A CYCLIST says he is “baffled” by the attitude of a hit-and-run van driver who knocked him off his bike and left him lying injured in the road.

Japanese history lecturer Dr James McMullen’s cycle helmet was smashed in the incident in Woodstock Road, Oxford, on Monday.

The 70-year-old would have been seriously injured without the safety gear.

Dr McMullen, a lecturer at Oxford University’s Faculty of Oriental Studies, called for the driver of a white Mercedes sprinter van – or similar model – to hand himself into the police.

“I am shocked that the driver did not stop; I can’t get my mind round it,” he said.

“There was quite a jolt when the van hit me so the driver must have felt the impact.

“How did the driver know he had not killed me?

“I am baffled by his behaviour and would urge him to contact the police as soon as possible.

“My cycle helmet was broken in the accident – a large chunk came out of it – and it saved me from a serious head injury.

“I was very lucky not to break any bones and I was left very shocked by what happened – I can hardly walk.”

The father-of-one, whose wife Bonnie, 66, is helping to look after him following the accident, was on his way to the Oriental Institute in Pusey Lane to carry out some research when he was clipped by the van.

He said: “It is possible the driver was blinded by the sun before he hit me.

“But he needs to contact the police because it is possible some lessons could be learned from this accident.”

He added: “I have lived in Oxford for 38 years and have been cycling all my life.

“I have cycled down Woodstock Road so many times, that if you add up all the journeys I could have reached the moon!”

Mrs McMullen said: “The cycle helmet might have saved my husband’s life.

“It certainly saved him from fracturing his skull.”

Dr McMullen, who is semi-retired, was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital for treatment following the accident at 11am, which happened between the junctions of Beech Croft Road and Moreton Road. He added: “I want to thank the paramedics and the police who got there very quickly after the accident.

“Another van driver did pull over and stop to help me and a number of passers-by came to my rescue and phoned for help.

“The ambulance crew were very thorough. This sort of thing must happen every day, but you never think it is going to happen to you.”

The white van featured red lettering on the side, advertising a local or national firm.

David Staines, a spokesman for Thames Valley Police, said no arrests had been made.

He urged anyone with information to contact police on 08458 505505.