Cyclists and dirt bike riders in Rhondda Cynon Taf are being warned to look out for barbed wire being strung across trails after horrific pictures of injuries sustained by a man due to such a trap were shared on Instagram.
The pictures show the man with around a dozen lacerations across his throat following the incident in Gelli.
It is unclear whether he was riding a bike at the time, although the Instagram user who posted the pictures warned “dirt bike riders and pedal bike riders” among others to be vigilant.
Instagram user toe_cutter_71, who posted the graphic pictures yesterday, said: “To the person who's been putting barb wire across the bike trails near Gelli in Rhondda valley ,you could of killed this man , if they catch you, god help you as you can kiss your hands goodbye and you will do jail time ... be careful dirt bike riders and pedal bike riders walkeŕs and runners !! Please share the pics and warn people to be vigilant.. ta.”
It’s not the first time that barbed wire has been strung across trails the area to target cyclists, with a cyclist likewise sustaining injuries to his throat five years ago in Ton Pentre, the next door village to Gelli in the Rhondda Valley.
Ben Threlfall, owner of the Afan Valley Bike Shed near Neath, had to unwrap barbed wire from around his throat when he rode into a trap as he was leading a group ride along a forestry trail in November 2016.
“I was riding on Saturday in the Ton Pentre area, down a trail I've ridden many times, and was almost beheaded by barbed wire strung up across the trail between two trees," he said afterwards, quoted in The Mirror.
“We were on a downhill part of the trail where riders usually pick up a lot of momentum and speed.
“I was probably going at around 30kmh when I struck the barbed wire.
“It wasn't a slow impact, I hit it hard – so hard that the barbed wire snapped.
“Luckily I'm a big bloke – I'm 6ft 3ins – so it cut across my chest and shoulders first, before sliding up to my neck and wrapping around my throat.
“It threw me off my bike and I honestly thought that my head was going to fall off. I thought ‘this is the point where I'm going to die’.
“I was really, really lucky - I've been left with a couple of cuts, bruises and some soreness.
“If that had happened to someone smaller or lighter, the barbed wire wouldn't have snapped and it would have taken their heads off their shoulders.
“No doubt they would have died.
“It also happened in a quiet area of forestry, so if it had been worse, emergency services would have struggled to get there in time.
“I'd love to meet the person who did this and ask them why.
“What was going through their heads when they decided to put something as extreme as barbed wire across a track?
“Another rider told me they had found nails stuck in the ground in the same area,” he added
“Whoever is doing this, obviously wants to stop us from using the track.”
A spokeswoman for Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said at the time: “The council is concerned to hear about this issue and the threat it presents to mountain bikers, dog walkers and horse-riders.
“It thanks the rider for bringing this to the attention of the community.
“All public paths, bridleways and trails in Rhondda Cynon Taf are checked and maintained on a regular basis, as part of the Council’s work to ensure people can enjoy open spaces and public rights of way safely.”
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.