MEDICINE HAT, AB – Charges have been laid by Medicine Hat Police after a cyclist visiting the city received quick the shock during an evening ride on Tuesday.
Vince Geisler travelled from Victoria, B.C. to take part in the upcoming Medicine Hat Gran Fondo, which is set to get underway on Saturday morning.
After leaving a family member’s home, Geisler was riding down Division Avenue South when he noticed a sedan drive up beside him.
Geisler said it was at that moment that a passenger inside threw something at him.
“There was a vehicle beside me and I was kind of aware of it,” said Geisler. “All of a sudden I just felt something impact on my side and then it was just wet. It startled me because I was down on the handlebars, I was going pretty fast.”
After he gathered his thoughts, the competitive cyclist realized the passenger had thrown a water balloon directly at him.
Well that's nice. I'm in medicine Hat for the grand Fondo having traveled great distance to be here. Minding my own business when someone decided it would be funny to throw water balloons at cyclists. Nice town you got herehttps://t.co/BAornmpizl@CHATNewsToday @MedicineHatNews
— The Phoenix Alight (@ThePhoenixAligt) June 5, 2019
Although he was able to keep his balance, Geisler said the water balloon came close to knocking him off his bike.
“I think I was doing about 50 kilometres per hour when they hit me,” he said. “If I have a fall like that I could injure myself, I could fall under a car, you know I could have been injured or killed. I don’t think they see the human on the mode of transportation, the bicycle, it’s just an object.”
Geisler said he chased the car for a few blocks into the Kin Coulee before losing it, later writing down the license plate and filing a report with Medicine Hat Police.
Just by chance, a nearby police car was sitting behind the vehicle in question and were able to pull the driver over.
The teen passenger has since been charged with stunting and issued a fine.
Geisler said it’s not the first time he’s encountered such behaviour, citing some motorists in Victoria will sometimes tailgate his bike and even try to run him off the road.
However, he added he’d be lying if his confidence wasn’t shaken a bit by the most recent incident.
“It kind of now puts a little thing in the back of my head,” he said. “Do I have to actually start watching out here in Medicine Hat? Is this still a safe place to train? I think it is, I think one incident doesn't paint a whole place. But, it definitely kind of puts that little thought in the back of your head.”
Tuesday’s incident also caught Geisler off guard since he used to call Medicine Hat home for 17 years before moving away.
However, he did say most motorists in Medicine Hat this week have not only been giving him the shoulder, but sometimes the entire lane while passing.
Geisler added the issue is that some motorists don’t see cyclists as people, but just machines and hopes these cases will become fewer and fewer moving forward.
“There’s somebody at home that loves us that wants us to get home,” he said. “Just do what you can to help us do what we want to do and enjoy our sport, and just give us a little bit of care.”
Despite the incident, Geisler is still planning to race as planned in the Medicine Hat Gran Fondo.
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