Fisticuffs erupt between bicyclists, passenger in car
A Park City man faces an assault charge after a confrontation with bicyclists in Old Town, the Park City Police Department said, a case that comes amid tension between drivers and bicycle riders after another recent confrontation and a recent fatal bicycling accident in surrounding Summit County.
The Police Department did not immediately release the man’s name. Formal charges had not been filed against him by midmorning Friday. Phil Kirk, a Police Department captain, said the man also faces a criminal-mischief count stemming from the confrontation.
According to Kirk, seven bicycle riders were pedaling southbound on the side of the road on the 1000 block of Park Avenue at about 3 p.m. on Aug. 17. A driver heading northbound was stopped in traffic. A passenger in the car shouted at the bicyclists to stop riding on the road, Kirk said, describing that the man wanted them to ride on the sidewalk instead.
Kirk said three of the bicycle riders stopped, the passenger got out of the car and he started yelling at the riders. The confrontation escalated, Kirk said, and the passenger started "wildly punching and kicking" the three riders and their bicycles.
"He was outraged they were (riding) in the roadway. He felt they should be on the sidewalk," Kirk said, calling the person’s behavior "bizarre and so violent."
The passenger caused between $500 and $1,500 in damage to the chain ring of one of the bicycles, the captain said.
The rest of the bicyclists joined the fray, and the seven riders pinned him on the road until police officers arrived three or four minutes later, Kirk said.
At least four of the bicycle riders live in Old Town. The Police Department was unsure where the rest of them live. The Police Department did not charge the bicyclists.
"It didn’t seem the individual’s reaction to the situation was anywhere near to appropriate," Kirk said.
The case occurred in the weeks after two incidents on the East Side of Summit County, with one woman killed in an unexplained bicycle accident on Brown’s Canyon Road and a man facing charges in a separate case after what was reported as a confrontation with bicyclists on the Mirror Lake Highway.
In the Mirror Lake Highway incident, the authorities said the Kamas man was driving on the highway, swerved and hit a bicycle rider. He is charged with aggravated assault. The bicyclist suffered minor injuries.
Park City leaders have long tried to make the city safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and others not driving in cars, but close calls between drivers and bicycle riders are commonplace. Old Town roads, Bonanza Drive, Park Avenue and Kearns Boulevard are among the streets where drivers and bicyclists often encounter each other.
Bicyclists are allowed to ride on roads, but they must follow traffic laws. They are only sometimes seen riding on sidewalks, like the passenger in the car wanted.
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Park City officials are preparing to take what is considered to be an important step in protecting the Treasure land from wildfires. City Hall in early June requested proposals from firms interested in the work.