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.
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.