BIKER Paul Meikle is incredibly lucky to be alive after hitting a pothole and falling into the path of an HGV on Scotland’s most dangerous road.
The 44-tonne truck drove straight over Paul with the giant wheels missing his head by inches.
Despite receiving a glancing blow from one wheel, Paul was stretchered away from his mangled bike on the A9 without any broken bones.
Paul, from Preston in Lancashire, admitted thinking in the split second before he went under the lorry: “I’m dead.”
The bar manager was with 10 friends and his father, Dave, on a biking holiday in the Highlands when they decided to pull into a layby just south of Ballinluig, Perthshire, for a break.
He slowed his beloved Kawasaki GPz1100 down to just 10mph when he hit a pothole, sending him flying sideways into the path of the lorry.
But despite Paul thinking “I’m dead,” the wheels of the truck passed just inches from his head.
His father, who saw the crash, was so shocked he collapsed at the side of the road and another ambulance had to be called.
Paul, who later needed surgery to reduce the swelling in his leg, said he has vowed never to go on a motorbike again.
“I don’t really remember much about it, but I was pulling into a layby when I hit a pothole and next thing you know I’m under a truck
“I just remember being under the truck and thinking: ‘I’m dead.’
“I’m extremely lucky to be alive, most bikers that go under a truck don’t live to tell the story.
“A couple of inches either way and the truck would have gone over my head or over my chest and that would have been me dead.
“Without my helmet or my leathers I could have been in a far worse state.
“I had not one broken bone – another miracle.
“Even at the hospital the nurses couldn’t believe I’d been under a truck and come away without breaking a bone.
“First thing one of my friends said to me was ‘Get the lottery on.'”
The biker spent nearly a week in Dundee’s Ninewell’s Hospital.
He said: “I crushed my lower left leg.
“They had to open my leg up on both sides to release pressure on my muscles so I’ve now got two big scars up my leg.
“I’m on crutches at the moment.”
His motorbike was wrecked in the crash, but Paul says he has given up on his hobby.
He continued: “I’ll never go on a bike again – I can’t risk it.
“It’s put my life in perspective.
“My girlfriend won’t let me have another bike, she’s not going through
that again – so I promised her I won’t go on a bike now.
“I’ll miss it – it was my hobby.
“My girlfriend’s into fishing so I might take that up with her, it’s nice and safe.”
He also criticised those reponsible for maintaining the road: “If it
wasn’t for the pothole the accident wouldn’t have happened.
“The roads need to be sorted out – what’s it going to take, somebody to die next time?
“It’s not too bad in a car because you have more control, but a pothole on a bike will throw you.
“I could have died, the next biker might not be so lucky.”
A spokesman for road maintenance firm BEAR Scotland said they could not comment on individual cases but they carried out “regular safety inspections” to spot defects on roads.