A motorcyclist riding in York City Tuesday avoided being run over by an SUV, but couldn't avoid a face full of pepper spray -- courtesy of the SUV driver, police said.

The road-rage incident happened just before 1:30 p.m. near the corner of Richland Avenue and West King Street.

"The SUV was northbound on Richland Avenue and attempting a left-hand turn onto King Street," city police Lt. Kevin Girling said. "The motorcycle was southbound on Richland Avenue, behind a truck."

The SUV pulled out and nearly struck the bike, Girling said. The motorcyclist then pulled over to the curb and stopped, he said.

"If the SUV driver would have just continued on his path, there wouldn't have been a problem," Girling said. "But he felt the need to turn around, return to the scene and confront the motorcyclist."

Walked to window: The SUV driver pulled behind the motorcycle and stopped, at which point the motorcyclist walked up to the SUV's driver window, the lieutenant said.

"That's when he got sprayed by the SUV driver," Girling said. "His whole face was covered."

The SUV driver left the scene and witnesses called 911, he said. But those witnesses didn't see the traffic incident that led to the road rage -- they only saw the "plume" of pepper spray afterward, according to Girling.

"It was a confusing call, initially," he said, and confirmed officials didn't immediately know whether there was some sort of chemical incident in the area.

Self-defense claim: After officers were on scene, the SUV driver returned and claimed he sprayed the rider in self-defense, Girling said, but the motorcyclist told officers he did nothing to scare the other driver.

The motorcyclist was taken to York Hospital to be treated for pepper-spray exposure, the lieutenant said, and the SUV driver is facing charges.

It appears there was no yelling or cursing between the two men prior to the motorcyclist being sprayed, Girling said.

The SUV driver's name will be released when charges are filed.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.