A NEWNHAM cyclist punched to the face during a road rage incident has told a Launceston jury he thought he would die if he didn't act.
Beaumont Allan Cowdery has pleaded not guilty to the June 2011 assault, claiming self-defence in Launceston's Supreme Court yesterday.
Ronald Coleman said he was riding over the Charles Street Bridge when Mr Cowdery leaned out and abused him.
"(He said) get off the road you f---ing c---," he told Crown prosecutor Virginia Jones.
Mr Coleman then followed Mr Cowdery, who was a passenger in the car, along Goderich Street and confronted Mr Cowdery at the lights.
"I was worked up about it, a friend of mine got killed a few months earlier," he said.
Mr Coleman then banged hard on the passenger window but couldn't remember if he said anything to Mr Cowdery.
Mr Cowdery got out of the car and began punching him, he said.
"I thought f---, if I don't get up I'm going to die," he said.
"How hard were the punches?" Ms Jones asked.
"Hard enough to break my skull."
The court heard he then "jabbed" Mr Cowdery several times before he got back in the car and drove off.
An off-duty police officer who witnessed the incident asked Mr Coleman if he was OK.
He said he was and got back on his bike and followed the car to get its number plate.
The court heard Mr Coleman suffered a number of fractures to his cheekbone, which required surgery.
Defence counsel Grant Tucker said Mr Coleman was the aggressor and Mr Cowdery had only told him to "bloody move" off the road.
"Can you remember flicking him the bird, the middle finger salute?" he asked.
"No," Mr Coleman said.
"I want to suggest you thought you would have a piece of this bloke," Mr Tucker said.
"No I didn't, I've never hit anyone in my life," Mr Coleman said.
Mr Tucker suggested the fired- up cyclist then rammed his bike into the car.
"That's incorrect, they're $1400 wheels,' Mr Coleman said.
"(You) got off your bike, banged on the window and opened the passenger side door," Mr Tucker said.
"I did not," Mr Coleman said.
"You said you're a great believer in karma, karma got you back this day," Mr Tucker said.
The trial continues before Justice Stephen Estcourt.