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Shocking Facebook film of cyclist shoved into bushes by motorist 'taken in Londonderry'

Exclusive by Claire Cromie

Published 29/07/2015

The cyclist is pushed off his bike
The cyclist is pushed off his bike

Shocking viral footage of a cyclist being pushed off his bike by a man in a moving car appears to have been recorded in Northern Ireland.

Social media users across the UK and Ireland reacted with fury when a video was posted to Facebook at the weekend with the caption "This is the new challenge boys".

It showed a man, seen in a blue-striped t-shirt, leaning out of a car window to shove a cyclist into the bushes on the side of the road

Shrieks of laughter can be heard from the passengers.

After 750,000 views and multiple complaints, Facebook removed the footage from the website.

Now it transpires a man from Londonderry is convinced he is the cyclist in the video - and police are appealing for the public's help identifying the thug who pushed him.

A PSNI spokeswoman told the Belfast Telegraph: "On Monday afternoon PSNI received a report of an incident similar to that depicted in the video.

"The reporting person states that on Friday 24th at about 12.30pm he was pushed from his bicycle by a passenger in a passing car on the Ballyarnett Road in Derry.

"The car is believed to have driven on towards Muff (in Co Donegal)."

The cyclist reported the incident to Strand Road police station, but did not report any injuries.

The man who uploaded the video to Facebook on Saturday, Eoin Maughan, claims the video does not belong to him and that he was not involved in the incident.

It had 6,000 likes before the website removed it.

He then wrote on his Facebook page: "Video got removed some crack while it lasted".

Sustrans NI, which works to improve Northern Ireland's cycle network, described the footage as "strange behaviour for an adult", adding: "This is highly dangerous and we hope (it) isn't repeated. Cyclists are vulnerable enough."

Cycling Ireland, the governing body of cycling across Ireland, believes there has been an increase in assaults against cyclists from passing motorists.

CEO Geoff Liffey said: "There has also been attempts to disrupt cycling events and regular cycling paths by introducing serious hazards on these routes.

"Many of these attacks are of a very serious nature and we would advise any persons who experience or witnesses these attacks to report them to the relevant authorities in the area."

Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle, who chairs Stormont's All Party Group on Cycling, said: "Everyone should be under no illusion this assault is sheer recklessness that could lead to loss of life and custodial sentences, ruining the lives of many people involved in it.

"The PSNI and Gardai must do everything in their power to ensure cyclists and all road users are safe on our roads. This is a despicable development that will be condemned by all rational people in our community."

Officers investigating the report are asking anyone who can help identify the driver or occupants of the vehicle to contact them on 101, the non-emergency number quoting reference number 794 27/07/15.

Gardai are also investigating the footage.

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