A cyclist has appeared before Poole Magistrates’ Court accused of assaulting a police officer and Bournemouth’s seafront manager on the seaside resort’s promenade last June.
The alleged assaults, reported on road.cc at the time, took place against the backdrop of tension between cyclists and the local authority and police, who have been aiming to combat the perceived problem of people riding along the promenade at speeds exceeding 10mph.
The cyclist, 43-year-old Nicholas Rowntree from Poole, denies the charges. But as reported in the Bournemouth Echo, seafront manager Chris Saunders claims that he was forced to stop Mr Rowntree with both hands “to stop him cycling into me.”
Mr Saunders, who said that the cyclist was riding “extremely erratically with no hands on the handlebars,” added that he had been concerned for the safety of other people on the promenade such as pensioners and young mothers with their children.
He claimed that Mr Rowntree rode past him before skidding into a turn and riding at him, saying that the bike struck his shin as it passed him. “If I hadn’t jumped out of the way, it would have probably broken both my legs,” he told the court.
However, Mr Rowntree’s defence counsel disputed that version of events, saying that his client asserted there had been no contact from the bike and indeed that it had been Mr Saunders who had pushed the cyclist.
Immediately after the alleged incident, Mr Saunders contacted colleagues, resulting in police putting up a barrier apparently to stop Mr Rowntree. Police community support officer Hannah Ward told the court that she called out and put a hand up to stop the cyclist as he approached, but claimed that he shoved her away and carried on along the promenade.
PCSO Ward said, “He came towards me and shoved me off with his left arm. He shoved me on my hand with such force it almost caused me to fall over.
“I was fearful – I didn’t know what else he would do, if he would strike me.”
But through his lawyer, Mr Rowntree said that while he acknowledged he had gone through the barrier, he “simply rode through and made no contact with anyone at all.”
The court was told that he was arrested some 90 minutes later as he cycled back along the promenade.
The case has been adjourned to a later date.
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.