Edinburgh cyclist clings to bonnet of speeding car during rush hour road rage attack

Police hunt "grinning" driver of Renault Clio

by Simon_MacMichael   November 9, 2011  

Edinburgh © Simon MacMichael.jpg

An Edinburgh cyclist has described how his commute to work through the Scottish capital on Monday morning turned into a nightmare as he was left clinging on to the bonnet of a speeding car whose driver, with a grin on his face, had rammed him from behind after the bike rider had tried to shake him off following earlier threats. Police are now trying to trace the motorist and have appealed for witnesses.

Bar manager Iain Thomson, who was taken to hospital after his ordeal, first encountered the motorist, driving a Renault Clio Hatchback, as he passed through Fountainbridge on his way into the city from his home in Slateford.

The chain of events began when the motorist seemed to brake hard behind another vehicle, 32-year-old Mr Thomson told The Scotsman.

“The Clio behind them obviously hadn’t seen the car in front indicating and stopped very abruptly,” he explained.

“I had to slow down, went past and made an innocent gesture, as if to suggest ‘how couldn’t you have seen that’.

“He followed me, pulled up in front of me before the lights at Cargo and shouted out his window that the second car had stopped without any warning. I just kept cycling because I didn’t want to get into anything, but going through the next set of traffic lights at Farmfoods he swerved in as if he was going to hit me.

“I probably shouldn’t have, but I shouted at him as we passed round that bend. At this point he got out the car and started running at me.

“The lights were at red and I ended up going up over the pavement to make sure I wasn’t going to get attacked.”

The cyclist rode into Semple Street to Morrison Street, over Lothian Road to Bread Street then onto Spittal Street and Johnston Terrace, at the foot of Castle Rock.

He hadn’t managed to shake off the motorist, however, and said that what followed was “beyond belief.”

“I must have got three-quarters of the way up, nearly on the Royal Mile, and realised there was a car right behind me. He’d obviously waited for me to turn around, had this grin on his face, and just drove into the back of my bike at speed, buckling the wheel.

“I leant on to the car and ended up on the bonnet. I grabbed the windscreen wipers and the wing mirror, he reversed, did a U-turn and started speeding down Johnston Terrace.

“I didn’t want to let go in case I went under the wheels, so I hung on and hoped he would just stop. He must have been doing 20mph-30mph.

“He slammed on the brakes to try and get me off. I was hanging on thinking there’s no way he could keep going.

“I didn’t want to end up under his wheels so I pushed myself off the car and rolled down the road.”

Three eyewitnesses helped Mr Thomson, who was taken to hospital to be treated for cuts and bruises – but it goes without saying that the outcome of the incident could have been very different indeed, as highlighted by Detective Inspector George Thomson of Lothian & Borders Police.

"It is only good fortune that the cyclist did not suffer serious injury during this hit and run collision and we are now conducting a thorough investigation to identify and trace the driver of the Renault Clio,” he said.

Lothian & Borders Police are reportedly studying CCTV footage for evidence, but also hope that more witnesses will come forward.

"Anyone who witnessed the original confrontation in Fountainbridge, or the incident, which followed is asked to contact police immediately,” continued DI Thomson.

"Similarly, anyone with any other information that can assist with our enquiries should also come forward.”

Lothian and Borders Police can be contacted on 0131 311 3131, or anyone with information can also call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

25 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Scumbag. Hope he gets caught.

posted by paulfg42 [395 posts]
9th November 2011 - 18:16


When a raging driver gets out of their car to attack someone, they tend to leave the door open, keys in, and engine running.

Their (cowardly?) departure from the scene is usually aided by this detail. Thus helpfully turning off the engine and removing the keys from the ignition will ensure they don't get booked for leaving a vehicle unattended with the engine running. Do not remove the keys from the car (that's theft) although they might just drop down somewhere rather inaccessible.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [560 posts]
9th November 2011 - 18:20


'Attempted murder' in my book!

andybwhite's picture

posted by andybwhite [242 posts]
9th November 2011 - 18:36


Disgusting makes me sick! Angry

posted by adam86 [11 posts]
9th November 2011 - 19:05

1 Like

Hoping that this won't deter Iain from getting back on two wheels. The comments by the Scotsman 'readership' put the Daily Rage's to shame mind. Then again nothing new or creative, just the usual predictable spiel. It seems that Edinburgh is determined to have the car rule the streets and the cyclists consigned to the outskirts as Saturday only cyclists!!

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1185 posts]
9th November 2011 - 19:24



that is EXACTLY what I think as well. Sometimes I really regret that the "eye for an eye" rule is not used anymore.

blog rowerowy - my blog about bicycles (written in Polish, but feel free to visit me! Smile )

mikroos's picture

posted by mikroos [254 posts]
9th November 2011 - 20:02

1 Like


posted by yongkun [17 posts]
9th November 2011 - 20:20


Not sure why he bothered with a gesture in the first place though. Drivers are generally not concentrating, it's hardly a surprise is it?

Shut up legs

slow-cyclo's picture

posted by slow-cyclo [74 posts]
9th November 2011 - 23:58


Some of the comments on the Scotsman site make me sad to be from Edinburgh. Generally it's not the worst city for cycling in (during the festival it's insane with the sheer number of seemingly bewildered tourists who are more of a danger than the cars!), but still suffers from the usual scourge of motorists believing, incorrectly, that they own and pay for the road.

I hope that not only do they catch this psycho driver but he is made an example of.

posted by moonbucket [60 posts]
10th November 2011 - 0:32


"helpfully turning off the engine and removing the keys from the ignition"

Heh! I've often day-dreamed this and even go one further. The motorist gets out and chases me round the car until I can jump in and lock the doors...

posted by horizontal dropout [234 posts]
10th November 2011 - 1:03

1 Like

Once had a motorist drive straight at me as I cycled through Slateford. No prior incident or altercation just a moron trying to wind me up. Seems the city has it's fair share of un-hinged nutters

posted by bauchlebastart [100 posts]
10th November 2011 - 8:42

1 Like

What possess drivers to behave like this? Whether its chasing cyclists, other drivers or pedestrians it's total lunacy Confused

so unfit, I'm not even fit for nothing!

posted by Izaak30 [117 posts]
10th November 2011 - 10:15

1 Like

Reminds me of the case in Coventry (reported on this site at http://road.cc/content/news/17331-road-rage-driver-gets-life-murdering-c...) where a road rage attack resulted in a murder conviction. (Oddly enough I've cycled round Coventry and the West Midlands a lot I've found drivers to be generally very considerate). Driving into someone deliberately and continuing to drive when they are clinging to your bonnet? Definitely attempted murder.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [295 posts]
10th November 2011 - 10:25

1 Like

A V Lowe - removing the keys then cycling to the local police station to report the incident, handing the keys in to the police is not theft (since you have no intention of keeping the keys permanently - incidentally this is why people aren't charged with car theft when they take them for "joy-rides", the offence is "twoc"king - taken without owners consent). Then they have to find their way to the Police station to retrieve their keys.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [295 posts]
10th November 2011 - 10:49


@hairyairey - I can't think of any single action, which if carried out, would provide *more* justification for drivers to treat cyclists badly than what you're describing

I sincerely hope it's in jest

Buddha said:

Believe nothing, No matter where you read it,
Or who has said it, Not even if I have said it,
Unless it agrees with your own reason
And your own common sense.

mad_scot_rider's picture

posted by mad_scot_rider [586 posts]
10th November 2011 - 12:11


What a c@nt! Angry

Argy's picture

posted by Argy [147 posts]
10th November 2011 - 12:30


How can the police representative call this a collision with a straight face? I understand that they might not be able to call it an attack, but surely "apparent attack" or some other such wording is reasonable.

posted by ambrosen [3 posts]
10th November 2011 - 15:42


Yep, Embra has its share of nutters as this incident proves. The driver pursued the cyclist for quite a distance, Slateford to Castle Terrace too (look it up on Gargle if you want to measure the distance). I find it hard to believe that the police haven't already found the offender. It does suggest that the police can't be arsed.


posted by OldRidgeback [2580 posts]
10th November 2011 - 22:29


i think oldridgeback nailed it as it's only involving a cyclist isn't it. i wouldn't be suprised if Mr Thomson doesn't end up on a criminal damage charge or traveling in/on a motor vehicle without a seatbelt fine. sadly there are far too many of these people and i fear a small fine or a "you naughty boy" is in the offing even if he is caught. i do hope i am proved wrong.

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [493 posts]
11th November 2011 - 17:39

1 Like

What a psycho!

I hope the police put some effort into finding this driver.

posted by thereverent [354 posts]
11th November 2011 - 18:00

1 Like

Jeez, I've had the numpties driving/ swerving at me the last time was in Edinburgh too when a driver came back/ followed me like in the story but touchwood I've never had contact.

Howl Like a Bianchi

HLaB's picture

posted by HLaB [61 posts]
11th November 2011 - 20:30


Shame it wasn't a cat instead of a cyclist, the CCTV coverage would probably have been produced in an instant, and shown repeatedly on national TV until the culprit handed himself in! At Wits End


posted by rogie40 [29 posts]
11th November 2011 - 21:40

1 Like

Rog - Sad but very true.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this case is as it seems that if you wish to injure or kill someone waiting until they are on a bike and you are in a car is a great way to get away with it!!!!!

Angelfishsolo's picture

posted by Angelfishsolo [130 posts]
12th November 2011 - 12:33

1 Like

I have every faith in the cops finding this guy. I just hope the courts do there bit when it comes to sentancing this idiot!! I commute in Edinburgh most days and most drivers are fine. I'd say every city/town has it's fair share of kn**heads.


posted by Bennyboy [38 posts]
12th November 2011 - 14:23


cidermart wrote:
i think oldridgeback nailed it as it's only involving a cyclist isn't it. i wouldn't be suprised if Mr Thomson doesn't end up on a criminal damage charge or traveling in/on a motor vehicle without a seatbelt fine. sadly there are far too many of these people and i fear a small fine or a "you naughty boy" is in the offing even if he is caught. i do hope i am proved wrong.

I'm from Edinburgh and I know that area and I know it's extremely unlikely that a pursuit stretching from Slateford to Castle Terrace, quite a distance, was not captured on CCTV. The West End of Edinburgh is a busy area for traffic and the end of Lothian Road also has a poor reputation for assault at night, so it is unimaginable that no traffic cameras or CCTV would have picked up the Renault and its licence plate. I know for a fact that there are camers covering parts of Castle Terrace.

Why have the police been unable to recover this footage? Given that there will only be a specific number of Renaults of that colour registered in Edinburgh, a quick glance at the PNC II would yield some names of owners. Cross-checking them against those with a previous record for violence would narrow the field. And since the cyclist has a rough idea of the offender's age range, it shouldn't be too hard to reduce the suspect list to a few names that could be counted on the fingers of one hand. A quick glance at their vehicle for recent damage and a match with traffic camera or CCTV footage would seal the deal. I can't believe Lothian and Borders police don't know all this, so my guess is that they simply haven't bothered because they don't give a toss as it is 'only a cyclist', despite the official statement.

Come on, Detective Inspector George Thomson, prove me wrong.


posted by OldRidgeback [2580 posts]
12th November 2011 - 17:28