Tuesday 17 September 2019

'Cyclist threw his bike at bus and spat in my eye' - driver attacked

Bus driver Dave Fitzsimons had to go to hospital. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Bus driver Dave Fitzsimons had to go to hospital. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Conor McCrave

Conor McCrave

A Dublin Bus driver has told how a cyclist threw his bicycle at his vehicle and then spat in his eye while on a bus run.

Dave Fitzsimons, a bus driver for 11 years, said the experience was just one of many attacks he had faced.

The cyclist was weaving in and out of traffic in front of the bus before becoming violent when Mr Fitzsimons signalled at him to move.

"The cyclist was out on his bike in front of me, he was on his phone with not a care in the world. I slowed down and he done it again so I gave him a beep to say if you go under the bus there's no coming back out of it," he said.

"He threw the bike in front of the bus, came around to the side window which was open about three inches. He then stuck his face in and basically spat right in my eye.

"When it happened it felt like a lifetime. I was stunned and I just froze."

A spokesperson for the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) said attacks were becoming more frequent, with four serious assaults on bus drivers in the past month.

Following his experience, Mr Fitzsimons was advised by his GP to attend the A&E department at St James's Hospital to make sure he had not contracted any diseases.

"Some of it was dripping and I was a little bit stunned so I didn't know if it went into my mouth or what to do," he added. "My doctor advised me to go straight to A&E and they put me on a priority list and I just sat there for four hours.

"I had to get blood tests to make sure I didn't have hepatitis or something else.

"It felt like getting a punch but I'd say it was worse not knowing if he was infected with anything," said the driver who was given a clean bill of health.

Antisocial behaviour has also been on the rise on trains in recent years, with 705 cases reported in 2017. Fifteen were assaults on staff.

Unreported incidents are thought to be much higher, according to front-line staff.

A revenue protection officer with Irish Rail said a policing unit was urgently needed on trains to combat a growing number of gangs using the trains as a "training ground".

"Every day you're faced with the threat of violence, sometimes twice or three times a day," said Brian Byrne.

"The trains are becoming a training ground for antisocial behaviour. They know they can just get off and walk away.

"A female colleague of mine had her fingers broken. Some colleagues have had their ribs cracked. We really need some Government intervention"

Irish Independent

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