Cyclists in Leicestershire are “looking over their shoulders” in fear while police hunt a suspected driver and passenger in a silver BMW who have allegedly attacked three riders in separate incidents.
One rider, Andy Limb, was left with a broken collar bone after he was thrown over the handlebars when a car swerved at him. Another two were badly bruised after a passenger in a car leaned out and pushed them over.
All the attacks happened within six days in a three-mile radius in the south west of the county, and victims, who each identified an older-style silver BMW, said the consequences could have been fatal. Police are now looking at whether the attacks are linked and are appealing for witnesses.
Mr Limb 55, was riding his bike at about 25mph during a training run in Croft on Saturday when a BMW car swerved and slowed to his speed. Mr Limb, a lorry driver, said: “It swerved on purpose to run me off the road and then I moved left and hit gravel. My front tyre exploded and I summersaulted over the handlebars.
“I remember thinking ‘this is going to be really bad’ and I took the impact down the left side of my body.”
Mr Limb, a member of a running club who is now facing up to 12 weeks off work and will not be able to go on a cycling holiday to Paris to see the Tour de France, added: “I broke my collarbone and my helmet was split in two. If I was not wearing it I could have died. At the very least I would have had severe trauma to my head.
“There is a big cycling community around here and all of them are now very nervous. Now every time they get on a bike they are looking over their shoulder.””
Two days earlier, Martin Webster, a former international rider who runs a bicycle shop, was left with bruising when he came off his bike at 30mph after a BMW car drove alongside him and someone inside leaned out and pushed him. Mr Webster fell off his bike and landed on a verge.
His sister Deborah Langham said: “Martin had just helped direct someone who was lost when a car pulled up. He thought it was the people thanking him, then someone pushed him.”
She said police visited her brother to get a statement. “Martin was quite shaken. What people need to understand is that these incidents are life threatening,” she added.
Colin Haynes, 48, suffered bruised ribs after he was pushed by a car passenger in Broughton Astley as he rode home from work on 1 July. He said: “There was no road rage or anything, a car just came up to me and a hand came out of the passenger side and pushed me over. I was in a lot of pain.”
A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said: “We are taking these reports very seriously. Investigations are on-going and we have made an appeal for witnesses. Officers are aware of the incidents and their similarities.”