A CYCLIST says he is lucky to be alive after he was barged into a road by an irate pedestrian.

Richard Gould was riding along a designated footpath and cyclepath by the West Stafford bypass when he was confronted by the angry man and knocked off his bike and into the carriageway.

Fortunately there was no oncoming traffic at the time, otherwise Mr Gould said he would have been killed.

Police are now appealing for witnesses to the assault, which took place at around 7.30pm on Wednesday. Mr Gould, 61, who is retired and lives in Dorchester, said he had been cycling with a group of 14 riders but was on his own as he peddled towards the county town along the path.

He said: “There was a guy walking towards me, he initially appeared okay and he was walking on the left of the footpath so I moved across to the right.

“He then moved across to the right of the path so I moved back to the left.

“I slowed right down to not a great speed and as I passed him he gave me a shove in the right shoulder which forced me onto the main road carriageway and I fell off my bike.”

Mr Gould said the man then walked over to him as he lay on the ground and was verbally abusing him.

He said: “He was ranting and raving and using an awful lot of unprintable language about how I shouldn’t be cycling on a footpath, that seemed to be his main beef.

“He then wandered off up the path towards West Stafford still shouting and hollering.”

Mr Gould escaped without serious injury and said his bike only received ‘cosmetic damage’, but he said it could have been so much worse if any traffic had been passing at the time.

He said: “If there had been anything within 20 feet I would have been dead without a shadow of a doubt, because they wouldn’t have been able to stop.”

Mr Gould added: “This guy needs to be found.

“I hate to think what would have happened if that had been a young girl or an old woman or a child, they would be thinking: ‘I’m not ever going out on my bike again’.”