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Punches thrown, pepper spray used in incident in Cape Town on Sunday morning

Cycling South Africa says it is “horrified and disgusted” at a video posted to YouTube that shows members of a group of cyclists allegedly assaulting a van driver in Cape Town, including one using pepper spray on him. Other cycling organisations have also condemned the behaviour of the cyclists involved.

The incident took place on Sunday 2 March on Sea Point road in Cape Town, reports IOL News. The driver of the van was a 19-year-old student who had been volunteered to help clean up the road after the 10km Nelson Mandela Commemorative Walk.

It came at the start of the biggest week of the year for cycling in the Western Cape, with a series of events building up to Sunday’s Cape Argus Cycle Tour, with around 30,000 entrants the world’s biggest mass participation cycling event.

Footage of the incident captured by Symon Scott, who posted it to YouTube. A friend of his also provided it to the police.  Mr Scott said: “There was a lot more going down than what you can see in the video."

According to the description of the video provided by Mr Scott, the van “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... Just in the nick of time.

“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.”

In his account of the incident, the driver, Ibrahim Waggie, 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,” he added.

A police spokesman has confirmed that "cases of common assault and malicious damage to property were opened at Sea Point police station on Sunday.”

In a statement, Cycling South Africa said it “is horrified and disgusted by the behaviour and actions of a group of cyclists towards a motorist in the Western Cape at the weekend, that has emerged in a video clip online.

“Cycling SA condemns this type of behaviour in the strongest way possible and in no way condones or accepts this type of behaviour. This reaction towards a motorist cannot be justified in any manner whatsoever, whatever the circumstances. There is just no place for such behaviour in our sport.

It added: “Cycling SA is in touch with the cycling clubs who have been represented in the footage, and are currently trying to identify these individuals to institute immediate action, if they are affiliated to the organisation.”

The Pedal Power Association (PPA), South Africa’s largest recreational cycling organisation which stages some 50 events each year, said: “We are investigating the incident as a matter of urgency.

“We have contacted the club in question and have asked them for an official response as well as the names of the cyclists in question, to reach PPA on Tuesday 4 March 2014. Once we have all the facts at our disposal, disciplinary action will take place.”

The Cape Town Cycling Trust said that it condemned “in the strongest possible terms the incident that occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning. The kind of behaviour displayed is totally unacceptable.

“The Trust will be working together with the Pedal Power Association to identify those involved, following which the names will be forwarded to the authorities for a formal investigation, the outcome of which will determine the consequences for those involved.”

There were calls on the PPA’s Facebook page for the riders involved, and even their clubs, to be excluded from the Cape Argus Cycle Tour.

Some of the cyclists (in the light blue, yellow and white kit) were identified as belonging to the Muhammadeyah Cycling Club, although none of them is shown actually participating in the attack in the video.

The club posted a message on its Facebook page that read: “We are currently liaising with the relevant parties and investigating the matter,” adding it would provide an update “as soon as possible.” That page now appears to have been made private.

An article from the PPA republished on the club’s website in October warned cyclists to be vigilant following a series of muggings of lone riders.

That perhaps explains why one rider may have armed himself with pepper spray, which is legal in South Africa – although that is of course no excuse for the alleged use of it by a rider in Sunday's incident.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

46 comments

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kiwimagic64 [9 posts] 3 years ago
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Someones going to die very soon,and not because of an accident,no need.

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Critchio [222 posts] 3 years ago
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You couldn't make it up... Sounds like both sides at fault. My guess is the driver and his cohorts onboard were being cocks to the cyclists ending in retribution being sought by said cyclists.

Thats a novel way of asaulting someone though - with ya front wheel!

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Sadly Biggins [270 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm not sure why you'd take pepper spray on a ride unless you were looking for trouble

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gazpacho [106 posts] 3 years ago
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Well that's 1 way to buckle your front wheel...  35

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WigginsSchmiggins [26 posts] 3 years ago
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Does Wiggle stock pepper spray?

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Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago
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Sadly Biggins wrote:

I'm not sure why you'd take pepper spray on a ride unless you were looking for trouble

You have clearly never been to South Africa.

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Simon_MacMichael [2479 posts] 3 years ago
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Sadly Biggins wrote:

I'm not sure why you'd take pepper spray on a ride unless you were looking for trouble

Or unless trouble found you - read the last two paragraphs.

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cavasta [216 posts] 3 years ago
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Those guys are probably gonna be arrogant and aggressive little pricks in pretty much every aspect of their lives. In the above example they just happen to be in cycling mode.

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Ush [885 posts] 3 years ago
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cavasta wrote:

Those guys are probably gonna be arrogant and aggressive little pricks in pretty much every aspect of their lives. In the above example they just happen to be in cycling mode.

Sounds like you recognise yourself?

I don't know why, again, everyone is so quick to assume that the cyclists are at fault.

I suspect that more than likely the van passed the cyclists dangerously, the passengers threw water at the cyclists as this went on and then the van stopped abruptly in front of the peloton deliberately:

Quote:

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.

Retaliation followed. And while I wouldn't do it myself I'm not going to sit in ivory tower judgement.

Note also that the person videoing this is probably a "won't they get out of my way" type who was "held up", referring at the start of the video as "fuckers" ... and no I don't think he was appalled at the assault. Notice that his statement contradicts that of the driver of the vehicle quoted above:

Quote:

According to the description of the video provided by Mr Scott, the van “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.

Or, as many people seem fond of assuming around these parts, it could be that they just all insane. After all they are cyclists aren't they? And you (all) being cyclists yourselves know that they must be miscreants.

Carry on with the self-hatred.

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ribena [181 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

Does Wiggle stock pepper spray?

Try Amazon... http://www.amazon.com/Cycle-Saver-Install-Bicycles-Mountain/dp/B004II61JO (in America - its illegal for anyone to carry this here!)

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SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
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The story is starting to be told;
From, "They just started on the poor driver for no reason"
to, "Some stuff may have accidentally been thrown"
It seemed odd that this stupid behaviour was provoked by double parking
The, "They were being obstructive, but I was still able to overtake" statement is also interesting.
Hopefully we will get a believable story before the press lose interest; but I doubt it

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StantheVoice [103 posts] 3 years ago
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"probably', "could be" "I suspect" ...There are a lot of possibilities aren't there?  103

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dafyddp [423 posts] 3 years ago
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On the face of it, very nasty behaviour. Punches being thrown in the heat of an argument is one thing, but the way the team virtually queued to have their go was awful. As for the pepper-spray, that was as far from self-defence as you can get - he deliberately returned to meter the spray in the drivers eyes. Savage.

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md6 [181 posts] 3 years ago
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Ush wrote:

I don't know why, again, everyone is so quick to assume that the cyclists are at fault.

I suspect that more than likely the van passed the cyclists dangerously, the passengers threw water at the cyclists as this went on and then the van stopped abruptly in front of the peloton deliberately:
...
Retaliation followed. And while I wouldn't do it myself I'm not going to sit in ivory tower judgement.

You suspect? based on what exactly? nothing more than a need to justify what happened as 'retaliation'. Which it stopped being after the first rider walked away and another came up and smacked his front wheel into the guys face, then another comes over and pepper sprays him, then another comes over and punches him repeatedly. That's not retaliation, that is assualt. You may not want to get in the 'ivory tower of judgement' but i think many right minded people will. It was wrong, it was assualt and it deserves punishment. I'm sure you would also defend a driver getting out of their car and assualting a cyclist in retaliation for being called a w4nk3r or some such, based on your logic here.

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Ush [885 posts] 3 years ago
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md6 wrote:

You suspect? based on what exactly?

Try reading all of the post after you've wiped the spittle and froth off your chin and you'll see _exactly_ upon what my suspicions are based.

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Ush [885 posts] 3 years ago
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fatsimonstan wrote:

"probably', "could be" "I suspect" ...There are a lot of possibilities aren't there?  103

That's life. What's instructive is on what side people come down when they make wild leaps.

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vbvb [619 posts] 3 years ago
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I've got no idea of the facts here, haven't watched the video or any other video, couldn't really care less about any of it, and think we're idiots to get into issuing condemnations of anything so distant and unrelated to ourselves. The "We're looking into it" response of the club sounds about right, needs no additions. I'm not too bothered by that motorist in Alabama with the baseball bat either and not seeking apologies from my car-owning flatmate for it. I imagine this'll make a great Daily Mail story; it's what they do.

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Stumps [3459 posts] 3 years ago
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Hmm from what you can see they seem a complete bunch of pricks and the use of the pepper spray was way beyond self defence, however, there is always 2 sides to a story which will no doubt come out at some point.

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brackley88 [166 posts] 3 years ago
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I agree. Nothing justifies this. The only reason you can act like that is in defence. At that stage it is clear there is no more threat. The driver is being attacked. There may have been a reason before filming starts but even if he had run someone over they would be in the wrong. You can only use force to defend and there is no threat at that moment and they just keep going.

If he driver had done something this was not the way to act after and will do more harm than good to cycling and the image of cyclists.

Awful behaviour and I hope they catch them and prosecute them. Those are not cyclists. Those are thugs with bicycles.

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md6 [181 posts] 3 years ago
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Ush wrote:
md6 wrote:

You suspect? based on what exactly?

Try reading all of the post after you've wiped the spittle and froth off your chin and you'll see _exactly_ upon what my suspicions are based.

I read it, and thankfully haven't dribbed since i was still in nappies. But perhaps it would help to clarify my thoughts:

None of the quotes or the report itself gives any indication to the stopping abruptly or unsafe passing. And again, i'll get into my ivory tower to judge that they acted like morons and chose to assualt the driver, there is no way that can be termed 'retaliation' or anything but assualt.

So again, what _exactly_ are you basing your assumption on. Perhaps once you have gotten down from your high horse and thought about it you could give an actual answer?

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md6 [181 posts] 3 years ago
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[

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StantheVoice [103 posts] 3 years ago
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It's about what side you come down on when you've made wild leaps, I mean that makes total sense doesn't it? Er....

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FluffyKittenofT... [1564 posts] 3 years ago
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It seems a trifle absurd, I think, to try and find _any_ wider wider significance in an event like this, a minor altercation between people none of us know, occurring in a country with a shocking level of violent crime, itself probably partly a consequence of a very particular history.

People get into disputes with each other. It happens a million times a day all over the world. (In that particular country the disputes often end very badly indeed.) I don't think everyone has to try and take sides and work out who was in the right/wrong with respect to every single one of these disputes!

I think that these stories only matter insofar as they have any relevence to road design, law-enforcement, and general road-culture in this country (very much in that order, as far as I'm concerned). I don't see this case really meets that criteria. Which is not to say this site shouldn't report it, just that there's not a lot meaningful we can say about it, in my view.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1564 posts] 3 years ago
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stumps wrote:

Hmm from what you can see they seem a complete bunch of pricks and the use of the pepper spray was way beyond self defence, however, there is always 2 sides to a story which will no doubt come out at some point.

With regard to the pepper-spray - I believe this is the country that came up with the idea (and at least a few actual production models) of an anti-carjacking system involving side-facing flame-throwers mounted on the vehicle. So perhaps standards are different there?

http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/africa/9812/11/flame.thrower.car/

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Stumps [3459 posts] 3 years ago
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I saw the vehicle with the side flame throwers, my god how insane can someone be to want to use one ?????

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pepita1 [176 posts] 3 years ago
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Unless you've actually ridden the routes these cyclists use, you cannot know the hazards that they face. Friend of mine doing the Gospel Pass Audax in Wales a few weeks back was actually bitten by a dog! Luckily, his foot was saved by his neoprene overshoe.

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levermonkey [681 posts] 3 years ago
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NOTHING justifies the assault of another human being!

This is outright thuggery and I would charge the cyclists who stood by with being accessories before, during and after the fact.

Can you imagine the comments if the young driver had panicked and driven over the cyclists to escape?

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daddyELVIS [654 posts] 3 years ago
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A glimpse of what's to come over here? I've said before that we should be careful what we wish for. The politicization of cycling is not necessarily a good thing - politics tends to divide rather than unite, and I'm afraid I see the division between 'motorist' and 'cyclist' growing. Cyclists with a strong voice will not be tolerated. The BBC are already starting their propaganda campaign!

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daddyELVIS [654 posts] 3 years ago
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A glimpse of what's to come over here? I've said before that we should be careful what we wish for. The politicization of cycling is not necessarily a good thing - politics tends to divide rather than unite, and I'm afraid I see the division between 'motorist' and 'cyclist' growing. Cyclists with a strong voice will not be tolerated. The BBC are already starting their propaganda campaign!

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richdirector [69 posts] 3 years ago
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Sadly Biggins wrote:

I'm not sure why you'd take pepper spray on a ride unless you were looking for trouble

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