“I thought she was dead. There was blood coming from everywhere. She was hysterical, screaming at the top of her lungs.”
The terrified words of mum Lauren Howarth as she relived the heartstopping moment her toddler was knocked over by a hit-and-run cyclist and dragged along the pavement outside her home.
In shocking CCTV footage captured outside the family home in Collingwood Avenue, Blackpool, on Monday afternoon, Lucie Wilding, three, can be seen stepping out of her front gate before being knocked over and dragged along the ground.
Her tiny body got caught in the wheels of the bike forcing the cyclist to fall off.
Little Lucie’s parents and a passer-by then confronted the rider – but he fled the scene.
Lauren, 26, who works as a carer, said: “I was about to put her in the car for the school run at about 3pm.
He hit her and the bike carried her along the front of our house, about 10 feet, then he fell off and it sort of released her and she was just lying there. For a second I thought he’d killed her
“Lucie came out of our garden and this cyclist just whacked her. He just came out of nowhere, it happened in the blink of an eye.
“I hadn’t seen him but I never thought I’d have to look left and right coming from your doorstep.
“He hit her and the bike carried her along the front of our house, about 10 feet, then he fell off and it sort of released her and she was just lying there. For a second I thought he’d killed her.
“All of a sudden she let out this piercing scream, I’ve never heard a cry like it.”
Dad Matt, who works in industrial emergency services, ran to pick his child up and told how she was covered in blood, with cuts to her face, head, hands and knees.
The parents, who also have Katie, five, and eight-week-old Ellie, told how they challenged the cyclist on being on the pavement and said he responded aggressively.
Lauren said: “I was expecting him to say ‘I’m so sorry, is everyone OK’ or something like that but there was nothing. As soon as he got up he started swearing at us, as if it was Lucie’s fault that he had hit her.
“The next thing we knew he’d gone and we’ve not heard from him since.”
She added: “We took Lucie to A&E and the doctor thinks she got caught on his pedal and the burn on her face is from the tyre. She’s not suffered any fractures but she had head injuries.”
A man in his 20s has since contacted police in connection with the incident and is due to be spoken to by officers tomorrow.
Investigating officer PC Joanna Mills said: “There are a number of offences that will be discussed with this man – riding on pavements and dangerous cycling.
“For a three-year-old this isn’t a pleasant experience when you’re just walking from your home to your car. Lucie is lucky she’s escaped with only scrapes and bruises. It could have been a lot worse.”
But the mother said she feels furious a cyclist was travelling at such speed on a pavement.
She added: “The fact the bike has picked up her little body and carried her along means he must have been going at some speed.
“If he’d been going slow he would have been able to stop for her. He shouldn’t have been on the pavement though.”
The shocking incident comes following a number of campaigns in Blackpool around the issue of cyclists illegally riding on the pavement.
In December last year police launched a major clampdown on the practice amid growing fears over pedestrian safety.
Officers stopped 25 people for cycling on the pavement during the first day of an operation being carried out on Whitegate Drive. Each were warned they faced a £100 fine if caught again.
PC Steve Jones, community beat manager for Talbot, said at the time: “Elderly people on Whitegate Drive have real concerns with people pedaling down there as fast as they can – it’s an accident waiting to happen.”
Dave Blacker, Talbot PACT group chairman, said riding on pavements had been “an issue for three or four years”.
An operation in the same area the previous year saw 10 cyclists handed £30 fines in just two hours.