Just miles outside of 2015 World Championships route in Richmond, Virginia, a local cyclist and his four riding companions reported, that they were threatened by a motorist at gun-point.
One of the cyclists, Stephen Hancock, told reporters, the situation "became out-and-out warfare when he produced a handgun, and threatened to kill me if I took another step toward the vehicle.”
Police later arrested, Edward Fornel, 61, and charged him with reckless driving and brandishing a firearm.
The incident took place about 8 miles from the location of World Championships time trial course.
However, one of the race’s organizers, Lee Kallman, believes the incident was isolated, and in no way represents any kind of local resentment toward cyclists, nor the up and coming event.
“This was an incredibly unfortunate incident, however, an isolated one that doesn’t represent the predominant culture in the area.”
“Richmond and the surrounding region (Hanover County is where the elite men’s ITT starts) is home to an emerging cycling culture and, on the whole, is a great place to ride your bike.
“Since Richmond was awarded the worlds, 2015 has served as a catalyst for a lot of positive efforts around getting more people on bikes and increasing awareness around those already on the road. Local municipalities and the Commonwealth of Virginia have ongoing share-the-road educational programs and PSAs that seek to educate and inform motorists and cyclists alike about best safety practices. Furthermore, Richmond’s hired a bike/ped coordinator. We’ve seen the creation of more and more bicycling events and a huge push is underway to add significantly more bike-related infrastructure".
“We have always seen Richmond 2015 as a transformative opportunity for the community — like a lot of industrial cities in the U.S., we are not there yet — but we are well on our way.”
Fornel is due back in court on November 25.
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