A FURIOUS taxi driver mounted a pavement to knock down a cyclist he thought had "given him the finger".

Cabbie Alistair Palmer laughed as he swerved into terrified Michael Martin twice before knocking him off his bike and fleeing the scene.

The 53-year-old carried out the attack after Mr Martin, 39, slapped the back of his black hackney cab and signalled that he was getting too close.

At Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday, Palmer, of Truro Avenue, Moodiesburn, was convicted of assaulting Mr Martin with his vehicle at Auchinloch Road, Lenzie, Glasgow, on April 20, this year.

He was also found guilty of failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to report it to police.

Mr Martin, a competition cyclist, told the court he was out for a Sunday cycle when Palmer tried to overtake him at a mini roundabout.

He said: "Just as we approached the roundabout the taxi cut in in front of me and because of the traffic island it had to come in closer to me than was comfortable.

"It was a natural instinct to put my hand out to the back wheel arch of the taxi and there was a slap as my hand made contact with the taxi.

"The driver turned round and I kind of pointed at my eye as if to say watch where you're going."

The cyclist then drove straight through the roundabout before noticing that the taxi was again approaching him.

Mr Martin added: "I was aware the vehicle was very close and there was contact between my hip and thigh and the front of the taxi.

"The impact caused me to swerve towards the kerb and I jumped up on to the kerb still cycling.

"At that point I became aware the taxi was also on the pavement and again made contact with me.

"I put my hand to the front of the taxi to try and stop it and that then knocked me off my bike and flicked me round the front of the car into the centre of the road."

The court was told that the taxi then drove off but another driver Kenneth Taylor managed to note down the registration and called an ambulance for Mr Martin who was treated for cuts and bruises.

Mr Taylor, 55, told the court he could not believe what he was seeing as the taxi swerved at the cyclist.

He said: "I saw the taxi swerve the first time and I thought did that just happen?' then I saw it do it again.

"The cyclist looked as if he was grabbing hold of the taxi, balancing himself, and then the taxi swerved in again.

"The taxi driver was smiling, laughing away to himself."

Palmer told the court he thought Mr Martin had "given me the finger" and chased after him and shouted at him because he had hit his taxi.

But Sheriff Andrew Mackie rejected his version of events and Palmer was convicted of all three charges.

Sentence was deferred.