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.
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.