A CYCLIST was grabbed and punched by an angry driver, who then knocked his partner to the floor in a shocking road rage incident.
Ady Short was riding along the winding roads between Swindon and Cricklade with his wife Mandi and a group of fellow Swindon Wheelers when they encountered an impatient motorist.
Footage shows cyclists going two abreast while navigating the bends in the narrow rural roads, which aggravated the person behind the wheel of car behind them.
After being held up for a minute or so, the driver overtook them and began arguing with them as they passed him – then pulled Ady into the open window and punched him.
While grappling with Ady, the driver’s car continued onward and knocked Mandi off her bike.
Ady suffered a black eye and Mandi cut her knee.
Ady said: “We get people who are anti-cyclist and receive a bit of abuse, sometimes they pass us too close and too fast as a sort of punishment for us holding them up, but no-one’s assaulted us before, it’s an exceptional case.
“He wouldn’t have been able to pass us on those twisty sections even if we had been single-file, we weren’t doing anything illegal.
“There may be a lack of understanding about the Highway Code. He kept saying we should be single file but that would condense the group and make it more likely for people to attempt overtaking – which would not be safe on the tight corners we went round.
“It’s a strange situation to be in, seeing people so irate. I was trying to keep the peace with him because we try to de-escalate these situations and not react to the abuse, say sorry for the inconvenience and explain why we’re going two abreast. But before I could say much, he pulled me inside the car and hit me, then he couldn’t see where he was going.
“He stopped, I calmed down – the others stopped me retaliating, I was a bit annoyed – and what really de-escalated the situation was my wife saying she’d got it all on camera.
“We all drive cars so we understand it’s frustrating, and people have the right to an opinion, but there’s no need for that.”
One of the Wheelers called the police, who arrived within half an hour and took statements, then the group carried on with the rest of their ride.
Ady sent the footage of the incident to the police and was later told the driver had admitted what he did, said he’d overreacted and expressed remorse.
The police let him off with a caution so Ady thought the case was closed, but is considering appealing the police’s decision after hearing advice from club members who are lawyers.
He added: “If you were walking through the town centre and someone came up and punched you in the face, that’s assault, you wouldn’t be let off with a caution. People get fined just for close passes and a lot less than that.”
The group regularly goes on weekend rides and on this occasion, one of the five small groups which totalled 70 riders was near the Casa Paolo restaurant, on the road to Cricklade near the Brevell Bridge, at around 8.30am on a Sunday in August.
The Swindon Wheelers is Swindon’s oldest cycling club and is looking forward to celebrating its centenary in 2023. They raise money for charity and the community, like Wheels for All.
A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “In line with national policy, in cases of common assault with no injury, where the offender is identified and fully admits the offence, then an adult caution is deemed a suitable outcome.
“We are committed to providing a high level of service for all victims of crime. If any victim is dissatisfied with the service they have received then they can make a formal complaint via the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner.”