Categories: Local / Area News

MAN ENGAGES WITH CYCLISTS-with video

Thursday evening just before 8 p.m. several cyclists were riding down Lake Forest Drive   in single file when Sherman Ralph Clark, 74 passed them and a verbal altercation took place. According to one of the cyclists, Steve Schoger, Clark  drove past them and along with a few cuss words told the cyclists to get off his street.

Clark then pulled in front of the cyclists and slowed down to about 15 mph. With the cyclists already peddling close to 25 mph one of the riders went to pass Clark. That is when Clark began to drive to the left running the cyclist to the shoulder of the road. Another cyclist, then came around Clarks right side in an attempt to go around. That is when Clark slammed his brakes on causing cyclist Rick Sauvageau to slam into the back of Clark’s truck.  Sauvageau fractured his wrist, dislocated his shoulder and injured his left knee in the incident.

Clark then got out of the truck with a baseball bat and started another verbal altercation swinging the bat at the riders. The incident ended when Clark got back in his truck and drove off running over one of the cyclists $5,000 bicycles.

One of the cyclists using his phone captured video of part of the incident. When Clark was asked why he was holding the bat he replied to protect himself.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the scene and Clark was arrested for criminal mischief  $1,500 to $20,000 and for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

He was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on the criminal mischief charge and it is expected the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge may go to the Grand Jury.

Schoger said they have been riding the peaceful two mile loop off Old Conroe Road in the Red Oak Estates Subdivision for almost 15 years with no problems except for one several years  ago.

In that incident almost 20 cyclists were riding the loop when Clark was backing out of his driveway. Schoger waited a short time and when the cyclists approached he backed out in front of them causing them to have to stop.

Schoger said the group participates in many cycling events throughout the year including the MS 150 and several others.

At 6 pm a bond was made for Clark who was going to be released sometime tonight from the Montgomery County Jail.

 

 

Scott Engle

View Comments

  • Whether I'm driving my motor vehicle or riding a bicycle or motorcycle, I try to show respect for other road users. As a bicyclist, I appreciate the majority of motorists who pass us carefully. And if I notice motorists are stuck behind me, I take extra care to help them get by. As a motorist, I realize the few seconds I am delayed by other users is merely part of the shared cost of using a road.

  • Hey LazyCop,

    Your powers of observation are amazing. You are so right (not that you ever doubted yourself). And now our secret it out.

    Every cyclist is rich and gay!!!,

    But you know what they say, "takes one to know one".

    I have some pretty sparkly cycling pants, size XXL, that would like dynamite on you.

    Let's get together, Drinks are on me. I am really rich, so I can cover the drinks and the hotel room.

  • Whiteflag--I am assuming based on your response that you live in the neighborhood? If so, I take your comments respectfully and will indeed pass the word along. if you don't, that is ok, we still take your feedback seriously and realize that our group may have affected you in the past in some way. Those of us who are trying to do the right thing and operate as a unified racing team do not wish to cause undue harm to communities, residents, or wildlife. We do in fact ride single file at higher speeds (above 23mph or so) as it is difficult to keep up with the fastest guys around us & the only way to stay together is single file. Anything below 20mph will find a double paceline in general. The law states that cyclists shall ride no more than two abreast . . . as far to the right as is practicable . . . and shall follow the same traffic rules as a motorized vehicle. This is a summary of course, but covers the main intent of the law. The members of the WCC or WCCRT (Woodlands Cycling Club and the Woodlands Cycling Club Race Team) work diligently at following this law and have a code of conduct including a safety briefing before every group ride. We review the issues of where we will be riding and demand respect for the neighborhoods we visit on the ride. The two mile loop in question is not different. We talk about potential traffic, we talk about going "neutral" with pedestrians, golf cart users, horseback riders, and the usual deer herds in residence (they are always there). As you probably know we do 4 loops on this section which equates to around 20 minutes of riding time. I am personally sorry that our presence in the community 20 minutes out of an entire week has caused so much uproar. I do not mean to be minimizing the issues at all. I think what people are doing, however is grouping all cyclists and all experiences over the years into one event (the resident who harmed us and threatened us with a bat and destroyed equipment in the process of leaving the scene). I think it is important for everyone to realize that this was one isolated event with a rogue individual who acted out of personal perception toward one group who happened to be there in that area during a 20 minute episode on one day out of the week. This was not our first incident with this individual--although the previous incident was not to this level of violence.
    Our group is unified in our approach to this incident and would like nothing more than to not allow something like this to happen again. We will actively look for alternative routes for our race team for next season (time change in the Spring to time change in the Fall, one day per week).
    By way of introduction to the general community, I am an occupational therapist who treats disabled children in home health & was a special education teacher for behavior students in the community before that for 8 years. I have been married for 26 years & have a daughter who is 15 at college park high school. I have been racing bicycles for 23 years and consider the sport my passion. I race all over the USA and have been to Belgium, France, Netherlands, & Denmark to ride my bike. The difference between how cycling is viewed overseas and how it is viewed here is huge, although some of the same concerns are shared. Cyclists need to be educated and trained in how to be on a bike safely and how to share the road within the law just as much as motorists need to be aware of what their responsibilities are and what to expect from well trained cyclists . . . but, the reality is that anyone can ride a bike and challenge themselves for the next big event, or bucket list challenge--does not mean they know what they are doing, or that they even know what the laws are for cycling on a public roadway. When combined with motorists who may not be fully aware of what the law actually is (versus myths) we encounter problems as cyclists.
    I would like to think that this is the last negative experience we will have, or be able to comment on between motorists and cyclists, but I am a realist. Over time, with more education and training, I can only hope that we are talking about "arrogant, rude, poorly dressed, gay, non tax paying, rich, cyclists" who refuse to move out of the way, & not having to talk about the death of a friend who leaves behind a spouse, children, co-workers & friends for doing a sport that is supposed to be fitness based and fun. don't get me wrong please--accidents happen & we all accept the risks that go along with cycling. Purposely endangering, or threatening cyclists that causes harm or death is illegal. This fact is probably why we are so polarized at the moment with this particular incident. Any comments that will work toward positive change would be appreciated.
    If you have lasted this long, thank you for your time.

    Coach Joseph Noack

  • http://www.funeralplan.com/shmfh/obits?id=222380
    This is Mr. Willie Olbrych's funeral info. He was killed in Montgomery by a cyclist who ran him over while he was walking across the street. Haven't heard about that? That's because he's a poor, old man who couldn't afford a $5000 bicycle. It's not like he broke his wrist (heaven forbid). He was run over by a cyclist during Iron Man 2011 and nothing happened to the cyclist who killed him. He didn't get charged, he didn't get arrested, and he certainly didn't get the media attention Mr. Clark is getting. The cyclists said Willie was disoriented and walked out in front of them. Even though Mr. Olbrych was able to walk across the street every other day without getting run over by a bike or a car.
    Cyclists have money and a lobby with congress and they think they are untouchable. And obviously, they're right. A cyclist can kill a man and not be touched, but if you bump a cyclist, they put you in jail and splash your rotten name all over the media !!

  • That's quite a span of concrete at that unprotected intersection for Willie to attempt to cross. Every day dogs, children, wildlife, automobiles and, yes even 80 year old shuffling humans, play Frogger and loose never making it to the other side. The matter of impliment that struck them is immaterial to the discusstion. It's Game over, Pal. Game over.

  • @oneshot,
    It is unfortunate that Mr. Willie Olbrych died due to an accident.
    "Cyclists have money and a lobby with congress and they think they are untouchable." That is a new observation, since cyclists often die when touched by cars and most cycling bills die in committee in congress.

  • I truly feel sorry for Willie Olbrych. Tragic accidents do happen. The difference between that Iron Man accident and Mr. Clark's alleged decision to create a violent, potentially deadly confrontation is that Mr. Clark made a conscious effort to create a confrontation.
    As to me being a conservative Arkie tree hugger, virtually anyone who's met Bill Clinton would agree that's he's extremely charismatic. You can't help but like him. But that doesn't mean I'd vote for him.
    And before the rise of the environmentalist movement, most conservationists were Republicans. Not all conservatives are anti-environment; we just see alternatives to heavy-handed government dictates.

  • On one early-Sunday bicycle ride in the Quapaw Historic District in Little Rock in the 1980s, a small group of Arkansas Bicycle Club riders were passing near the Governor's Mansion, when down the street jogged the governor, Bill Clinton, by himself, no less. Several of us turned around and chatted with him briefly. Bicycling is not only great exercise and non-polluting, but it creates special memories.
    Thankfully, road confrontation are rare, given the mileage travel, but even one is one too many. Road users should have respect for one another.

  • As a 14 year cyclist that rides Montgomery Country roads I see infractions by both motorists and cyclists. It’s a shame both sides cannot get along but it’s not hard to see why they do not.

    Almost all cyclists are motorist but only a small fraction of motorists are cyclists. It’s hard to explain to someone that doesn’t ride the frustration we cyclist deal with each time we go out for a ride.

    As a motorist nothing upsets me more than to come upon a pack a cyclist riding two or more abreast not yielding to motorists try to get by. This presents a very unsafe situation for both sides. Running stop signs, red lights, not riding single file are only a few items we as cyclists can do to calm tempers.

    However, as with cyclists I’ve witnessed way too many motorists driving as if they are the only ones allowed on public roads. Passing cyclists too close, trying to run them off the road, hurling objects at them doesn’t do anything to help the situation. If a battle between and angry cyclist and vehicle occurs the cyclist will lose each time and that’s not something we want from either side.

    I keep hearing from many motorists that cyclists should pay taxes and have tags on their bikes. That’s ok with me but be careful what you wish for. Once that starts there’s no stopping regulations. I currently pay taxes on four vehicles. If bicycles are taxed are you willing to start paying taxes for your kid’s bikes?

    Bicyclists are not taxed because there’s no motor involved. Just as with some boats that fall under a certain length i.e., canoe, tags are not required. If we start requiring bicycles to have tags the floodgate will be opened for the government to tax anything. Nevertheless, if bicycles require tags I will be sure my bike is in full compliance but the issue between cyclists and motorists will still remain.

    Education on both sides is the key. Cyclists need to obey all laws just as motorists do and motorists need to be a little more patient when approaching a group of cyclists.

    And for those that do not ride why not? Everyone should give it a try and see why we as cyclist love to ride. With the health crisis we currently have in America I would think more people would be supporting the health benefits that go with cycling. You get outdoors, meet new friends, maintain your weight, and increase cardiovascular health.

  • The League of American Bicyclists, formerly the League of American Wheelmen, offers a series of Smart Cycling classes that can make riding safer, more enjoyable and avoid confrontations. Certified instructors teach compliance with laws and how to balance a bicyclist's right to the road with the rights of other road users.
    If more riders would take these classes and apply the skills, many confrontations could be avoided.

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