Cycling club secretary left with broken back after crash believes he was deliberately hit by driver

Two riders from Barnsley Road Club were left injured in a hit and run

Police tape
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A cycling club secretary left with a broken back in a hit and run believes he was deliberately knocked off by the driver.

John Bennett, the secretary of Barnsley Road Club in South Yorkshire, was riding with club-mate Martin Townsend when the pair were hit by a driver from behind.

Mr Bennett, 48, was left with a broken back and will now need to spend 12 weeks in a brace, with the possibility the damage to his spine is permanent.

The rider has now spoken out and said the driver seemed to be “aiming at us.”

Mr Bennett told the BBC: “I face-planted straight over the handlebars. The force of the fall smashed my glasses and left a deep gash on my forehead.

“I was in a state, with blood pouring down my face. Thankfully a woman pulled up and rang the ambulance.

“We have both gone over what happened and agree that the driver purposefully hit us.”

The crash happened on the B122 Naburn in York at around 10.30am on Monday (May 25), when the driver hit the pair from behind and then left the scene.

Both riders were taken to hospital, as Mr Townsend suffered bruised ribs and cuts.

Barnsley Road Club are now appealing for anyone with information to contact North Yorkshire Police.

In a Facebook post, the club said: “John could be any one of us – John could be you, your partner, your child, friend or loved one.

“The culprit needs to own up and come forward.”

Mr Bennett added: “I’ve had a few crashes in my time but I love my cycling and that’s why I’ve always got back on.

“This time it’s really take me to the limit and I’m not sure whether it’s worth it.”

Earlier this week, personalities from the cycling world hit back after a newspaper columnist said it was "tempting" to injure cyclists with wire traps. 

>>> Cyclist rescued from water after crashing into canal and calling for help for an hour 

Ned Boulting, Jolanda Neff and the charity Cycling UK have all condemned the column, written by Rod Liddle, which appeared in The Sunday Times.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.