A WOMAN narrowly escaped death when a steel girder fell from a scaffold on a city centre building as she cycled past.

Tessa Goldin, from Summertown, was cycling along George Street in Oxford city centre when the one-and-a-half metre long steel girder crashed down on her head from a construction site above.

The 53-year-old Oxford University psychologist suffered a fractured skull, broken collar bone, a deep cut on her head and bruising down her right hand side. It may be another two years before the potential for any long-term damage is known.

Last night, recovering at her home in Summertown, she said: “It’s just outrageous that this can occur, they are very lucky that I happen not to be dead.”

The Health and Safety Executive confirmed it was investigating safety procedures at the building site at 6-12 George Street, where contractors Erith are carrying out work for Oxford Asset Management to create retail and office space.

An HSE spokesman said: “The HSE is aware of the incident and is making preliminary inquiries.”

No stop notice has been issued by the authority and builders continued to work there yesterday.

The construction company did not respond to the Oxford Mail’s request for a comment.

But Mrs Goldin pressed for a full investigation, saying: “Would they have just carried on if I’d been killed?”

Recalling last Thursday’s incident, she said: “Suddenly I saw this huge steel rod just above me and I think I swerved slightly to get away from it, but next thing I was knocked unconscious and knocked off my bike.”

A few metres behind her, another cyclist, 19-year-old student Catherine Brooks, watched in horror as the mum-of-two fell to the ground.

She said: “I saw a massive steel girder about one-and-a-half metres in length shooting out of the side of the building.

“From what I saw it just crashed into her head and then knocked her about a metre from her bike. I stayed with her with another woman, we were trying to mop her up.”

An ambulance took Mrs Goldin to the John Radcliffe Hospital, where neurosurgeons decided she did not need surgery.

She was allowed home on Sunday, but doctors warned that she could have problems with memory, headaches and dizziness.

And they said it could be up to two years before the long-term effects of her head injury were known.

Mrs Goldin said: “I’d like to thank the people that helped me, they were just amazing and picked me up and stayed with me.

“I would like to be able to thank them.”