Edinburgh NHS worker physically and verbally abused by youths while commuting by bike

Meanwhile Dundee cyclist’s arm broken after teen jumps out at him, as incidents of youths targeting bike riders rise

A female NHS worker in Edinburgh has spoken of how she was verbally and physically abused by a group of youths on a path next to Victoria Park in the north of the city. The incident follows another in Dundee in which a cyclist broke his arm when a teenager jumped out in front of him, and there have been a number of other cases in recent weeks in which youths have targeted people on bikes.

Those include one we reported on at the weekend in which police in Birmingham are investigating after a female cyclist was pushed into one of the city’s canals as she rode past a group of youths. A number of similar assaults are believed to have taken place on the canal, with other women pushed in while riding their bikes there.

> Teen gang is pushing female cyclists into Birmingham canal

The NHS worker who was targeted last week told Edinburgh Live that the group of five and six youths, who were on bicycles had recently begun congregating in the area at the same time each day.

She was subjected to verbal abuse on Thursday and on Friday she was physically assaulted, as was a jogger.

"On Thursday I was cycling from work about 6:45pm,” she said. “A group of 5- 6 teenagers about 15 years old, all males were standing on the path blocking the way, busy talking to each other.

"I rang my bell, they could clearly see me but did not react. I shouted 'excuse me'. They moved just slightly so I managed to go through the middle of the group, they started laughing and shouting 'Why are you shouting? Are you f***ing thick?'.

"I managed to get away from the situation, was very stressed about it. I told my partner who uses the same route to commute about it and he said he seen the same group of teens in the area.

"On Friday at exactly the same time and about the same place I saw a group of teens approaching from opposite direction. I got stressed just seeing them and focused just to get past.

"This time they were not blocking the way. I thought that I've avoided confrontation when all of a sudden I felt pain in my right thigh. I literally didn't know what hit me, one of them kicked me. I stopped in disbelief. It took me a moment to realise what happened. The boys were laughing and cycled away.

"Then I've seen the other lady who was jogging, she got kicked as well. It all happened in broad daylight, there were other people around who witnessed the incident so it only shows that the teens feel like they can get away with it."

The woman has ordered an action camera for her bike, although she is also rethinking her route to and from work.

"I'll be going back to work on Monday and I'm worried that I'll meet them again. I don't feel safe using the path anymore,” she said.

“Looking how the violence escalated from verbal to physical abuse in just two days I think that somebody might get seriously hurt. They are clearly having fun intimidating and abusing other path users."

A Police Scotland spokesperson commented: “Around 6.50pm on Friday, 12 June, officers received a report of a woman assaulted near Newhaven Road, Edinburgh. She did not require medical assistance and enquiries are ongoing."

Meanwhile, a cyclist in Dundee broke his arm and sustained several cracked ribs when a teenager “deliberately” jumped in front of him.

Police Scotland said that the cyclist had to brake hard and was thrown over the handlebars, resulting in him landing head-first.

The incident happened on Liff Road at around 9.15pm last Monday 8 June, reports thecourier.co.uk.

The teenager was said to have been a member of a group of around 20 youths and was described as being skinny, aged about 15, and wearing a black gilet.

He made off after the incident as did the rest of the group, some of whom were reportedly riding bikes.

The rest of the group, some of whom were on bicycles, also made off.

In a statement, Tayside Police Division said: “We are appealing for information about an incident which happened about 9.15pm on Monday, June 8 in Liff Road, Dundee, along the south side of Camperdown Park.

“Two cyclists were cycling along the road, when a male youth deliberately jumped out in front of them, causing one cyclist to slam on his brakes to take evasive action.

“He went over his handlebars and landed head-first on the road.

“Thankfully he was wearing a helmet which prevented any head injuries, however he suffered a broken arm and cracked ribs as a result of the crash.

“If you have any information that could assist our investigation, please call 101 or speak with any police officer.

“Also, information can be given anonymously through CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111. Our reference is incident 0926 of June 9.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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