Andrew Wheeldon, director of the Bicycle Empowerment Network, says a motorist assaulted him while he was cycling near Claremont. Picture: Matthew Jordaan
Andrew Wheeldon, director of the Bicycle Empowerment Network, says a motorist assaulted him while he was cycling near Claremont. Picture: Matthew Jordaan

Motorist punched me, says cyclist

By Bronwynne Jooste Time of article published Mar 29, 2011

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A Cape Town cyclist has laid an assault charge against a motorist after a road rage incident in which the motorist allegedly punched him.

Andrew Wheeldon, the director of the Bicycle Empowerment Network, said he was cycling towards the corner of Rosmead Avenue and Lansdowne Road, near Claremont, when the incident took place on Sunday afternoon.

Wheeldon said he was cycling along when a motorist jumped a stop street.

“It was a thoroughfare for me, so I just shook my head. Then he drove for about 10m (ahead of me), when he suddenly braked and reversed.”

Wheeldon said as he passed the vehicle, the driver flung his door open, narrowly missing him. The driver overtook him and again slammed on his brakes.

“This happened around three times, and I would just drive around him.”

At the Rosmead and Lansdowne intersection, Wheeldon stopped at a red robot, while the motorist drove onto the adjacent slipway.

“I saw him stopping his car in the middle of the road, getting out and walking towards me. I could have jumped the robot, but I wasn’t going to endanger anyone’s lives.”

“He came up to me and was very aggressive. “He asked me whether I thought I was hero. I said no, I had shaken my head because he jumped a stop street.”

Following a verbal exchange, Wheeldon said the man hit him.

“He swung a punch, which connected with my jaw and I told him: ‘That’s assault.’

“He then asked: ‘What are you going to be do about it, hero?’ I told him I would be laying a charge with the police.”

Wheeldon then cycled to the Claremont police station, with the motorist driving close behind him.

“Then when I turned around, he had disappeared.”

Another motorist, who had witnessed the incident, took pictures of the last part of the altercation and captured the motorist’s number plate.

This information has been handed to police.

Police spokeswoman Captain Angie Latchman confirmed that police were investigating a case of assault.

Wheeldon said the Bicycle Empowerment Network had noted a large number of similar incidents.

“On a weekly basis, we hear of cyclists being harassed by motorists,” he said.

“It usually starts with a traffic infringement on the part of the motorist and then, in some cases, the cyclist will lift his hands or show some kind of sign.”

Wheeldon, who has been cycling for just over 30 years, said motorists should bear in mind that there was not an “equitable relationship” between themselves and cyclists. “Motorists should not use their cars as weapons. If I fall into you, at worst I could scratch your car, at worst, I could die.”

His advice to cyclists is not to provoke motorists and to remove themselves from a potentially violent situation.

Stephen Hayward, the chairman of the Pedal Power Association, said both motorists and cyclists should obey the traffic laws.

“Motorists and cyclists need to respect each other and the rules of the road. If this happens and everyone behaves, we won’t have altercations.”

Hayward said cyclists who felt they were being harassed should go to the nearest police station and avoid confrontation. - Cape Argus

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