A shocking video showing a small truck repeatedly ramming a moving cyclist until they fall off their bike has outraged the cycling community and renewed calls for drivers to respect other road users.
It’s unclear if the rider was injured but police confirmed a person had been charged over the incident in Christchurch on August 3.
The video was uploaded to Australian website UpRide in August but was reposted to New Zealand’s Cycling Action Network Facebook page yesterday, where viewers expressed anger and concern.
Cycling Action Network spokesman Patrick Morgan said there was nothing that could justify the kind of malicious or aggressive driving that resulted in a cyclist being knocked off their bike.
He said it was unfortunate such incidents in cycling were not uncommon, which prompted some cyclists to attach a camera underneath their bike seat because without video evidence it was hard to prove.
“People have them precisely because they don’t think they’ll be believed when they give an account of what happened.
“Unfortunately this is not a rare event but usually it goes unreported because there’s not direct evidence. In this case there is.”
Morgan said sadly some motorists did not accept that cyclists had an equal right to use the road.
“And they show it in ways that are really scary and dangerous and can lead to injury and potentially worse outcomes. And people on bikes are sick of it and that’s why they’ve taken to recording their rides.”
In the video, a light goods Isuzu truck can be seen driving closely behind the cyclist, with the cab bumping the rear wheel several times before it strikes it so hard the bike crashes.
The incident reportedly took place on St Asapha St in central Christchurch, which has a 30km/h speed restriction.
Morgan said the cyclist could easily have been biking at the speed limit and the driver had ample opportunity to overtake the cyclist in an adjacent lane but instead chose to beep at and bump the rider.
“There’s a parallel lane on the right so the driver had every opportunity to legally pass but decided instead to ram someone on a bike using their van.”
Morgan did not know the victim or how badly injured they were, but was trying to find out.
He said drivers who bullied cyclists on the road did so to send a message.
“‘I don’t like what you’re doing and I’m going to let you know about it’. Most people who ride a bike on the street have encountered poor driving or aggressive driving or bullying from other road users. And it’s not okay.”
Cyclists had reported being menaced, honked at, had used nappies, water bottles and beer cans thrown at them, car doors opened on them and worse.
“It’s a terrible way to treat a human being and the power imbalance is what makes it nasty.”
Morgan said even if a driver didn’t understand why a cyclist was riding in a certain way it was not acceptable to bully them.
He said there needed to be more education around the fact cyclists had a right to be on the road and not confined to the “door zone” or gutter where it could be unsafe to ride.
“It’s one of the basic road rules, to keep left. I think it’s widely misunderstood that people on bikes who occupy the lane are doing it to hold someone up.
“That’s not correct. Typically, people on bikes take the lane to be safe on the road and if that means someone following has to change lanes or wait for a safe spot to overtake, that’s what the law requires.
“No-one intends to hold up following traffic but if it’s the choice between a rider’s safety and the convenience of someone else, I think we need to prioritise safety every single time.”
The arrested person was charged with dangerous driving causing injury and will reappear in the Christchurch District Court.
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