This week’s Tuesday Night Bike Ride was marred by an incident between a pedestrian and cyclists that ended with a cyclist being pushed to the ground and the police being called.
According to participants in the ride, the incident occurred near Third Street when cyclists were heading north on Dodge and a male pedestrian was walking south in the road.
Laura Leigh said the group was on Dodge when they encountered a man who had his arms out.
“At first I thought he was high-fiving people. Then I saw him trying to grab cyclists to push people off their bikes,” Leigh said. “He kept saying ‘vehicles to the right, vehicles to the right everybody to the right.’ When I passed he said ‘cyclists need to obey the rules of the road.'”
Leigh said there was no traffic on the road and they weren’t obstructing anyone.
Jonny Udull was riding at the back of the pack picking up stragglers and making sure no one was left behind.
He said he saw the man walking down the street flailing his arms and yelling at everyone. Udull said the man rushed him and shoved him off his bike. He said it seemed like he waited until most of the riders had gone by so that other people wouldn’t see him do it.
According to Tucson Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Maria Hawke, both Udull and the pedestrian called the police. The pedestrian told police that a group of cyclists tried to run him over and he was defending himself. He stayed and waited for the police to show up.
Udull, who also called the police, told the 911 operator that he was attacked by a pedestrian.
Hawkes said no police report was filed and the pedestrian wasn’t arrested because Udull didn’t want to press charges.
Udull said he would have liked to have to pressed charges, but figured it would just be too much of pain for the rest of the cyclists involved to get out of work to go to court.
Ultimately he just asked the officer to talk to the pedestrian and tell him he needed to respect cyclists’ right to the road.
Leigh said a police officer who responded was actually hostile to the cyclists and insinuated the riders were probably at fault.
“He said ‘What you people are doing on these Tuesday night rides is a nuisance and creating situations that this city doesn’t need,'” Leigh said. He gave us a really hard time. He said ‘I am an avid cyclist, I am pro-cycling and what you are doing is giving cycling a bad name.”
Udull said he wasn’t too badly injured but that his elbow is sore after falling on it.
He said the bike ride is very important to him and makes him feel like he is part of the community and hopes this incident won’t affect the spirit of the ride.
“I don’t want people not to go on the ride because of it,” he said. “I’m glad it happened to me and not someone else on the ride.”