Three Devon cyclists say they were run off the road by a Devon councillor who then swore at them and told them that they deserved it. The Plymouth Herald reports that counter allegations have been made by the driver who claims that he was assaulted by a cyclist.
Jason Acreman, Rob Peirce, and Paul Reynolds say that a Land Rover driven by Bridford parish councillor, James Atkinson, tried to overtake them on the wrong side of the road round a blind corner, only to hit Acreman after swerving to avoid an oncoming vehicle.
Acreman said the three men were coming to the end of a training ride when they heard beeping from a car behind and then screeching and skidding. "I was riding by the hedge and had nowhere to go and was left upside-down and hanging out of a tree. I was quite lucky really but do have a badly bruised hip, muscle damage, pain in my back and my shoulder is grazed.”
When confronted immediately afterwards, Atkinson allegedly told the cyclists to 'fuck off' and said that they 'deserved it'. He was also caught on camera aiming a middle finger gesture towards them.
A fourth cyclist, who wasn’t with the trio, cycled into town to get phone signal to call the police, but when they arrived Atkinson had already left. An official complaint has been made.
Peirce described Atkinson as being incredibly aggressive throughout and claimed he showed no remorse or concern.
"After a while he said we deserved it because we were riding four abreast, but we weren't. Luckily there was an oncoming car, who was a witness.
"He was coming down the long straight which we were at the end of, so he would have seen us on the horizon, but he didn't slow down. Instead he started beeping his horn, and committed to taking the corner regardless of us.
"He went onto the wrong side of the road, but there was an oncoming car so he veered into us, and knocked my friend Jason off his bike. Jason quickly gathered himself and we approached Atkinson, and tried to take the key out of the ignition to stop him driving off.”
When Atkinson stopped them from getting the key, the cyclists stood in front of the car to try and prevent him from leaving.
"We tried to explain to him that he could kill someone driving that way, but he kept sticking his finger up at us and saying 'fuck you'.”
"I've never seen anything like it. It was all about him and his story, about how it wasn't his fault. Eventually he drove off. He said that he was going straight to the police station, but we don't think he actually did.”
A police spokesman said:
"At about 12.30pm on Sunday there was a collision between a Land Rover and some cyclists between Christow and Canonteign turning. Two cyclists have come off their bikes.
"One male has a head injury while the other man has cuts and bruises. Counter allegations have been made by the driver who is alleging that he was assaulted by a cyclist, and we are making inquiries as to what happened."
Councillor Atkinson declined to comment, saying: "I am not able to do so until I have finished talking to the police regarding their investigations."