This is the time of year when we start to hear occasional reports of strong arm attacks against evening bike commuters on remote, isolated bike paths. Thugs with baseball bats and pipes loiter along the side of the path. When a lone target zips by, the bad guys swing their bat, knock the cyclist from his or her bike, steal the cyclist’s backpack and ride away on the bike.
I know a few women who don’t ride on bike paths after dark because of personal safety concerns. Bike paths are usually not lit well at night and are generally unpopulated. In many areas, bike trails aren’t even officially open to the public at night. Only rarely are bike trails patrolled at night.
Senators Barbara Boxer and James Inhofe would force these women to ride on dark, potentially unsafe trails should their MAP-21 highway authorization bill become law. MAP-21 is the spending bill that would ban bikes from certain roads under Federal jurisdiction under the guise of “bicycle safety.”
I have Google News alerts for bicycle related topics. I don’t look specifically for attacks on bike paths or bike trails, but I see these kinds of stories on a daily basis. Here’s what I found today after five minutes of searching:
- Another young woman attacked on Ottawa bike path.
- Father of rape victim worries about safety on bike trail.
- Chico bike path assaults.
- 15 year old girl raped on bike path.
- Assaults and robberies on the idyllic American River Trial.
- Sexual assualt along bike path.
- Man on Orlando bike trail.
- New Orleans man attacked on levee path.
- Woman raped on Rhode Island bike path.
- 25 years of bike path attacks by a serial rapist.
- Teen sexual predator attacks girl on bike path in Escondido.
- In the meantime, reduced tax revenue means fewer patrols on bike paths.
Dear Senator Boxer, please remove the “Bicycle Safety” mandatory sidepath law from S.1813.