Alessandro De Marchi has issued a plea to drivers to take care when passing cyclists after he had a near miss during a training ride.
The CCC rider was out on home roads in Buja, northern Italy, when he was involved in a verbal confrontation with a driver after he passed De Marchi at three times his own speed, the Italian estimates.
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“I’m fed up, literally fed up and on edge,” De Marchi wrote on his Instagram. “I still have a sore throat from screaming and yelling at the umpteenth car during the umpteenth ‘near accident’ I was involved in today. I cannot handle it anymore.”
The 33-year-old recounted how he felt a large Audi pass him at three times the speed he was going, coming to within a few centimetres of making contact.
“I leave home like every day and head towards the center of Buja, going up the slope of ‘tonino two’ as it is known here. I go up slowly, on the right, without getting in the way.
“About halfway up I first perceive the sound of a car and then the feeling of ‘overflow’ on my elbow and left hand. The car, a big Audi, passes me at three times my speed, brushing it but for a matter of centimetres. This knocks my balance and I end up on the low pavement following the climb and with all my voice railed against the motorist.”
Another car then also passes and goes on to argue with the driver of the Audi before De Marchi confronts him.
“The same is done by the car that follows him, a small blue jeep, which, having seen the whole scene, beeps his horn at the Audi. From a distance I see the jeep driver is arguing with him. I arrive at the spot that the Audi is stopped at, I shout that he risked killing me and he replies ‘I didn’t touch you, go to hell!'”
Then, the reason the driver was in such a rush emerges, which enrages De Marchi. The Audi driver was heading to a newsstand further up the road.
“He then stops 200m later in front of a newsstand! I arrive just to take the picture of the license plate, car and driver (as he gets out to go to the newsstand) and I can still hear him curse me. At best he would have sent me straight to the hospital or put me in a wheelchair, at worst in a coffin! You almost killed me…just to get to the newsstand first!”
Finally, De Marchi issues a plea to all motorists to take extra care when passing cyclists.
“Dear ignorant driver I hate you with all my heart and I hope you read these lines or that someone remembers your car when they see you.
“To motorists in general: do I deserve this? Is it really worth risking your skin simply by pedalling on a road that is too narrow or too busy? Or why did I move too far in the middle of the carriageway and slow down? Do I really deserve to die because I have temporarily hindered you?”
“You can kill with a car! And you will not kill just a cyclist: you will kill a husband, a wife, a father or a mother, a friend…”
This year has seen a number of incidents involving cars and riders. Sunweb rider Edo Maas was paralysed in a collision where a car reportedly got onto the course at Piccolo Lombardia.
In October, a Brazilian stage race was brought to a halt by a protesting peloton after a car entered the course and hit a rider.
Sunweb have said the UCI and race organisers should focus more on safety in the coming years, as the world is getting busier and the sport of cycling continues to grow.