Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist whose 2006 book The God Delusion has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide, has claimed that a “psycho” cyclist smashed his Tesla car with a D-lock on Oxford’s Cowley Road on Monday afternoon.
The alleged incident happened at around 1.30pm, with the 80 year old, who is professor emeritus at New College, Oxford, appealing for witnesses through a post on Twitter. It is not clear from his tweets whether he was the driver, though it does appear to be his car.
“Crazed cyclist launched unprovoked attack on blue Tesla 3 heading SE,” he wrote, adding a picture of the damage.
”Smashed back window with D-lock. Then pursued us, fell off his bike in his fury, then tried to smash driver’s side front window. Witnesses pls phone Oxford police.”
Here’s a photo of the damage done by the psycho smashing the window with repeated blows from his D-lock. pic.twitter.com/a6asqROjvT
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) November 29, 2021
Some Twitter users pointed out that since it was a Tesla, there should be video footage from the vehicle’s on-board cameras.
It’s a Tesla so you’ll have the camera footage and the preceding ten minutes, right? Pass them on to the police and they can see this event and any actions leading to it.
— Richard Warner (@rgwarner) November 29, 2021
But Dawkins said that there was no memory stick inserted in the vehicle, although he would contact Tesla to see whether any footage might have been captured in any event.
In current climate-change crisis, I’m bewildered by hostility to Tesla: EV pioneer.
Alas no memstick, so no camera record. I’ll plug it in henceforth.
I’ve asked Tesla if they can retrieve record.
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) November 30, 2021
Nevertheless, some wondered whether the absence of video might be explained by something having happened beforehand that might have prompted the cyclist’s reaction.
Instead of posting photos show us the video. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence...or just a video in this case. I find the idea a cyclist would just smash your car for no reason hard to believe. It's much likelier that an old tesla driver did something.
— Rafal Pruszynski (@RafalPruszynsk2) November 30, 2021
Any person doing this is wrong, no question. However, while totally wrong that doesn't mean it was unprovoked... forgive us cyclists (who mostly also drive) but we have heard this one before... lots! So, can we have the video and at least a few minutes before the 1st incident?
— Jonathan Stone (@JonnyStone) November 29, 2021
Others seemed happy just to sit back and watch the evolving exchange on the social network.
Richard Dawkings vs Cycling twitter, this should be good.
— richard etchell (@richetchell) November 29, 2021
And, given Dawkins’ aetheism, some just couldn’t resist …
God will make sure they get their comeuppance
— Pants (@PantsNeil) November 29, 2021
BBC News reports that Thames Valley Police have confirmed that they are investigating reports of damage to a car on Cowley Road on Monday, but could not release the name of the alleged victim, in line with force policy.
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.