MEC lambastes thuggish cyclists
Transport MEC Robin Carlisle has lashed out at the cyclists who assaulted a student at the weekend.
Ibrahim Waggie, a 19-year-old studying human resource management, was attacked by a group of cyclists in Sea Point on Sunday while he was volunteering at a charity event.
Carlisle, an outspoken supporter of cycle safety who introduced the “1.5m rule”, is also a vocal critic of cyclists who refuse to obey the law.
On Tuesday he said: “I condemn, the barbaric alleged attack… The gruesome visuals tell the harrowing story of intolerance and a serious lack of consideration for others occupying the shared space that is our roads.
“What makes it worse is video footage indicates the cyclists involved in the incident were, themselves, operating in complete disregard of the law by insisting on riding more than one abreast.
“I accept that these cycling hooligans represent a small part of the cycling community… however, incidents similar to these are on the rise, with stories of road rage surfacing far too frequently; some in the past having resulted in death.”
His department would watch the investigation closely “to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice”.
Waggie was volunteering at the Sunshine D Polar Ice Cream 10km Big Walk on Sunday.
Motorist Symon Scott took a video with his cellphone of what happened and posted it on Facebook.
“I was driving on Beach Road towards Cape Town, just past the Pavilion. There are two lanes and I was in the right-hand lane. I found myself approaching a bunch of about 20 cyclists… They were in the left lane but many were riding abreast so some were even encroaching into the right-hand lane, past the centre line.
“Further ahead was a stationary vehicle that was double parked but it went unnoticed by the leader of the group, who was looking back and communicating to the rest of the team. The group were moving swiftly and only at the last second, when the leader again faced forwards, did he see the vehicle… He had to swerve violently to avoid the vehicle and this obviously upset him. He stopped his bicycle abruptly and flew into a violent rage. The entire peloton pulled up in support and some followed his lead.
“I… filmed the violence unfolding before me. You can clearly see how they battered the vehicle, bent the windscreen wipers, pepper-sprayed the driver, tried to steal his keys, assaulted him with a bicycle wheel and punched him and the passenger in the face repeatedly. There was a lot more going down than what you can see in the video,” Scott said.
On Monday, the Cape Argus tracked down Waggie, who said: “I was driving down Sea Point Beach Road. There were these water sachets and the guys at the back of the van were spraying each other. There were about 30 cyclists taking up one whole lane, and I overtook them. I don’t know if they got wet from the water sachets they were playing with in the back or if one of the sachets hit them.
“I stopped at a red robot, where the guys would pick up sachets, when this man just started hitting me.
“I didn’t know for what reason.
“One guy hit me with the wheel of his bicycle twice. One hit me with fists. I was sprayed three times with pepper spray. It was for 15-20 minutes and I couldn’t drive away because I couldn’t see,” Waggie said.
Then they opened the side of the door, to try and get to the passengers, but as they opened the door they ran out again; they couldn’t handle the smell of the pepper spray.
Waggie said someone with him had recognised some of the cyclists as members of the Muhammadeyah Cycling Club, from Wynberg.
The club said on its Facebook page: “We are liaising with the relevant parties and investigating the matter.”
Events director for the walk Dr Elias Parker confirmed the attack.
“We have also made an attempt to engage with the club… but, failing that, the law must take its course.”
Police spokesman FC van Wyk said “cases of common assault and malicious damage to property were opened at Sea Point police station on Sunday”.
Witnesses were asked to contact Sea Point detectives at 021 430 3700 or Crime Stop at 08600 10111.