Cyclist injured in apparent road rage incident with truck

A cyclist is recovering after an alleged road rage incident in which a motorist attempted to ram him with his truck, severely damaging his bike and sending him sprawling to the pavement.

“I’m still processing this in a really big way,” Elliot Long said, describing how a seemingly innocent interaction with a motorist allegedly turned hostile.

“I’m really shaken up. I would like to continue cycling, but it is really scary.”

Long, a student at the University of Winnipeg, said he was cycling northbound on Roslyn Road near Osborne Street around 9 a.m. Monday when a car cut him off and stopped at a red light.

When he gestured for the driver to give him more space, an unrelated motorist behind the wheel of a burgundy truck began shouting at him.

“I don’t even know why he got involved,” Long said. “He started foaming at the mouth, screaming all kinds of stuff, just completely losing it at me.”

Long stepped off his bike and turned to face the incensed motorist. When the light turned green, the man in the truck “backed up a little bit and crashed right into me,” he said.

Long said he managed to dive away in order to avoid being run down, and watched from the ground as the truck sped off with his bike trapped beneath. The bike broke loose a few metres away with its rear tire, chain and gears reduced to a twisted wreck.

Shaken up and sore, but relatively unharmed, the cyclist got to his feet and took note of the truck’s licence plate. He went immediately to Winnipeg Police Service headquarters and filed a report, he said.

Numerous witnesses approached him in the aftermath of the crash, including a staff member at a nearby convenience store who said they had video footage; that evidence has since been submitted to police, Long said.

On Tuesday, WPS confirmed it received the report but did not provide additional details.

“They asked me if I want to press criminal charges,” Long said. “(I said) yes. This is not OK. There are cyclists killed often and you cannot behave that way. It’s completely inappropriate.”

Manitoba Public Insurance data shows an average of four cyclists are killed and 78 are injured in collisions annually throughout the province. While every situation is different, claim reports suggest fault is often shared between drivers and cyclists.

In June, a 63-year-old man was struck on his bike and sent to the hospital in critical condition after a hit-and-run incident near Isabel Street and Notre Dame Avenue. In May, a cyclist in his 30s was critically injured after being struck by a garbage truck near Erin Street and Sargent Avenue.

Javed Musharraf, 22, died late last year after colliding with a front-end loader while riding his electric bike near the intersection of Mission and Plinguet streets.

A separate 2019 MPI report found roughly 30 per cent of drivers admit to committing acts of road rage, including shouting, cursing, making rude gestures or — in extreme cases — forcing other motorists off the road.

Long estimates the cost of damage to his bike, helmet and eyeglasses will exceed $1,000. The number does not account for physical or emotional damage suffered as a result, he said.

He intends to file a claim with MPI.

“Everybody I know who is a cyclist has been in an accident at some point,” he said, “Drivers seem to think cyclists are supposed to ride on the sidewalk sometimes, which is not the law and is much more dangerous. I wear my helmet, I follow the rules of the road, but it is scary.”