London

London cyclist says he was punched while riding along King Street bike lane

A cyclist suffered minor injuries after he was allegedly punched in the back while riding his bike along King Street, causing him to fall onto the pavement on Wednesday afternoon.

The incident happened across from Covent Garden Market on Wednesday afternoon

Christopher Santana-Barnes was assaulted while cycling down a King Street bike lane on Aug. 28, 2019. He was punched in the back, causing him to crash. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

A London cyclist suffered minor injuries after he was allegedly punched in the back while riding his bike downtown on Wednesday afternoon, causing him to fall onto the pavement.

Christopher Santana-Barnes was cycling inside the protected bike lane along King Street, east of Talbot Street, at around 4:30 p.m. when the incident happened.

"I went down the Thames Valley Parkway and then I came up King Street," he said. "As I was coming along King Street in the bike lane, I moderated my speed and there was a gentleman crossing from the market."

Santana-Barnes said he made eye contact with the pedestrian and rang his bell as the man stepped into the bike lane behind him.

Christopher Santana-Barnes was punched in the back by a pedestrian while cycling along King Street in downtown London on Aug. 28, 2019. The blow caused him to crash to the pavement, causing minor injuries. Police are investigating the incident. 3:00

"[He] punched me as hard as he could in my back," he said. "That knocked me off balance, I went over the handlebars, landed on my left side, smashed my leg, my arm. I was kind of in shock for a moment because it happened so fast."

According to Santana-Barnes, the man "smirked" when he looked back and then "calmly" walked away.

Santana-Barnes was wearing a helmet at the time, but suffered bruised ribs and scrapes.

A passerby who witnessed the incident rushed to Santana-Barnes side and called police. Diners at a restaurant across the street at Covent Garden Market also came to help.

London Police confirmed officers attended the scene.

"The suspect was gone prior to police arrival and the area was searched with negative results," said Constable Sandasha Bough.

Incident follows cycling celebration

Santana-Barnes said the incident happened along the same stretch where more than 150 cyclists gathered the week before for an event called Critical Mass.

"It was a very joyous event and it was great to have that camaraderie. Then a week later, in the same spot, I'm assaulted for something that brings me joy," he said.

While he's taking a break from his bike until he heals, Santana-Barnes says he'll be back on the saddle again. He wants to know what motivated his alleged assailant. 

"Was he just being a jerk, or was there something more to it? It felt very deliberate. It felt like he didn't like that there was a bike lane here or that he had to wait," he said.

Police say no arrests have been made, but the investigation is ongoing.

The suspect is described as a man in his 30's, 5'6" in height, wearing jeans, a t-shirt and baseball cap.

Anyone with information about the incident is being asked to contact police at 519-661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Information can also be submitted online at londoncrimestoppers.com.