Madison (WKOW) -- Authorities have told 27 News a 28 year old man was arrested for allegedly battering another bicyclist after taking offense to a shouted suggestion to equip his bike with a light when riding after dark.
Authorities said Dustin Dunlavy was arrested Wednesday. Dane County sheriff's officials said Dunlavy posted bail and has a scheduled court appearance next week on tentative charges of battery and disorderly conduct.
The victim, Colin O'Brien, 51, told 27 News he was astounded his suggestion led to violence.
"I've been hit by cars, had falls, broken collarbones, but not something like this," Madison bicycle store owner Colin O'Brien told 27 News.
In his career, O'Brien, who operates high end, custom bicycle shop Cronometro, has raced internationally, designed and patented bicycle parts, and helped develop bicycle safety programs. On a Thanksgiving eve bike commute home from work on South Shore Drive, O'Brien said two cyclists in dark clothing passed him almost unseen in the darkness. O'Brien said he shouted a suggestion.
"Get a light."
O'Brien, 51, said one of the bicyclists stopped and then tried to force him to crash. O'Brien said he was able to maintain his balance and continue on, losing sight of his attacker.
When he approached his residential street, O'Brien said the man and the woman he had encountered were back, following him toward his home.
O'Brien said there was a confrontation, which he thought might have been defused when he complied with the woman's request to be given a bicycle light.
But O'Brien says her companion lunged at him and put him in a headlock and forced him to the ground. The veteran bicycle racer and touring rider said he braced for the worst.
"My thought was, I haven't trained for something like this. I felt like he was really going to do some damage. I was just trying to get free."
O'Brien said the attacker kneed him in the ribs and the man and his companion took off, tossing the bicycle light to the ground.
O'Brien said the man rode a somewhat expensive time trial bicycle.
O'Brien does not believe the incident is a sympton of any increasing tension among bicyclists over sharing the road.
"That's part of what's so bewildering. To everybody in the cycling community, we all kind of figure, if you ride a bike, you're okay, we're all in this together."
Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin spokesperson Dan Vogt told 27 News the attack on O'Brien is more a reflection of society as a whole. "There are (mean spirited) people in all walks of life."
O'Brien said he made the suggestion to the other cyclists because the road's lighting is scant and the other cyclists' attire contributed to making them even more difficult to spot at night. O'Brien told 27 News he will still encourage safe bicycling practices, but with more caution.
O'Brien said Madison's cycling community has responded with support for him, and some humor. A huge bouquet of flowers arrived at his store from a business competitor, with a well wishing card, and a gift.
A bicycle light.