Police say they will increase patrols on the Bristol to Bath Railway Path following further attacks on cyclists. In the past week, riders have variously been punched, kicked off and had broken bottles thrown at them.
The Bristol Post reports that at around 7pm on Tuesday evening Peter Finney was cycling home to Cotham from his work in Bath.
As he passed the Morrisons store and the old Fishponds station, he saw a group of teenagers ahead of him on the path.
Finney said one threw a bottle over a cyclist heading in the opposite direction, then picked up a broken chunk and threw it at him “from pretty much point blank range.”
He rode away and then stopped to warn a stream of cyclists heading in the opposite direction what lay ahead.
On Thursday, Becky Mann was riding home from work to Greenbank at around 7pm when she passed through a group of young people on the path close to the Devon Road bridge section in Easton.
One of them kicked her bike hard enough to send her into a wall.
“I thought ‘I’m not having this,’” said Mann. “So I got off my bike and turned to have a go at him, to tell him that was not on and to get some manners.
“Someone else went past on their bike and shouted that the others were nicking my bike. I’d literally stepped off it and turned my back on it for a few seconds.
“I turned back and one of the lads was getting on it and attempting to ride it away. He got away with me running after him, but I couldn’t keep up.”
The thief tried to take the bike up the bank and off the cycle path. “Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, this man was there. He must’ve been on the street and heard me shouting and came to see. He literally stood in front of the lad, put his hands on my bike and the lad jumped off and ran away.”
Also on Thursday night, a cyclist was ‘punched to the chest’ as he weaved through a group further down the cycle path.
Last month cyclists were threatened with a knife by a gang of youths and one was hit with a D-lock. Another had his bike stolen after being kicked off.
Inspector Justin French said: “We’re aware of a number of incidents this week which have occurred on the Bristol/Bath cycle path.
“This anti-social behaviour is completely unacceptable – the public should be able to feel safe and secure when using the path day or night.
“We will be carrying out further high-visibility patrols along the path this weekend. And we will be using dispersal notices to move anyone acting anti-socially away from the area.
“We’d also urge anyone who spots groups of young people being intimidating, anti-social or blocking the path to call 101 or 999 if they fear a crime is being committed.
“If you have information about the incidents, or have any concerns you would like to raise with us, please call us and ask to speak to your local neighbourhood team.”
Several cyclists also told the Bristol Post that they felt the route needed better lighting.