Cyclist left unconscious, bike stolen after clothes line strung across Bristol & Bath cycle path

Police appeal for witnesses after unwelcome return of traps set for cyclists on Britain's busiest bike path

by Simon_MacMichael   December 14, 2011  

Bristol-Bath_Cyclepath_ (Steinsky - Wikimedia Commons)

Avon & Somerset Police have warned bike riders using the Bristol and Bath cycle path to be extra vigilant after a cyclist was left unconscious, and his bike stolen, after being brought down by a clothes line strung across the path at wheel height.

The incident happened at around 8pm on the evening of Monday 12 December, with a passer-by finding the 28-year-old man, a soldier who has served in Afghanistan, unconscious.

The cyclist’s bike, a blue and black Trek Madone which he uses for races, was stolen, presumably by the person or persons who had put the clothes line in place.

The victim, who comes from Kingswood, was treated by paramedics at the location of the incident, which took place as he headed towards a bridge in the Siston Common area, shortly after he had passed Mangotsfield station.



There have been similar incidents on the Bristol and Bath bike path in the past, and we at road.cc are aware of a number of actual incidents and near misses.

In 2004, the Bristol Observer reported how a cyclist was left with lacerations on his neck as he rode his recumbent – which would put the height of the trap at a similar one to the clothes line used in Monday’s incident.

That article can be found on the website of the cyclist involved, Danny Colyer, also of Kingswood, found a second snare the following morning and a third when he returned there with a journalist from the newspaper.

Located on the route of a former railway line, the path was put in place for cyclists and walkers between 1979 and 1986, giving birth to sustainable transport charity Sustrans along the way, founded as Cyclebag in 1977.

Most of the path, which is 13 miles long, is owned by Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council or Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Anyone who has information about Monday’s incident is requested to contact South Gloucestershire CID on 101, or Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.


22 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Shite! That's horrendous.

Surely though, if thieves are hanging about waiting for someone to come a cropper on these, then the additional finds credited to Danny Colyer should have been accompanied by some obvious-looking scrotes stood just beyond the treeline?

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3476 posts]
14th December 2011 - 12:57

2 Likes

I regularly come across carpets of deliberately smashed glass on my cycle route, as well as smouldering bonfires or hastily torched goods in one section that must be the local arsonists meeting place but that is really horrific. Surely someone found responsible could be guilty of attempted murder?

Never had any bother with people until riding home on monday when some little runt threw a block of wood at me as I went past then scarpered when challenged. Can only hope he sets fire to his tracksuit one day.

Hope the guy involved recovers and the scum responsible are caught and justice administered.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [917 posts]
14th December 2011 - 13:24

1 Like

When will it end? If its not maniacs throwing concrete blocks off M'way bridges its crap like this.

Maybe the councils concerned should employ someone to go along the route each morning firing silly string to hunt out the traps?

....or maybe not.

TurboJoe

posted by TurboJoe [58 posts]
14th December 2011 - 14:05

5 Likes

don't give the moron responsible for this the privilege of being arrested. Just hand him over to the soldier's mates. I'm sure they will have a better way of dealing with him.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
14th December 2011 - 14:24

6 Likes

It might be worth the 28 year old victim returning with some of his mates at a short distance behind. I'm not one to condone vigilante violence but I expect some serving soldiers might know some effective methods for convincing thieving scrotes to seek alternative methods of finding cash.

Many many years ago I was commuting across Hyde Park when someone asked if he could borrow my bicycle pump. Something didn't add up so I said, "No," and cycled on. I had the distinct impression he was going to try and mug me and take my bike.

I know that while Edinburgh has an extensive cycle network along the old urban railway lines that were taken up in the 60s, 70s and 80s, a lot of cyclists don't use them due to the risk of mugging. It does beg the question of why Edinburgh's hugely expensive tram project (which is still nowehere near completion) wasn't built using these cycle lanes instead - but that's another topic entirely.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
14th December 2011 - 14:31

1 Like

londonplayer wrote:
don't give the moron responsible for this the privilege of being arrested. Just hand him over to the soldier's mates. I'm sure they will have a better way of dealing with him.

Wheres a like button when you need one.

Really appalling story. Hope they do catch who every is doing this.

posted by moggotlover [13 posts]
14th December 2011 - 15:32

3 Likes

I encountered a wire at neck height strung across a cycle path. I took it down and reported it to the Police. Never heard any more about it.

When I'm on cycle paths in the dark, I angle my lights upward so that I can see such obstacles, but I dip them when I see someone coming the other way. I hope I'd spot something like that in daylight.

posted by Recumbenteer [153 posts]
14th December 2011 - 17:40

2 Likes

Corrections required:

It wasn't a washing line it was a: " fishing line tied across a populer bike path,"

Mr Colyer's e-mail spread like wildfire across the cycling community and included a picture of his injuries - a red weal across his throat.

The e-mail says: "I was garotted by a fishing line strung across the cycle path. The line was at neck height for a recumbent rider, a BMX rider or a child. The next evening I found a second line tied to the same tree, this time at about neck height for an adult upright cyclist.

"Clearly a fishing line strung across a cycle path ought to be treated as attempted murder, and

    I fear that someone who has done it twice might just keep trying until they get a result. So watch out.

"

http://www.colyer.plus.com/danny/cycling/fishingline/#chronicle

posted by Recumbenteer [153 posts]
14th December 2011 - 17:56

3 Likes

This an absolute outrage. I ride this path regularly, often with friends, sometimes going at well over 20mph if it's safe to go fast (i.e. there's no one around). This could easily have killed or permanently disabled someone, including me. I'm tempted to let these nasty little vermin stop me using the path, it's not worth the risk.
Why isn't this on the national news like the concrete block from a bridge incident? The perps are just as bad, i.e. criminally insane. Could it be that it's not more widely reported because we are only cyclists?

posted by bikeylikey [173 posts]
14th December 2011 - 18:00

2 Likes

Do we want this widely reported? There are plenty of knobheads out there who do not need any ideas! Widely reported to the cycling community is enough. Hopefully

posted by SideBurn [873 posts]
14th December 2011 - 19:00

3 Likes

Bikeylikey - of course it's because we're cyclists. The media only covers stories that it likes and it thinks that other people would like, which is why some have descended into hacking phones. In the meantime genuine news is ignored. Most of the piffle that gets publicity these days isn't news.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [292 posts]
14th December 2011 - 19:28

2 Likes

Shocking, but unsurprising, I find the only safe time to cycle along that path is when you can see other people walking and cycling on the path. I've been attacked by adults and children throwing glass bottles from one of the bridges near Oldland Common. Also frequently have to stop to lift my bike over a carpet of broken glass strewn across the path, it seems to be a regular problem.

the_mikey's picture

posted by the_mikey [148 posts]
14th December 2011 - 19:49

2 Likes

OldRidgeback wrote:
It does beg the question of why Edinburgh's hugely expensive tram project (which is still nowehere near completion) wasn't built using these cycle lanes instead - but that's another topic entirely.

The planned route did use the old railway....

Heard of similar in Edinburgh (first hand accounts, from more than 1 person) on the innocent path. Generally i use a 9pm cut off time if i'm alone - up until then the routes are pretty busy, and so i feel safer

posted by bellevedere [19 posts]
14th December 2011 - 19:51

1 Like

moggotlover wrote:
londonplayer wrote:
don't give the moron responsible for this the privilege of being arrested. Just hand him over to the soldier's mates. I'm sure they will have a better way of dealing with him.

Wheres a like button when you need one.

Really appalling story. Hope they do catch who every is doing this.

The cyclist it happened to races with my friends. The people that planted the trap are very lucky he was unconscious, as he is a former army boxing champion! Now that would have been one youtube video I would love to see... Lycra clad cyclist knocks out 10 bike thieves Devil

posted by x8swift9x [15 posts]
14th December 2011 - 20:49

3 Likes

I take this route when I have the time as I perceive it to be safer than the A4. Now the distinction's not so clear. Glad to hear that you're one of the good guys Recumbenteer. Too many don't dip or cover their lights which is both arrogant and dangerous! Sorry - pet hate of mine.

posted by Ting [51 posts]
14th December 2011 - 21:19

2 Likes

simply answer really: when said brainless lowlife piece of shite is apprehended hang him by his balls until he turns blue by said clothes line.....cheap simple and easy and at a cost saving to the tax payer not having to go through the legal system!!!!! bring back medieval punishment!! Devil

andrew miners's picture

posted by andrew miners [46 posts]
15th December 2011 - 9:17

2 Likes

Whilst Im a strong believer in therule of law, there are times.......
Particularly when you see how the law does deal with such lowlife when/if they do get them into court.

www.charliethebikemonger.com/bicycle-theives-have-tiny-dicks-t-shirt-180...

Nuff said?

Caleb's Dad

posted by ricardowilson21 [7 posts]
15th December 2011 - 10:22

1 Like

Horrendous Sad

I ride that way most days, often around that time. If it is who I think it is then as already said the thieves are in big trouble if / when they are identified. I hope he's recovering ok.

Up until this incident the path has been relatively quiet this year - lights were added as far as the tunnel at Staple Hill last year after several incidents.

In the past I've had more problems around Oldland Common (where Danny was attacked) than near Siston.

posted by AnalogueAndy [27 posts]
15th December 2011 - 12:18

4 Likes

londonplayer wrote:
don't give the moron responsible for this the privilege of being arrested. Just hand him over to the soldier's mates. I'm sure they will have a better way of dealing with him.

I'm sure that would be very effective.

tommy2p

posted by tommy2p [85 posts]
15th December 2011 - 15:09

4 Likes

bikeylikey wrote:
This an absolute outrage. I ride this path regularly, often with friends, sometimes going at well over 20mph if it's safe to go fast (i.e. there's no one around). This could easily have killed or permanently disabled someone, including me. I'm tempted to let these nasty little vermin stop me using the path, it's not worth the risk.
Why isn't this on the national news like the concrete block from a bridge incident? The perps are just as bad, i.e. criminally insane. Could it be that it's not more widely reported because we are only cyclists?

I think that putting on the national news would give everyone lots of ideas like that and it really would very quickly become a very common national problem. A lot of scum get their ideas from bad news on the telly.

tommy2p

posted by tommy2p [85 posts]
15th December 2011 - 15:16

3 Likes

In my case I'm pretty sure the lines were strung up by schoolkids having a laugh without considering the consequences. I suspect the perps might have been among the many people who passed by while I was being photographed for the local paper and perhaps realised then that it was time to stop.

It's good to see that the police are taking an interest this time, anyway.

posted by Danny Colyer [3 posts]
15th December 2011 - 23:01

2 Likes

The bike was nicked - that wasn't kids playing.

I was out with Planning officer on bikes following a cycle route and we rolled up to a group standing beside a fence wire strung across our route. Took my pliers out and cut it into 4" lengths in front of them (the Planning officer had their phone out) and I'm a bit tall and large.

Sounds like some regular places, and options to make sure you have phone with you and a means of cutting down any wires/ropes strung up across a path

That said the hairier moments have been meeting folk with rifles (and not air rifles either). Once with the director of L&R as we were lanterne rouge to a group of schoolkids at a path opening event - guy with rifle (closed stock) and dog walking around in public park. Another time 2 guys with balaclavas and fatigues openly carrying rifle - where path went through a village that with no sense of shame boasted that it was a Handgun free village! (if that doesn't make you a bit nervous....)

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [504 posts]
16th December 2011 - 0:21

4 Likes