Video: South Africa cycling organisations condemn cyclists' road rage attack on van driver

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

by Simon_MacMichael   March 4, 2014  

Cape Town road rage YouTube still

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.

44 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

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.

posted by Ush [455 posts]
4th March 2014 - 15:22

11 Likes

fatsimonstan wrote:
"probably', "could be" "I suspect" ...There are a lot of possibilities aren't there? Wave

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

posted by Ush [455 posts]
4th March 2014 - 15:24

8 Likes

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.

posted by vbvb [343 posts]
4th March 2014 - 15:34

13 Likes

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.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2937 posts]
4th March 2014 - 16:04

10 Likes

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.

posted by brackley88 [89 posts]
4th March 2014 - 16:28

16 Likes

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?

posted by md6 [165 posts]
4th March 2014 - 16:38

13 Likes

[

posted by md6 [165 posts]
4th March 2014 - 16:38

13 Likes

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....

posted by fatsimonstan [40 posts]
4th March 2014 - 16:49

13 Likes

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.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [811 posts]
4th March 2014 - 17:08

12 Likes

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/

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [811 posts]
4th March 2014 - 17:36

11 Likes

I saw the vehicle with the side flame throwers, my god how insane can someone be to want to use one ?????

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2937 posts]
4th March 2014 - 18:39

6 Likes

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.

Pepita rides again!

posted by pepita1 [191 posts]
4th March 2014 - 18:40

7 Likes

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?

posted by levermonkey [463 posts]
4th March 2014 - 19:13

17 Likes

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!

posted by daddyELVIS [453 posts]
4th March 2014 - 19:28

16 Likes

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

Dogs and Baboons

richdirector's picture

posted by richdirector [56 posts]
4th March 2014 - 20:03

14 Likes

Assault is Assault. Cannot be justified!

posted by Sub5orange [44 posts]
4th March 2014 - 20:10

16 Likes

Whilst not a direct comment on the story above i think it is worth pointing out that South Africa, whilst looking very nice superficially, is a proper bad ass country where life is very cheap and you can be killed in a heartbeat if someone wants to steal your car (or an expensive looking bike) so different rules of self defence apply in that country for this reason - hence the pepper spray.
I think it should also be mentioned that the issue of race is a very open sore still to this day and i cant help noticing the colour of the skin of the cyclists. Once again - different rules apply. We dont know what was said, implied or otherwise before from the van's occupants that caused the cyclist to react like this.

posted by Some Fella [856 posts]
4th March 2014 - 20:29

6 Likes

Mugging cyclists is common in South Africa - they grab you at traffic lights, or cause an accident and then mug you. End result - stolen bicycle and usually some form of assault on the cyclist. That's (only one) reason why road cycling as not as popular as mountain biking by a long way in the country.

I suspect the only reason they had pepper spray is that guns are too heavy. I personally know mountain bikers who carry guns in the backpacks when in remote locations.

Confused

I'm heading off there tomorrow to do the Argus ... now where's my pepper spray ....

Extra bike? What extra bike dear?

goggy's picture

posted by goggy [127 posts]
4th March 2014 - 21:14

7 Likes

There's quite a few such degenerates around who appear in a Cyclist's form.

posted by dogcc [131 posts]
4th March 2014 - 21:45

5 Likes

Well... nobody died, so that's nice. \(^▽^@)ノ

posted by Quince [261 posts]
5th March 2014 - 1:01

5 Likes

Actually those flamethrowers did exist - but they were banned very quickly afterwards. as someone who was hijacked twice there in the 90's I think it's a great idea... unless you get into a panic and trigger it at a newspaper vendor at the traffic lights (they sell them to drivers that way there)

Extra bike? What extra bike dear?

goggy's picture

posted by goggy [127 posts]
5th March 2014 - 5:57

7 Likes

Having ridden in SA, pepperspray, knives and guns are common items to carry - and never in your backpack. You can't get to them quickly enough. There were several routes we would only ride if armed and in a group. The rate of violence and stress in everyday SA is VERY high - these incidents often blow up. Two weeks ago a motorcyclist was shot dead by a motorist in a similar incident.

Two cyclists have now been arrested and will appear in court today. A third is being sought.

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

jmaccelari's picture

posted by jmaccelari [187 posts]
5th March 2014 - 8:53

5 Likes

I also remember the flamethrowers. They were a serious product. There were also teargas modifications you could get. The problem is that there are a lot of "smash-and-grabs" where people standing at the traffic lights smash your window and grab whatever they can get hold of. It's very brazen and the guys re not shy about it. They walk around in the traffic looking into windows until they see something they like.

Here's a link to the flamethrower. I see it was never banned - just too expensive, so you can still buy one if you like!
"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaster_(flamethrower)"

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

jmaccelari's picture

posted by jmaccelari [187 posts]
5th March 2014 - 9:00

5 Likes

Ride your own ride

posted by CanAmSteve [186 posts]
5th March 2014 - 9:02

8 Likes

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:

You really will defend cyclists to the end, even if it means making up a story in your head to justify their actions?

Ush wrote:

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:

"Probably", "I suspect" etc. We're only missing a "more than likely" and a "I bet".

posted by welly2 [9 posts]
5th March 2014 - 10:24

5 Likes

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.

Ush wrote:
Sounds like you recognise yourself?

Err, no, not quite. A bit of a strange inference to make, if you don't mind my saying. I see one bloke pick up his bike and repeatedly smash it into the face of another person, while another guy sprays him in the face with pepper spray. The second cyclist then returns to the driver and repeatedly punches him in the face. How does recognising arrogant and aggressive behaviour mean that I am arrogant and aggressive?

cavasta's picture

posted by cavasta [215 posts]
5th March 2014 - 11:37

6 Likes

It almost seems a bit silly to report this sort of thing as we are never going to have the full story.

The idea that a group of cyclists would attack a driver because they were double-parked seems a little hard to believe. Maybe it's true but it seems unlikely to me.

'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'

This seems to suggest that water was being sprayed out of the vehicle and that 'sachets' were being similarally ejected. Is this normal behaviour in SA?

I'd never condone the sort of behaviour shown in the vid but its not too much of a leap of imagination to consider the possibility that the cyclists had had things thrown at them from the vehicle. This wouldn't excuse their behaviour but it would offer a more credible explanation than the notion that the driver was attacked for double-parking.

posted by Matt eaton [530 posts]
5th March 2014 - 12:05

5 Likes

I don't understand - why are the South African cyclists organisations being asked to comment on / justify the actions of these cyclists?

Isn't that like the AA or the RAC being asked to explain and justify the actions of some road-raging motorist (or lorry driver who's squashed someone)? And that never happens...

posted by brooksby [239 posts]
10th March 2014 - 13:31

2 Likes

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

jmaccelari's picture

posted by jmaccelari [187 posts]
16th June 2014 - 8:36

0 Likes

brooksby wrote:
I don't understand - why are the South African cyclists organisations being asked to comment on / justify the actions of these cyclists?

Isn't that like the AA or the RAC being asked to explain and justify the actions of some road-raging motorist (or lorry driver who's squashed someone)? And that never happens...


They were in club colours and are answerable to the club. The club, in turn, is answerable to the regional/national cycling authorities.

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

jmaccelari's picture

posted by jmaccelari [187 posts]
16th June 2014 - 8:38

0 Likes