The chairman of a Somerset cycling club says he is shocked by the number of attacks cyclists have had received during the coronavirus lockdown.
Mark Jerzak, of Chew Valley Cycling Club, posted on Facebook that all group rides and activities had been banned and members had been told to follow government guidelines on exercise.
Mr Jerzak, a Chew Valley resident, acknowledged a “small minority” of any group, including cyclists, will “selfishly” break the lockdown rules – but he was appalled over the number of recent anti-cycling posts on social media.
He said that some of the club’s members have reportedly received abuse from passing cars, pins have purposely been placed on roads, and someone he knew suffered a broken collarbone after a driver pushed them off their bike.
Mr Jerzak said he came across the words ‘Covidiot cyclists stay at home protect the NHS’ on the B3114 in Litton today (April 26).
The Facebook post reads: “As chairman of our local cycling club (Chew Valley CC) I have been shocked by the number of attacks on cyclists in our area over the last few days.
“Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, our club has cancelled all club activities, banned group rides and advised our members to follow the government guidelines on exercise.
“These are measures that other clubs are following too, in line with advice from our governing body, British Cycling.
“It is a sad fact of life that a small minority of any group will selfishly break the rules, and a number of recent anti-cycling posts on social media from people reporting to have seen a group of cyclists riding around the lake may well be true.
“However, my own observations and those I’ve collated from other road users indicates that rule-breakers are in a very small minority, and the vast majority of cyclists are observing government rules.
“What I have seen however has been an upsurge in families with young children taking advantage of the safer roads to take their daily exercise together on bikes.
“Unfortunately some of our members have also reported being abused from passing cars, being dangerously swerved at by cars, a mum out cycling with her two children suffering a puncture from pins purposely placed in the road, and a resident of Blagdon being pushed off his bike from a passing car yesterday and suffering a broken collarbone.”
Chew Valley resident, Nick Sargant, said it was annoying that people are using the NHS to “bash” cyclists.
“I work in A&E and often cycle in or take a spin around the lake to decompress,” he said.
“It p****s me off that people are using the NHS as a reason to bash cyclists.
“I’ve seen no groups of cyclists that are not obviously family groups. Utter nonsense.”
Mr Jerzak said he is now more wary of going for a cycle off the back of this reported abuse.
“The roads appear safer due to less traffic but there are definitely more motorists speeding or acting aggressively towards cyclists than normally,” he said.
He said the pins on the road were found by West Harptree, a small village and civil parish in the Chew Valley.
Those who commented on Mr Jerzak’s Facebook status agreed with his sentiments.
Others cyclists across England have also voiced concerns that cyclists are being wrongly targeted during the lockdown.