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News : Men beat up Tour cyclist

A Durbanville cyclist has been attacked by five men wielding iron bars, mugged and left to crawl to safety along the N7.

Neville Murray, 57, of Durbanville, was looking forward to taking part in his 16th Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour this year and set out on a long ride early on Saturday.

Speaking to the Cape Argus at his home yesterday, Murray said he was cycling along the N7 near Potsdam Road, opposite Van Schoorsdrift Road, when five men, believed to be aged between 18 and 25, accosted him.
"One of them grabbed the front of my bike and they threw me down on the tar. They had iron bars and hit me with them," he said.

"They were very violent and tried to rip all my clothes off."

Murray said the men had just pulled him to the middle of the busy main road when a truck stopped, and its driver and passengers came to his rescue.

The five men fled on foot with R150 and a cellphone, but left Murray's bicycle.

While the driver and his passengers gave chase, Murray, fearing the oncoming traffic and despite severe pain in his back, crawled to the side of the road.

More passing motorists, whom Murray called "road angels", stopped to assist, and an ambulance arrived 45 minutes later. He was taken to hospital and later learnt he had a fractured vertebra.

He has to wear a back brace and will not be taking part in the Cycle Tour.

Like Murray, thousands of cyclists across the city have been gearing up for the world's largest timed cycle event - the annual Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, on March 14.

But several have been injured in incidents in recent weeks, and organisers have made several appeals to motorists and cyclists to be careful.

Cyclist Ren Brand, 68, was hit by a car on Saturday morning and was told by doctors this week that his leg would have to be amputated.

Brand was knocked off his bike by a motorist who fled the scene.

Earlier this month, Kelly Kosky's right leg was amputated after it was crushed by a truck.

Brand and Kosky, 59, are members of the Recyclers Cycling Club.

The city issued a statement yesterday urging cyclists and motorists to exercise "extreme caution, tolerance, awareness and mutual respect".

Councillor Elizabeth Thompson, mayoral committee member for transport, roads and major projects, said motorists and cyclists had a legal right to use South Africa's roads.

Cyclists could ride on any public road other than a freeway or where cycling was expressly forbidden.

"Motorists need to be more tolerant of cyclists, and cyclists need to be vigilant and obey the rules of the road," Thompson said.

Inspector Erica Crous of the provincial police media office, there is no record of the incident at any of the police stations close to the scene of the attack.

However, Murray said he gave his details to paramedics, who said they would hand them over to the police.

Police are also appealing for information that could lead to identifying the motorist in the accident involving Brand. Call investigating officer Inspector David Steenkamp at 084 680 0114 or 021 784 2700 with any information.

Source: iol.co.za

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Tags: crime   Tourism  

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