LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - In less than two months, thousands of bicyclists will descend upon central Arkansas for the Big Dam Bridge 100. The race is Arkansas's largest cycling tour, meaning a lot of people are out right now training for the race.
One of them is Steven Barger from Little Rock. He is recovering from a number of injuries after being hit by a car in what he called a road rage incident.
"I have a broken collar bone," Barger explained. "The cartilage over my voice box was broken, which could have been quite hazardous, but luckily it wasn't too far displaced. I have some damage to my ribs, they may be broken.”
The incident happened when on his way home from a ride up a short, steep hill on Kanis Road he felt the presence of a car following him a little too closely.
"As she passed, which was frankly was a little too close, gave a loud long honk, flipped the bird, and then pulled into a driveway in front of me and stopped me," Barger said. "Immediately, the curse words started flying. I thought it was kind of ironic that she felt she'd been delayed for 15 seconds and yet could take two or three minutes to berate me for my rights to be on the road.”
Barger admitted that during that conversation he ended up saying some things that may have incited the woman further.
A couple minutes later, Barger said a second car pulled around and someone took a picture of him.
"I saw a truck approach me from behind. It slowed down as if waiting to find an opportunity pass, like any driver would. Then when I heard the engine rev, I thought, 'Well, he's coming around.' I just directed my gaze forward and the next thing I knew, there was this tremendous jolt and crunch and I was flying through the air,” he explained.
But with the "cycle season" in full swing in the state, we asked Chris St. Peter over at Spokes what we could do to coexist on the roads.
"I think just awareness, courtesy," he said. "You have to share the road. That goes for both cyclists and drivers. When I'm not riding a bike, I'm a driver, and when I'm not driving, I'm riding a bike.”
St. Peter suggested that all cyclists wear a helmet and to consider using a body camera. He also said to wear bright and reflective clothing. And, as always, obey the rules of the road.
Barger said it’s not lost on him that he could have been killed. Pulaski County Sheriff's Office said if they find there was intent, the people responsible could be charged with felony battery as well as leaving the scene of an accident.