Charity cyclists contend with drivers

Charity ride in Cary

July 4, 2011 4:53:42 PM PDT
Riding to raise money for multiple sclerosis, cyclists hit the road Monday and some say they are being targeted by drivers.

"On a day like today it's hot, you get tired, and then you have to deal with the cars," cyclist Thomas DeLeon said.

DeLeon and his team were in the final stretch of the annual firecracker race in Cary, when the driver of a black car wanted to make a right turn.

ABC11 Eyewitness News cameras were rolling as the driver changed lanes, never seeing the cyclists approaching from behind.

"Probably weren't aware of our speed or were trying to beat us to the point," DeLeon said.

The organizer of the race says DeLeon and his team aren't alone. Other cyclists also had run-ins with cars during the race. He says a driver tried to run three cyclists off the read.

"It's frustrating when you're riding 50 miles and it's 99 degrees and you have a headache and a car comes up and there's plenty of room on the road, he comes up and almost knocks you over," DeLeon added.

The second incident happened at the intersection of U.S. 64 and Lake Pine Drive when a car hit another cyclist in the race, knocking him off his bike.

"It's disconcerting to think that people would think it's perfectly acceptable at least in their minds to bump you or get really close to you," cyclist James Casper said.

Casper is one of DeLeon's teammates and they have a message for drivers.

"For all the drivers out there, you'll see a lot of cyclists in the road just be considerate," DeLeon said. "We're out here for fitness, were out here for a worthy cause, and we have just as much rights to the road as the cars do."

"It's disappointing to think that people would swerve to avoid a dog or squirrel, but they won't swerve to avoid a cyclist," Casper added.

None of the cyclists were seriously injured in any of the incidents.

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