SAO PAULO – A motorist sped his car through a pack of more than 100 cycling activists in southern Brazil, sending bikes and screaming riders flying through the air and landing hard on the asphalt in a scene captured on amateur video and posted online.
At least 40 cyclists were injured, with most suffering cuts and broken bones, but nobody was killed, authorities said.
Police said the suspect, whose name they did not release, fled the scene of the incident Friday evening in Porto Alegre. He was brought in for questioning Monday after authorities found his abandoned car over the weekend.
The man claimed riders surrounded his vehicle and began beating on it, causing him to panic and fear for his life, police said.
Riders clashed with motorists in two incidents. Limo driver Dennis Webb says the melee started after a female cyclist blocked his path.When Webb got out of his car to confront the cyclists, one dented the limo's hood with a U-shaped bicycle lock. Another slashed his tire. Someone else grabbed his car keys and rode off. The hood-denter was charged in the incident."Some of these people try to provoke motorists," said Webb, 46. "When you start that, you're looking for trouble. It's only natural you're not going to let them get away with that."Another altercation came later in the ride, as cyclists made their way through Japantown.Susan Ferrando, who was driving with her two kids in the car, said a throng of riders attacked her. Others said a frustrated Ferrando plowed into the cyclists, struck one and tried to drive on. Riders surrounded her until police arrived.No charges were filed. But Ferrando said she remains in shock. "It's been traumatic," she said, her voice breaking. "I've got a child standing here saying, 'No, Mommy. I don't want to talk about it.' This isn't over for us."