An angry cyclist yanked the keys from a pensioner's ignition and took off in a bizarre road rage incident, leaving the man and his wife stranded in peak-hour traffic in Auckland's CBD.
John Goodman and his wife Jocelyn, both 69, were heading to the Auckland Town Hall to see a performance of the Symphony Orchestra on Friday night when they were confronted by a man on a bike.
Mr Goodman said he turned from Queen St onto Mayoral Dr on a green light but traffic was heavy and he did not get all the way through the intersection before the light turned red.
Traffic was at a standstill and a cyclist trying to get around the corner took umbrage to Mr Goodman's position in the queue.
"He ran out of space and he got very cross about that," Mr Goodman told the Herald.
"He yelled at me, shouted that I should pull over. I continued to move ahead and when I stopped at the traffic lights he pulled up alongside me. He pushed my wing mirror flat against my car so I opened my window to talk to him and push the mirror back out. A few words were exchanged and he reached in the window and pulled the keys out of the car and rode off.
"He just left us there."
Mr Goodman called 111 from a bystander's cellphone and alerted police. After checking that the cyclist had not carried on the Auckland Central police station to hand in the keys, Mr Goodman arranged for a tow truck to come and take his car home.
He said he was shocked by the cyclist's actions.
"He obviously thought he had been wronged. I was flabbergasted, I was so surprised I didn't' know how to react," he said.
Mr Goodman could see why the cyclist was annoyed but in peak hour traffic, things like that often happened.
"He just needs to calm down, there's no point in getting that cross. There wasn't a collision, no one was injured, nothing was damaged. These things happen - he overreacted."
Mr Goodman had to pay to get his car towed and wrenched his shoulder as he "tussled" with the cyclist for his keys.
"He grabbed my arm whe he was trying to get the keys... he was stronger than me," he said.
"Even if you think someone is doing something wrong, it's not over to you to determine that - that's for the police. You cannot just take the law into your own hands like that."
Police were aware of the incident and said it was under investigation.
Auckland road policing manager Acting Inspector David Hines said no road user should take matters into their own hands.
"If they witness bad driving then use the *555 and roadwatch if it's not an emergency," he said.
"In this instance if the cyclist took exception to the intersection being blocked he should have reported the matter using *555. It is an offence for a motorist to enter a blocked intersection which comes with a $150.00 infringement fee."
He said if identified the cyclist could be charged with theft for taking Mr Goodman's keys.
"He has no legal right to remove keys from the vehicle. I would strongly urge members of the public to avoid these situations and report them to police for follow up," he said.
"If anything the cyclist has made the situation worse as Mr Goodman has not been able to move his vehicle and caused further traffic congestion to road users. He has also put Mr Goodman at risk stuck in the intersection."