MADISON, Wis. - A disturbing road rage incident is prompting the city to remind cyclists and drivers to get along.
Madison is often named one of the country’s most bike-friendly cities, but sometimes interactions between drivers and cyclist can turn less than cordial, even dangerous.
“The issue of aggressive drivers is something that I’m well aware of as somebody who bikes,” said longtime cyclist Ben Jones.
Surveillance from a Madison Metro Bus shows captured a March 13 incident. It shows Jones riding his bike to work on East Washington Avenue. According to police, a 19-year-old drove into the turning lane and narrowly missed Jones.
"I stood my ground. I told him, 'It’s a bicycle lane, and you need to be careful,'" Jones said.
The driver then hopped out of the car while it was still in drive. He turned to Jones and then ran back to put the vehicle in park. He turned to Jones a second time and shoved him to the ground, according to police.
Renee Callaway, the city’s pedestrian and bicycle administrator, said collisions between bikers and drivers have actually gone down despite more cyclist and drivers out on the road. She said most collisions happen in the turning lane. Callaway said this is a good reminder for people to try to stay calm in similar situations and let the police handle the matter.
“Everyone has a lot of adrenaline in that moment, but it is important to take a step back, try to deescalate because you don't want this to turn into a shoving match or a fight,” she said.
Jones injured his shoulder but he isn't deterred.
“We have such a great city,” he said.
He said with all of his years on the road, he hasn’t experienced anything this aggressive, and he wants other drivers and cyclists to stay safe.
“We don't have the protection of air bags and a steel safety cage from a car to protect us. We are really just out in the elements, so when somebody swerves at you with you in their car or, heaven forbid, throws you to the ground, you have nothing to protect yourself.”
The driver was issued a citation for misdemeanor battery.