Newbury cyclist calls for patience after he is physically attacked on the A4 during a bike ride
A Newbury cyclist is calling for more understanding from motorists after he was physically attacked during a bike ride.
Martin Colston, who is also leader of Newbury Town Council, said he was punched in the shoulder by a van driver who confronted him on the A4 earlier this month.
And now he is calling on motorists to be patient with cyclists, reminding them that riders are very vulnerable with just a helmet and thin clothing protecting them from serious injury.
“Unfortunately it’s very usual, going out on a bike ride, to get some sort of abuse by motorists,” Mr Colston said. “I go out a lot, sometimes on my own, sometimes with others, and almost every ride there will be at least one incident of someone cutting in or going too close.”
This latest incident, which happened early one Saturday morning on the A4 between the Waitrose roundabout and the A34 in Newbury, is the first time Mr Colston has been physically assaulted.
“I have never had someone get out before,” he added. “I have had people do all the aggressive passing and shouting but this was a level further and completely out of order.
“It’s just such a shame. I don’t know what it is, but there’s quite a vocal anti-cyclist minority.
“Of course there are cyclists who don’t do as they should, but there are also drivers who don’t do it either, but that’s no excuse for verbal abuse, let along physical abuse.
“I just want people to realise we haven’t got any protection at all. We don’t always cycle close to the kerb because that’s the worst part of the road, with potholes and drains. I am sure drivers will give horses two metres so why won’t they give human beings the same?
“Please be a bit patient; we do our best. We have the right to be on the road too; just respect each other.”
Mr Colston said that people should be moving towards more active travel for physical and mental health, as well as environmental reasons, but added that “people have to feel safe for there to be a majority shift”.
“I have bought a camera for my bike now,” he said. “It’s a sad state of affairs when you feel you have to do this.”
Mr Colston, who has been cycling for around 10 years, completed a 500 mile charity ride across Scotland last September, raising more than £1,500 for Speakability, a charity dedicated to working with stroke victims and mayor, Billy Drummond’s charity of the year.
The 56-year-old is a member of Newbury Velo and Team Kennet and enjoys taking part in triathlons and cycling in the Alps.
Two witnesses have come forward in support of Mr Colston, who reported the incident to police.