YOU'RE risking your life if you don't wear a helmet while cycling.

That's the stark warning from mum Alexandra Parker, who was left with cuts and bruises after taking a tumble on the path round Peatmoor lake.

She believes things would have been much worse had she not been wearing her helmet.

The 38-year-old said: “I was cycling on a pavement when I went over a bump, my basket came off my bike and I went over it and face-planted the pavement.

“I had a nasty cut to my nose and forehead, but my helmet took a lot of the impact.

“I believe my head would have been badly damaged had I not been wearing it.

“In my opinion, you are risking your life by not wearing one.”

The mum-of-two said she did not always wear a helmet when she was a child.

She said: “There wasn’t so much awareness around or money to pay for a helmet.

“I don’t understand why people don’t wear them.

"We all think we're invincible but since my accident, I'm extremely wary.”

Alexandra, from West Swindon, cycles everyday with her seven-year-old son to school.

She said: “I have always ensured my son understands the importance of wearing a helmet.”

“I am definitely more careful. My latest accident was bad luck.

“My son saw me minutes after my accident and was so kind and thoughtful.”

Chairman of Swindon Mountain Bike Enthusiasts Club Joe Cox encourages riders to wear a helmet as it could save lives.

He said: “It's important to wear one wherever you go. I do extreme mountain biking, but I've seen people who cycle on the path suffer from quite serious injuries regardless of speed."

The 31-year-old added: "I had a few knocks where my head hit the floor. If I hadn’t had a helmet on, it would have knock me out,” he said.

“I had a friend of mine who was quite badly injured but who survived because he had a helmet on. It was categorically said by the ambulance services that if he didn’t have his helmet, he wouldn’t be here now.

“I fell in the town centre on an icy day.

"I hit the floor and the side of my head it the floor and again my helmet saved my life.”