Seven children seriously hurt after car crashes into cyclists in holiday hotspot

Scene in La Rochelle where an 83-year-old driver ploughed into a group of children on bikes (Picture: InfosFrancaises)

At least seven children have been seriously injured after a motorist smashed into a group of leisurely cyclists at a French holiday hotspot this morning.

Three of the 12-strong group are in critical condition after the 83-year-old driver ploughed into the group as they cycled in single file along Avenue de Coligny in La Rochelle, Western France.

Unsettling images showed the driver’s yellow Renault Twingo covered in twisted bike frames, while horrified witnesses told local media they heard kids screaming in terror and pain after the crash.

One child had to be airlifted to the city of Poitiers further inland for lifesaving treatment, while two others were labelled an ‘extreme emergency’, local official Emmanuel Cayron said.

Thirty-two firefighters have been mobilised to deal with the incident, along with seven ambulances and a number of police officers.

Emergency officials are setting up a medical and psychological response unit nearby in order to provide support to the children who did not suffer serious injuries, according to reports from France Bleu.

Investigators launched to determine the circumstances of the accident after the elderly motorist tested negative for alcohol and narcotics administered by emergency services.

She was initially arrested by police officers following the incident, but was later released from custody and taken to hospital as she was not deemed to be in a fit state for questioning.

The public prosecutor said the suspect was released due to medical incompatibility. ‘She is hospitalized and not yet “hearable”,’ they said in a statement.

It is believed the 12 young cyclists were taking part in an after-school bike outing, something they had done regularly.

They were en-route to the Franck Delmas park, around 1.5 miles from the Bernard Palissy school and just half a mile from the city centre, when they were ran down by the oncoming Twingo.

The mayor’s office said the children were accompanied by two activity leaders, regularly travelled on bicycles and had been travelling single file down the street when the errant vehicle travelling in the opposite direction ran into them.

This is a developing news story, more to follow soon… Check back shortly for further updates.

Got a story? Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at Or you can submit your videos and pictures here.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news updates. You can now also get articles sent straight to your device. Sign up for our daily push alerts here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow by Email