Bicyclist hit by car then attacked
CLOVIS, Calif. (FOX26) —
A woman riding a bike says a driver nearly hit her, and when she confronted the people in the car, they attacked.
Celeste Martinez is on the Fresno Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. She says she was biking in the middle of a lane near Shaw Avenue and Willow Avenue Thursday, hoping to signify to drivers that they didn’t have enough room to pass her in the same lane.
Unfortunately, she says that wasn’t enough, and someone side-swiped her.
That’s when things got ugly.
“These people are murderers! They want to hit someone with a kid in their car!” Martinez can be heard screaming at the driver in a video she recorded during the incident. “You almost hit me you jerk!”
The video shows people in a car mocking Martinez after she says they side-swiped her as she was biking.
“He saw no remorse in it. He thought it was funny to hit someone,” said Martinez.
Next, she says he hit the gas and lunged the car at her.
“To a cyclist, any type of lurching the car towards you is indicative that they’re using their car as a weapon, and it felt like he was going to hit me again. Because the first time, he did hit me, and he didn’t care he taunted me about it,” said Martinez.
Martinez says she short pepper spray toward the car. Right after, the video shows the driver and passenger get out and hit her.
“After they threw me on the ground, the girl was trying to attack me, and I’m on the ground just trying to get myself up, kicking, and that’s when the people tried to get her off of me,” said Martinez. “I was just scared, I was trying to fight for my life, because I didn’t know what they were going to do. That fight or flight kicked in, and I fought.”
Martinez says this is the second time she’s been assaulted by angry drivers while she’s biking.
“I’m probably going to take some time off from it. I really don’t want to, but I feel like at this point, it’s really scary,” said Martinez through tears.
While Martinez says she may be taking the bus for a while, she’s hoping to educate people about how to share the road.
“Maybe more people will slow down when they come around a bicycle. It only takes a few seconds of their time. They’re in a car, they will get there. Just slow down, because speed is really the biggest killer out there on the roads,” said Martinez.
Clovis Police say the driver was issued a citation for misdemeanor battery, but they haven’t located him yet.
Martinez believes the charge is only a misdemeanor because she used pepper spray before the people attacked her. She says she doesn’t feel the need to press further charges, but would like to educate people about biking laws.
“When you see a cyclist in the full lane, it’s not because they want to impede traffic, it’s not because they want to prevent other people from going to their destination. It’s because they know the lane isn’t big enough,” said Martinez.
Martinez says you can attend bicycle education classes where they teach the rules of the road at Steven’s Bicycles in Clovis, or at Sunnyside Bicycles in Fresno.