It is a nightmare scenario, one which too many cyclists in the United States face: you’re pedaling along, minding your own business when an angry driver pulls alongside and starts screaming obscenities. It usually ends with the driver speeding away, but for the Jamis-Hagnes Berman team today’s incident ended up with riders on the ground and police being called in to find the hit-and-run driver.
Speaking to Cyclingnews, Ben Jacques-Maynes described the incident, which happened on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona, where the team is holding its training camp.
“We had just made it out of town onto some quieter roads and were getting ready to start our workout,” Jacques-Maynes said. “We were riding two by two, which is legal in Arizona, and were actually all on the right side of the white line, on the shoulder of the road, when a car drove up beside us and the driver started screaming obscenities at us.”
According to Jacques-Maynes, the driver swerved into the two riders who were on the front of the 15-man paceline, causing a crash. Tyler Wren was the rider most injured but appeared to escape without any broken bones.
It was a frightening incident for Jacques-Maynes, whose twin brother Andy was the victim of a hit-and-run in California earlier this year, resulting in a broken collarbone which, combined with his lack of a pro contract for 2013, ended his cycling career.
The Jamis-Hagens Berman team was fortunate to have its follow car behind it, with directeur Sebastian Alexandre at the wheel. He was able to chase after the angry driver, allowing the team’s photographer John Segesta to employ his zoom lens to get pictures of the license plate. Police are currently looking for the driver.
It is a rare incident for a city which is known as one of the most bike-friendly communities in the country, but one not uncommon in the United States, where drivers do not understand that cyclists have the right to occupy the lane of traffic.