A cyclist in Manchester and another in Derby have described how unprovoked attacks on popular cycling routes have resulted in them being left with broken bones.
Pip Moss, from Stretford, told the Manchester Evening News how he was attacked and mugged on the city’s Fallowfield Loop, with one of his assailants using a tree branch to knock him from his bike.
Meanwhile, Jon Williams, speaking to the Derby Telegraph, recounted how a group of around eight youths used three or four of the city’s electric hire bicycles to block a canal path close to Alvaston Park, causing him to fall off.
The assault in Manchester happened close to Yew Tree Road in Fallowfield, with Mr Moss, aged 28, struck on the head by the tree branch and then kicked in the head by some of the youths.
They demanded his mobile phone PIN number and stole his bicycle, mobile phone, keys and debit card before making off.
Passing cyclists called police while Mr Moss, a paralegal, was taken to hospital where he was discovered to have sustained a fractured elbow, a black eye, a cut on his forehead and bruises and grazing to his body.
Describing the attack, he said: "I was cycling in the middle of the path. I passed the first boy on each side, the one with the branch swung it down over my head.
"It hit me on the right side and knocked me off. Immediately after I had reached the ground I was being kicked by several of them.
"They were shouting questions at me. 'Where is your mobile?' 'What is your password, what sort of mobile is it?'
"It is not even smart – it is evil and stupid,” he continued. "I am unsure whether I will ride the Floop alone again. I will have to see how I feel.
"I am not sure if I will be able to feel confident if there were kids there again."
According to campaign group WalkRide Greater Manchester, it is the latest in a series of assaults on people riding the popular commuting route. They said: "Yet another vicious and unprovoked attack on someone doing something as simple and harmless as riding his bike.
"We urge Greater Manchester Police to take this violent crime seriously and invest real resources to find the culprits before another innocent person is left bloodied and broken. No one has yet been brought to justice despite at least 30 people being attacked on the Fallowfield Loop and the adjoining Yellow Brick Road over the past year.
Referring to Greater Manchester’s ambitions to reduce car use and encourage active travel, they added: "This will never happen if the authorities do not make it safer for people to travel on two wheels or two feet."
Greater Manchester Police are investigating the assault, which happened at around 6.25pm on Thursday 25 April and have asked witnesses or anyone who has information to contact officers on 101 or the charity, Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
The attack on Mr Williams in Derby left the 38-year-old engineer with a broken wrist. "I was lying on the ground, I sat up and knew straight away I'd done something to my wrist,” he said.
"The group were hanging around, some of them were giving me a bit of abuse and taking the mick saying 'you should look where you're going'.
"I think it dawned on them that they'd hurt me and a couple of them did seem slightly concerned. One of them picked up my bike and put my chain back on.
"My question is what were they hoping to achieve? It seems senseless."
He described how the eBikes some of the youths were riding had the batteries, baskets and GPS trackers ripped off them and how, when he asked the youths for their names and addresses, they “disappeared.”
Derbyshire Police said: "We were made aware of the incident, which took place on Thursday, May 2, at around 5.45pm in London Road.
“While there have been no arrests at this time there are a number of active lines of enquiry that are being followed by officers.
“We would ask anyone with information about the incident, or incidents of similar incidents in that area, to come call the 101 number with incident number 19*223937.”
Mr Williams, who will be unable to cycle or drive for several weeks due to his injury which required 10 screws and a plate to be inserted in is wrist, added: "It's just bloody awkward! It's affected my mobility in that sense but luckily I can work from home and get someone to give me a lift if needed. It's fortunate that I'm right handed!"
Hourbike, which operates Derby’s eBike hire scheme, commented: "We have been made aware of the incident and our thoughts are with the victim.
"As the eBikes have been stolen, this incident is being investigated by the police and we are cooperating fully with them, and doing everything we can to assist with their inquiry.
"We would encourage anyone with information to contact the police."
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.