46-year-old railway worker from Aberdare in Wales, was attempting to reach his work site in nearby Galton Way when he saw the aftermath of the collision on Great Western Way unfolding.

“I saw the cyclist lying in the road,” he said. “He was pretty much in the middle of the road, if not slightly to the left-hand side.

“The driver was lying on the grass, crying his eyes out. I thought he had been hit, but I saw he was just crying when he got up.

“A member of the public was with the cyclist when I arrived. Somebody had put a coat over the cyclist. The member of the public was on the phone, which must have been the emergency services.”

The incident occurred on the eastbound carriageway of Great Western Way, close to the Barnfield roundabout which provides access to B&Q Extra and Lidl, at approximately 9.40am.

An Iveco Daily 50 white tipper van, bearing rubbish disposal firm Any Junk’s logos, collided with the elderly cyclist and finished with a smashed windscreen as a result.

The man was taken by ambulance to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, where he was last night described as being in a stable condition with potentially life threatening injuries.

A spokesman for South West Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 9.40am to a road traffic collision involving van versus bike.

“There was one male casualty, the chap on the bike, who had chest and shoulder injuries. He was taken to Frenchay by land ambulance.”

The driver and passenger in the van did not suffer any injuries.

The incident occurred close to where the cycle lane running from Barnfield Road crosses Great Western Way towards Barnfield Close.

There were temporary traffic lights in place at the scene when the collision occurred.

The eastbound carriageway of Great Western Way was closed between Barnfield roundabout and Bruce Street Bridges until 3pm, with long tailbacks growing throughout the day.