Gov. Paul LePage disclosed Friday that he was hit by a car six months ago while he was bicycling in Florida. The governor credited his helmet, which he said was “crushed” by the impact, with saving his life.

LePage said the accident exacerbated a previous shoulder injury that will require surgery.

He said he’ll have surgery in the near future, but did not say when.

“I won’t be playing golf this summer,” he said.

The accident happened when he and his wife, Ann, were riding bicycles in Daytona Beach on Nov. 22, LePage said.

A young woman driving a car was distracted and hit him as he was riding in front of his wife, the governor said in a phone interview Friday.

“She just wasn’t paying attention,” LePage said of the driver. “She sent me flying 40 feet and crushed my helmet. Without a helmet, I wouldn’t be here.”

The two-term Republican governor first revealed what had happened to him to a large crowd at the Maine International Trade Day at the Samoset Resort in Rockport on Friday morning. After delivering the remarks, LePage brushed off questions about the accident, saying it was “none of your business.”

LePage admitted during his public remarks that he had kept the incident quiet. It came up when he said that he would like to lead a trade mission to Taipei before leaving office in January 2019, but that the shoulder surgery might complicate his plans.

LePage has kept quiet about his health issues in the past, waiting four months before revealing in January 2017 that he had bariatric surgery the previous September after his doctor told him he risked developing diabetes if he didn’t lose weight. The governor’s wife also had the surgery shortly after he did.

In a phone interview later Friday, LePage initially said he didn’t want to talk about the incident but then revealed additional details. He said the driver who hit him “was distracted and she did not have insurance.” He said the driver tried to make a turn and cut him off.

The impact split his helmet “right in two,” LePage said, adding that he was taken to the hospital.

The Daytona Beach Police Department report said the driver of a Dodge Durango, Turquoise Green Johnson, of Daytona Beach was at fault, but said she had insurance and was not distracted, but “thought she would have enough time to clear the intersection.” The police report also said LePage “refused rescue.”

A Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman declined to say if the governor and his wife had been accompanied by his state police security detail while on the bike ride.


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