The man who caused the latest major road rage accident in Sydney, Australia earlier this week, explained himself on radio station Macquarie Radio on Friday morning, saying he was "not a cyclist hater", and attributing the crash to an engine problem with his car.
The motorist braked suddenly in front of a group of around 50 cyclists, including professional cyclists Kate Nichols and Olympic hopeful Ben Kersten, on Thursday morning. The abrupt manoeuvre and the speed of the group sent more than half of the riders to the ground, injuring some 20 persons and causing considerable damage to the cycling equipment. The driver, whose action was considered as intentional by witnesses, then accelerated away from the scene.
The man, who only identified himself as 'Jason', said he was questioned by police on Thursday morning at 9am. But he claimed he did not provoke the accident deliberately, saying that an engine failure made him stop his vehicle. "I just got a car two days ago that is a gas and petrol thing - and it backfired, the airbox popped," he said, adding that his car "stalled", forcing him to pull up partly in the emergency lane and partly in the left-hand lane.
"I've pulled over, I had time to put my hazard lights on, put it into park, go to start it in petrol, half a dozen maybe 15 cyclists rode past me, and then all of a sudden one or two went bang bang into the back of my car," he said.
'Jason' and his girlfriend then drove off by switching the car from gas to petrol. "(They were) all looking at me like I'm an idiot and calling me names. I thought, 'I'm not getting out of the car with 50 blokes wanting to hit me.' I just drove off."
Injured rider Ben Kersten, whose Olympic preparation is seriously hampered by the accident, rang the radio station immediately afterwards and said 'Jason' was a liar. "You're a lying dog. You are a liar and you are going to get caught for it," he said, while Jason remained on the line. "You were doing 60 kilometres an hour and then stopped to zero ... what you did was ridiculous. Who takes off after they accidentally cause such damage - who isn't remorseful?"
Meanwhile, the cyclists involved in the accident are considering a class action against the driver to recoup the cost of their damaged equipment, according to the AAP. Speaking on another radio station, Fairfax, one of the riders said he estimated the damage to be over $50,000. Identifying himself as Glen from Cronulla, the man said he had been at the back of the pack when the driver swerved in front of them.
"We're really lucky the physical injuries weren't so much, but the cost has been - and I'm keeping a tally because there will be a class action in relation to this - is up over $50,000," he said.