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“Don’t f***ing overtake me”: Handcyclist allegedly kicked in face twice by e-bike rider

A 21-year-old man has been charged with common assault and wilful damage following the attack, which the female handcyclist says came “completely out of the blue”

A cyclist has been arrested in New Zealand after twice kicking a passing handcyclist in the face in a shocking, unprovoked attack.

The alleged assault occurred yesterday at 1.30pm on a shared walking and cycling path near the Dunedin suburb of Ravensbourne, in New Zealand’s South Island. The victim, a female handcyclist, told the Otago Daily Times that an e-bike rider had overtaken her on the cycleway, but that she had initially thought nothing of it.

However, when she began to ride back up to the cyclist, who appeared to be slowing, she said she noticed him checking over his shoulder as she approached.

As the handcyclist, who uses a wheelchair, prepared to pass, the e-bike rider said “don’t f***ing overtake me” before allegedly kicking her in the face.

Despite swerving to avoid him, the attacker aimed two more kicks at his victim, hitting the woman in the face again before breaking her bike’s chain guard.

The shocking attack, which left the handcyclist uninjured but understandably “shaken”, came “completely out of the blue”, she told the local newspaper.

“All he said was ‘don’t f***ing overtake me’. There was no argument, no conversation, no comments. I was just behind him,” she said.

“I just have no idea what was going on in his head.”

The victim then said that the only possible explanation she could think of was that the man was “upset” that someone on a pedal-powered cycle was travelling faster than his e-bike.

> Handcyclist missing in Scottish Highlands found safe and well

The attacker, who fled the scene, was found by police and arrested 20 minutes later. The 21-year-old has since been charged with common assault and wilful damage, and is due to appear in Dunedin District Court on 10 January, a police spokesperson said.

The woman told the Otago Daily Times that she has been riding on roads and cycle paths for years, and notes that lorry drivers have always been “extremely considerate”.

“You hear them slow as they come up behind and they’ll put their indicators on – not because they need to but because it tells the person behind them they’re passing something low to the ground,” she said.

While she noted that some car drivers can be particularly abusive, the handcyclist said that nothing could have prepared her for being assaulted by another cyclist on a cycle path, for seemingly “no reason whatsoever”.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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16 comments

Avatar
JustTryingToGet... | 1 year ago
4 likes

There is a certain type of guy that breaks down when overtaken or outdone by a woman... they are huge risk in any walk of life. On a bike, in a car, at the gym... etc. It's a area that needs looking into further because not only are they an ongoing latent risk to the public but I'm sure there is evidence that suggests their misogyny is correlated with wider crimes than violence on women.

That's not to say that I think wider crimes are more deserving of action, but that unfortunately wider society is somewhat accepting of violence against women and wider crimes might be a gateway through the inertia.

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Christopher TR1 replied to JustTryingToGetFromAtoB | 1 year ago
3 likes

Blimey, that didn't occur to me but I suppose it could be because she's a woman. Or because she was using a hand cycle, or because he was being overtaken, or because he's a nut case.

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jaysa replied to JustTryingToGetFromAtoB | 1 year ago
5 likes

Yep. Female and get this sometimes if I (dare to) overtake a male driver on a motorway in my ordinary car.

They speed up, pass, then slow down again.

No Fruiting idea what is in their head, but avoid eye contact or getting sucked into their game.

It's a strange world ....

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janusz0 | 1 year ago
6 likes

Ryan, please make sure that you report the court's sentencing and what, if any explanation the assaulter gives.

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AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
7 likes

I know New Zealand is regarded as "small", but the "attacker who fled the scene was found by police 20 mins later"*. And there was me believing us cyclists get away with anything as there is no way to trace us. 

*Of course, at his current speed problems, he might have only been 100yards up the road. 

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hawkinspeter replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
1 like
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

I know New Zealand is regarded as "small", but the "attacker who fled the scene was found by police 20 mins later"*. And there was me believing us cyclists get away with anything as there is no way to trace us. 

*Of course, at his current speed problems, he might have only been 100yards up the road. 

I haven't visited the south island, but they tend to go for single, long, windy roads to join up places (partly due to the hilly geography). I can easily imagine them having a long coastal path with few opportunities to do a runner.

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peted76 | 1 year ago
1 like

Too many questions in my head here.. but clearly that 21 year old lad has some issues! 

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belugabob | 1 year ago
26 likes

As I've said before, it's not "drivers vs cyclists" - it's "crazy people vs everybody else"

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argiebarge replied to belugabob | 1 year ago
3 likes

So much this, the mode of transport isnt the issue its the melon using it.

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chrisonabike replied to argiebarge | 1 year ago
10 likes

With two possibly very important caveats:
 - When you're crazy in a motor vehicle* you can inflict enormous damage (including to large inanimate objects)
 - When you're a driver in the UK the police will not necessarily hold you to the law.  The law will give you the opportunity of serving a tiny sentence (or none) compared to the one you'd have got for wounding or killing without the aid of a large / fast motor vehicle.

* Just because some seem keen to conflate things - "motor vehicle" as in capable of enabling anyone to attain and maintain speeds far above "cycling 'woohoo!' speed".  Or is heavy - not as in "my cargo bike's really heavy!" but "several passers-by were unable to extract the victim from beneath the vehicle".

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srchar replied to belugabob | 1 year ago
4 likes
belugabob wrote:

As I've said before, it's not "drivers vs cyclists" - it's "crazy people vs everybody else"

Indeed it is, but there's plenty of evidence that getting behind the wheel turns otherwise normal people into crazies. Anonymity and invulnerability really diminish humans' inhibitions.

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hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
8 likes

Sounds like that bloke has some issues that need sorting out.

Firstly, he needs to work on his fitness as it should be easy enough to drop a handcyclist whether male or female.

Secondly, if you're getting overtaken, then that's a good excuse to hang off their back wheel for some free speed and if you get dropped, then at least you know you've got some training to do.

I'm surprised at the woman's experience of New Zealand lorry drivers - I thought New Zealand is very motor oriented.

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brooksby replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
6 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

Sounds like that bloke has some issues that need sorting out.

Cough, cough: "male insecurity"?  

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
3 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

Secondly, if you're getting overtaken, then that's a good excuse to hang off their back wheel for some free speed

An excellent idea, although your draftage may vary with the height of the handcycle!  A few I've seen couldn't be drafted on a Brompton.

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hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
2 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

An excellent idea, although your draftage may vary with the height of the handcycle!  A few I've seen couldn't be drafted on a Brompton.

Every little bit helps. Maybe part of his ire was that he was being overtaken and wouldn't be able to draft successfully?

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Car Delenda Est replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

Clearly he was slowing down to let her follow him and was enraged by her using his generosity against him to score such a petty victory /s

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