AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin man’s evening bike ride almost turned deadly, after video shows a car hitting the cyclist on Riverside Drive and then speeding off.
A video captured by a bystander shows cyclist Nick Gardiner riding in front of the Long Center, when a car appearing to change lanes hits Gardiner and drives off. He said it happened a little before 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Austin Police said the incident occurred near the 700 block of W. Riverside Drive.
You can see Gardiner roll over from the impact almost three times before he makes his way to the sidewalk and collapses on a grassy area.
In the video, bystanders run by to attend to the cyclist and make sure he is OK. The hit and run was captured on camera by Scott Thigpen, who can be seen calling 911 in the video.
Gardiner said the driver was “harassing” him for about half a mile, saying at one point the driver was rolling down his window to yell at Gardiner.
“It was a clear-cut case of road rage,” he said. “No reasonable person would do that.”
Gardiner told KXAN he filed a police report with the Austin Police Department in hopes of finding the driver. He described the car as a white coupe and guesses it is an early 2000s model of a Honda Accord.
Austin Police said the case is being investigated as aggravated assault with a motor vehicle.
Gardiner said he had reflectors on both the front and back of his bike, as well as a light.
The cyclist said he does not have any broken bones but has other injuries including a severe rash from impact with the road, a golf ball-sized lump on his knee, bruising on his palm and other cuts.
“I got lucky. If it went any other way, I don’t think I’d be talking to you right now,” he said.
According to Texas bicycle laws, all bicyclists must ride alongside streets and roadways, as opposed to sidewalks, when a designated bike line is unavailable.
“It’s not going to stop me from cycling, it’s just going to stop me from cycling on the roads here. I think I’m gonna be trying to go somewhere where cars can’t be, and I think that’s the responsibility of the City of Austin to maintain that,” Gardiner said. “To provide us with an opportunity to not get murdered.”
Thigpen, who captured the collision on a GoPro, explained he was riding with a group of friends that night himself. He said because he’s been run off the road by cars before, he bought a GoPro for his helmet to record his rides.
“I was sitting, waiting on the group, and talking to some people … and I noticed the cyclist coming, and then I saw the car come, go past him, intentionally swerve and hit him,” Thigpen said.
He said Gardiner did have lights on his bike when the incident happened. Thigpen said as a cyclist of 10 years himself, he wishes there was a way to educate the public about sharing the roads.
“It made me really mad. I was really upset. But the one thing that kept going through my head is like, I just wish there was a way that we could educate the public that a cyclist is not the tyrranid of the world, and because somebody chooses an alternate form of driving that doesn’t cost gas … there just has to be some give and take,” Thigpen explained.