From the O'Fallon Illinois Progress
Posted on Thu, May. 15,
Councilwoman hit with can while bicycling on Witte Road
By Steve Berry
Progress Staff Writer
Oâ€™Fallon Councilwoman Mary Schmidt was cycling with her husband and a friend Thursday night on Witte Road, when someone in a passing truck threw an unopened beer can at Schmidt striking her in the arm.
â€śA truck came up along side of us going about 60 mph, we figure, and maybe a foot away from us, and I think they underhanded a beer can at us,â€ť Schmidt said.
Schmidt said after the can hit her the cyclists flagged down a passing motorist who caught up to the truck and got the license plate number. Schmidt also called the police.
She said she got another look at the white Dodge â€śking cabâ€ť when it drove by a second time as Schmidt was on the phone with police.
Oâ€™Fallon police referred the matter to the St. Clair County Police Department, who have not returned phone calls concerning the incident.
â€śThis I think was kids playing a prank,â€ť Schmidt said. â€śI wouldnâ€™t be surprised if they were trying to put that can in my tire which would have really been a huge accident because we were going close to 20 mph.â€ť
Schmidt sustained a bruise on her arm from the impact of the can, but did not seek medical treatment.
â€śI will have a battery charge against them since I was actually injured,â€ť Schmidt said.
Schmidt rides with a group of bicyclists in the Metro East Cycling Association. She said harassment is common while the group is cycling.
â€śWe get a lot of harassment because people are impatient,â€ť Schmidt said. â€śA lot of times we get harassed the minute before we are even out of town.â€ť
Schmidt said the residents of other communities are often very friendly to bicyclists.
â€śWe regularly take rides through East St. Louis and sometimes East St. Louis is a more pleasant place to ride than Oâ€™Fallon,â€ť Schmidt said. â€śItâ€™s shocking.â€ť
The Metro East Cycling Association is hosting a bicycle race in northern Oâ€™Fallon on Saturday, May 31. Witte Road, where Scmidt was hit with a can, makes up a section of the race course.
The inaugural Oâ€™Fallon Grand Prix bicycle race will feature small races for children and a 90 mile race for professionals. The 22.5 mile race course will begin and end at 273 Kyle Road. Oâ€™Fallon has bike trails within Rock Springs, St. Ellen Mine, and Family Sports parks. The city also has a one-half mile long bike route that passes Hesse Park connecting Mulberry Lane with Illini Drive. In Addition, Oâ€™Fallon Director of Parks and Recreation Mary Jeanne Hutchison said Fairwood Hills Road and Illini Drive in northern Oâ€™Fallon are official bike routes.