“Simon had a fall from his bike, testing his new electric bike in the courtyard at his house in Malibu with his family. He hurt his back and was taken to hospital. He’s doing fine, he’s under observation and is in the best possible hands,” the publicist explained. “Simon has broken his back and is having surgery this evening.”
As of the time of press, Cowell has already had surgery. Reports in the British media note that it was a 6-hour intervention that saw doctors fit a metal rod in his back for spine support, with some rumors saying that he had broken his back in several places.
Apparently, Cowell had just gotten a brand new £3,000 ($3,920) electric bike and he was eager to try it out in the yard outside his Malibu mansion. His partner, Lauren Silverman, and their son Eric were also there. Cowell reportedly either tried to pop a wheelie or was taken by surprise by the throttle, and he fell backward. He immediately knew he had badly injured himself and had Silverman call an ambulance.
There’s a big difference in the way e-bikes are specced for the U.S. and the European market, and this could have been Cowell’s (an essentially British dude) downfall. Some electric bikes in the U.S. have a motor as powerful as 750W, with a top speed on throttle-only of 20 mph (32.2 kph). Meanwhile, EU regulations limit the motor to 250W, with top speed on pedal-assist of 15.5 mph (25 kph).
On a bike, without proper gear, every bit of a difference in speed makes, well, a difference in case of a fall.
The good news is that Cowell is expected to make a full recovery. But he will be sidelined for several weeks to come.
Later in the day, Cowell gave an update on the incident, more details here.