A CYCLIST had a fortunate escape after a speeding hit and run driver forced him off the road.

Nick Rose was clipped by a silver car's wing mirror as he threw himself and his bike into a hedge as the vehicle approached on his side of the road.

Semi-retired Mr Rose, 64, of Staplehay, who has been cycling for more than 50 years, said he had never previously witnessed such "lunatic" driving.

He suffered only minor injuries in last Thursday's incident at Preston Bowyer, near Milverton.

He told the County Gazette: "If I hadn't got out of the way, he would probably have wiped me out.

"In all the time I've been cycling, I've had one or two spills where I've come off the bike and had a couple of injuries, but this was a completely different level.

"I was going in the direction of Taunton and he was coming the other way towards Milverton and Wiveliscombe on a fairly wide road.

"There is a 30mph limit but he was definitely going much faster than that and was overtaking blind coming out of a double bend.

"Initially when he was coming towards me I thought, 'He is going to miss me', but I realised just a split second before that he was obviously losing control.

"I pushed myself into the hedge with my bike, but he still clipped me.

"I had cuts to my knees and arm and a couple of big bruises.

"I was more annoyed than shocked. The driver didn't even stop. He shouldn't be on the road."

A woman driver who had witnessed the incident, turned round and returned to the scene to to check on Mr Rose.

She said the driver of the silver car had joined the B3227 Wiveliscombe road at Cotford St Luke and had attempted to overtake three other vehicles at Hillcommon.

Mr Rose, who cycles up to 50 miles a week, was back in the saddle at the weekend, but the incident has left a lasting impression.

He said: "I could have been killed or seriously injured and I was quite nervous every time a car coming my way overtook another car.

"The woman who came to check on me was heavily pregnant and it's horrifying to think what might have happened had he hit her car."