Attack on a Cyclist“I don’t know how I didn’t break my neck.”

As heard on liveline

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“An act of savagery.” That was Joe Duffy’s description on Liveline of the attack on a cyclist in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains last weekend. The cyclist, John, was biking through the Sally Gap, as he has done many times in the past, when a car came up beside him. A man leaned out of the passenger side and pushed John off his bike. This startling act of violence could have led to serious injury – or worse – but fortunately John didn’t break any bones and two people came to his assistance shortly after the incident. So far, so appalling. John told Joe about what happened to him on Tuesday’s Liveline. But John was back on the programme the following day because another listener sent in a video of the incident, which was filmed by the perpetrators from inside the car. Joe asked John what he thought once he saw the video. 

“I remember it happening to me and I remember tumbling over, but, after seeing the video, like, I was shocked. I don’t know how I didn’t break my neck.” 

The video, an edited version of which you can see on Liveline’s Twitter feed here, is filmed from the back seat of the car. It shows a man leaning very far out of the passenger-side window – he’s effectively sitting in the open window of the car door – as the car approaches a cyclist and then the passenger pushes the cyclist off his bike. The bike and the cyclist somersault into the air and the cyclist lands – head-first – on the verge at the side of the road. 

“It doesn’t take much when you’re on the bike and you’re clipped into the pedals, to knock you off balance. Once he pushed me and I went up onto the grass verge, I wasn’t coming back from it.” 

John told Joe that he knew there was a car coming up behind him, but he, naturally, assumed that it would overtake him and continue on its way. It did both those things, of course, but not until John had been pushed off his bike. 

“I ended up tumbling over. Eventually, the bike disconnected from me and I ended up on the road and the bike was gone into the ditch. But I was flat-out on the road. And they just kept going.” 

As John points out, the fall could have broken his neck, or an on-coming car could have driven over him. That didn’t seem to matter to the men who had perpetrated an “act of savagery” on him.   

To hear John’s story in full – as well as other callers’ reactions – go here to listen to the full discussion. 

Niall Ó Sioradáin 

© The Listener 2021

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