Edinburgh cyclist injured by clothes line strung across cycle path

Police investigating; second cyclist narrowly avoided another trap nearby

by Simon_MacMichael   November 12, 2013  

Edinburgh © Simon MacMichael.jpg

Police in Edinburgh are investigating an incident in which a cyclist was injured when he was thrown from his bike after riding into a potentially lethal clothes line positioned at head height across a busy cycle path.

The rider, believed to be aged in his early 50s, sustained cuts on his cheek and nose, leaving him "bleeding and dazed" following the incident at around 7pm yesterday evening, reports STV.

It took place on the Roseburn path behind the Davidsons Mains branch of Tesco in the northwest of the city.

The broadcaster says that logs and branches had been placed on the path, possibly to distract riders’ vision as the approached the wire.

A 27-year-old female cyclist had to brake to avoid a second trap nearby, placed at a lower level, and managed to escape injury.

The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “I saw the low level one and skidded to a stop. I had a look around and wondered what the hell was going on.

“I got off my bike to take it down and was looking at the knots when I caught a glimpse of the man who had come off.

“I shouted out to him to see if he was OK and walked over. He had lost his glasses and was quite dazed and confused.

“He said he was cycling and saw the logs. Then he saw the rope at the last second and turned his head before it got him. He had a nasty cut on his nose and his cheek where he struck the rope.

“As we were taking them down, both of us were wondering if there was anyone watching us. It was a little horrifying to be honest.”

The woman, who said she would not be deterred from cycling but would be “very cautious,” reported the incident to police, who have said that they are investigating.

Her boyfriend, Alex Robertson, told STV that the perpetrators had committed
“the equivalent of attempted murder”.

He continued: “They are putting up something that could easily kill someone. It’s shocking.

“The man was bleeding and clearly shaken up by it. I imagine he’s been put off cycling and that’s on a path where they’re meant to be safe.

“I’m pretty angry at whoever’s done this. If my girlfriend hadn’t stopped in time, she would have gone flying and who knows the damage it could have caused.

“I remember something similar happening at the Meadows a couple of years ago. A guy had to undergo reconstructive surgery because it caused so much damage to his face.”

Ian Maxwell from the Lothian cycle campaign group, Spokes, commented: “This is a horrible incident. Similar things have happened on the path network before and the police have targeted the relevant area.”

He added: “The busier the paths are the less likely it is to happen.”

In December 2011, we reported how a cyclist using the Bristol-Bath Railway Path had been rendered unconscious and his bike stolen after he was brought down by a clothes line strung across the route.

12 user comments

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A Police Scotland spokesman said: "Police are investigating following an incident that happened around 18:30 on Monday where a cyclist collided with a rope that had been placed across a cycle path in the Davidson's Mains area of the city.

Collided. Taking it seriously then Sad

posted by racyrich [117 posts]
12th November 2013 - 17:54

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Yeah I bet they'll catch them right away! I mean the police could at least act like they'll take it seriously.

posted by jarredscycling [438 posts]
12th November 2013 - 18:21

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The police in Edinburgh are currently busy with their 1970s prejudices and priorities, doing a two week "crack-down" on cyclists.

posted by vbvb [231 posts]
12th November 2013 - 18:24

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“In other news, a pedestrian collided with a mugger's knife" - there, see how ridiculous that sounds?

This isn't a road traffic collision, this is premeditated assault.

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posted by PJ McNally [586 posts]
12th November 2013 - 18:30

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We've had a couple of those recently in Exeter.

A female jogger was caught by one and very nearly died.


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posted by William Black [196 posts]
12th November 2013 - 22:09

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Angry Angry Angry

I know that path and have used it. Certainly makes you think about using cycle paths at night.

I think this is more or less attempted murder- bet the useless police will do nothing about it and if by some miracle it ever makes it to the judicial system the perpetrators will get a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket.

posted by paddyirish [13 posts]
12th November 2013 - 22:35

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I've used that path and know people who stll do. It is of concern.


posted by OldRidgeback [2172 posts]
12th November 2013 - 23:23

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Did anyone else read this and think, the 27 yr old female doesn't want to be named......ok....then read on.

Her boyfriend Alex Robertson..... Devil

So if you know an Alex Robertson with a 27 yr old girlfriend, that cycles....can't be that many in Edinburgh fitting that exact description Rolling On The Floor

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posted by Gkam84 [8799 posts]
12th November 2013 - 23:55

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Nothing new here I'm afraid, I've heard stories of this sort of thing happening on canal towpaths too.

Personally I steer clear of this sort of cycle path as well as any isolated rural roads at night. Good lights and more major traffic routes are safest in my view. I'm not someone who scares too easily but these sort of attacks are pretty much impossible to deal with and the consequences can be severe.

I think that this sort of thing could be considered a major oversight in the design of a lot of our cycle infrastructure, including on-road NCN routes. They are all designed with a utopian mindset of blissfully pottering along in the sunshine all the time. Night-time safety doesn't seem to even be on the agenda.

posted by Matt eaton [395 posts]
13th November 2013 - 0:40

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How would you design a path that can avoid this sort of thing though? If you're scared even of small rural roads because of this thing, surely there's no-way that (in your mind) a route could be safe from this without eiher srong street lighting along the whole route or a total lack of trees and signposts within 20m of the margins?

posted by Al__S [520 posts]
13th November 2013 - 9:38

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Had Edinburgh's old railway lines been used instead as routes for the tram network, things might be different. A lot of cyclists in the city avoid the cycleways that are old railway lines because of the risk of mugging and because of the smashed glass strewn across them at frequent intervals. Putting the trams along the old rail lines would've cost significantly less than building them along the roads. And with no tram lines on city centre streets, things would be a lot safer for cyclists.


posted by OldRidgeback [2172 posts]
13th November 2013 - 10:22

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Regardless of the whereabouts, the issue is there are idiots out there who do this. Catch them, beat them, remove a finger, they are vermin.

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [283 posts]
13th November 2013 - 13:42

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