Police have launched an appeal after a cyclist sustained a fractured spine after he and a friend he was riding with were run over by a hit-and-run driver in what is believed to have been a deliberate attack.
The incident happened on the B1222 at Naburn near York on Bank Holiday Monday and left 48-year-old John Bennett from Rotherham with “potentially life changing injuries.”
Mr Bennett, the secretary of Barnsley Road Club was riding with his friend and clubmate Martin Townsend, reports YorkshireLive.
“We got about a couple of miles down that road,” Mr Bennett said. “It's quite narrow because it's a country road so we were riding single file to allow cars to get past us more easily. I was in front and Martin was behind.
“There were no cars in front and no one around. Just before it happened, I saw something coming in my peripheral vision and then I saw the car make a beeline for both of us to try and hit us.
“He hit me and in turn I tripped Martin up and then the car didn't stop. It carried on.
“Next thing I know I'm getting on to the ambulance. Apparently, I was screaming in a lot of pain and there was a lot of blood.”
He insisted that the driver aimed his vehicle at himself and Mr Townsend, who sustained cuts and bruises in the incident.
“There was no reason for him to go near us,” he explained. “I know we get near misses on a regular basis but this car actually made a beeline for me. It was a left turn into us.
“My helmet and glasses took the fall impact. They're both now completely broken. Luckily my bike wasn't too damaged.”
Mr Bennett, who also sustained a gash to the bridge of his nose and bruising to his face, was kept overnight in York Hospital and was found to have suffered a double fracture of the spine.
“When I got in the ambulance they tried laying me down but I couldn't because I was in so much pain,” he said.
He will spend 12 weeks in a back brace, but the damage to his spine may be permanent.
“If the driver reads this article I would hope they do the right thing and hand themselves in to the police, even if it was an accident and they drove off in shock,” Mr Bennett added.
“Unfortunately it's becoming a regular occurrence where cyclists get injured or killed.”
North Yorkshire Police have also appealed to the driver of the vehicle, described as a “dark, Ford Focus-style car,” to come forward.
A spokeswoman for the force said: “The incident occurred between 10.30am and 10.50am on Monday, 25 May when the car and the cyclists were travelling along the B1222 between Stillingfleet and Naburn near York.
“A car is believed to have collided with the cyclists before leaving the scene without stopping.
“Both cyclists were taken to hospital for treatment to injuries sustained in the collision, with one of the men requiring ongoing treatment to serious back injuries.
“Officers are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area around the time of the collision and who may have information which could help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.
“Officers would also like to speak with anyone who has their suspicions around a vehicle which has sustained recent damage which may connect to this incident.
“Anyone who can assist with the investigation is urged to contact North Yorkshire police quoting reference 12200087038,” she added.
“If you wish to provide information anonymously then the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.