A Sikh cyclist who slid under a car in a serious collision said he believes his turban ‘saved his life’ by protecting his head.

Jagdeep Singh, 44, was cycling with a friend along a country road in High Wycombe when they turned down a steep hill towards a blind corner.

Mr Singh, who has been a keen cyclist for over 30 years, slammed on his brakes as a 4x4 car rounded the corner at high speed, causing him to slide down the hill and come off his bike.

He said his turban, a traditional Sikh head covering, “absorbed the impact” of his head hitting the ground and ultimately “saved his life”.

The father-of-two said: “I sharply applied my brakes which caused my rear wheel to slide underneath me, and I skidded further down the hill.

“I collided with the on-coming car and my bright leg broke the impact of the fall by smashing against the car bumper.

“The back of my head hit and scraped along the ground for a good three to four metres before I collided with the car.

“I’m sure that if I had not been wearing my turban, I would have ended up with a serious head injury.”

The 44-year-old shattered his shin bone and ankle from the fall, leaving him with arthritis but, notably, an uninjured head.

He said: “My friend Manjit, who was cycling with me, is a doctor and I was lucky he was there – my body was going into shock.

“He called the emergency services, and the air ambulance doctor came and administered morphine.

“My friend said: ‘You shouldn’t even be alive by the way you went under that car – I was getting ready to tell your mum you weren’t going to wake up.’

“It’s the closest I’ve ever come to a near-death experience.”

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A new study from Imperial College London has revealed that the style and thickness of turbans do affect the risk of serious injury in Sikh cyclists.

Researchers used crash-test dummy heads to experiment with five different turbans, distinguished by two wrapping styles and two different fabrics.

While Mr Singh was not part of the study, he said it was “encouraging” to see research done into the phenomenon.

“Sikhs are now exempt from wearing helmets on motorcycles and building sites as well as riding horses. When Sikhs were fighting to get this right in the 1970s, they spoke of how the turbans protected the head in the wars.

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"The turban I wear is a UK style of turban – but I want to learn how to do the traditional style that allows for even more protection as it will allow me to continue to follow my faith and protect myself.

"It was a horrific accident and I've surprised myself that I'm still walking around and able to do the things I can do."

Co-author of the study Dr Gurpreet Singh, from Imperial’s Department of Materials and the Sikh Scientists Network, said: “Sikhs have earned the right to wear the sacred turban with pride for centuries now.

"However, being just 0.5% of the world population, very little has been done to scientifically empower Sikhs to continue practising their faith with advanced, protective materials that are in line with their religious requirements.

"Our findings show that simple Sikh turbans do have the potential to mitigate head impacts."