Saturday, August 13, 2011

Two Cyclists Assaulted on Kelly Drive in July

Flash mobs are all the media's rage. The latest melee two weeks ago occurred right in front of the Bicycle Coalition's building at 1500 Walnut St. And Mayor Nutter has responded to Center City violence with an earlier teen curfew and a brigade of bike and foot patrol officers.

Meanwhile at one point on Kelly Drive this summer deviant youths have taken potshots at a couple of cyclists, resulting in broken bones.

Here is an account that we got from one cyclist

On Friday, July 22nd I was biking home on the Kelly Drive bike path. I was heading away from Center City, and past Boathouse Row, where the climbing rocks are (right around Brewery Hill). As I approach the narrower part of the bike path near the rocks I rode between about 8 African-American youths, approximately between 10 and 15 years old standing on either side of the bike path. There were all male with the exception of one young female. One of the males, who appeared to be about 15 years old and heavy-set, wearing black shorts and a black shirt, charged at me and clubbed me with his arm - the kids then took off, running across Kelly Drive. Some of the kids returned, apparently to find out if I was okay, whether I had called the police, and to tell me that they had mistaken me for someone else biking in a white shirt. I wound up going to the UPENN emergency room where I was diagnosed with a broken collarbone from the impact of being struck (I did not crash my bike). I filed a report with the 9th precinct police.

On Sunday, July 31st a cyclist told of his account of being assaulted in the same general area at 6PM. The victim was punched by a male allegedly with brass knuckles and he was hanging out with four other males aged between 14 and 20. The victims suffered a fractured skull in 3 places on the side of his face. As the video shows he is already back on his bike--undefeatable

Police have no suspects in custody although we have heard third hand reports of police patrolling the trail in a vehicle.

The Kelly Drive path sees more than one million users a year. When directly compared to nearby neighborhoods, crimes are reported much more frequently above the path on Girard Ave. Furthermore on the River Drive pathways we have numbers on our side and the best thing we can do for our collective safety is to get out there and ride (or the "terrorists win").

1 - Be aware of your surroundings, if you find yourself approaching a group of males surrounding or blocking the pathway turn around or if there is enough bike traffic wait for other cyclists to join you.
2 - Report suspicious activity, on many cell phones 911 is speed dial 9.
3 - Bring a friend
4 - After lights and your helmet a bike camera may be one of the most important accessories that you can buy for your bike. Prices for standard definition helmet or bike cameras start at around $35.
5 - If you really want to make a difference then organize. The spectrum of solutions can vary from informal bike patrols with your friends to establishing a full blown Town Watch. The Friends of the Wissahickon have been working to increase their presence in the park by launching a Trail Ambassador program