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"Safer if they had nicked it": Thieves disable brake on cyclist's e-bike mobility vehicle

Anna Semlyen relies on the bike for transport since a collision involving a driver broke her leg 30 years ago.

A York cyclist's e-bike was vandalised by suspected thieves, believed to have been hoping to steal the wheel and rear-hub motor, leaving the mobility vehicle in a dangerous condition.

Anna Semlyen, a campaign manager for the 20's Plenty UK speed limit campaign told road.cc how the bike was locked in the city centre when the damage occurred, the offender or offenders removing bolts from the disc brake rotor, leaving her rear brake unusable.

"They've removed six bolts holding the disc on and they've actually removed the big nut holding the axle on the frame," her mechanic explained. "Dangerous. No back brake and your wheel is not fixed in properly."

Asked by Anna if they could have killed her on her bike, he replied: "Yeah, potentially... clearly [criminal damage]."

Anna Semlyen

Speaking to YorkMix about the incident, Anna said she was riding around questioning why her brakes weren't working very well.

"These parts are very cheap. They are six different bolts that attach your disc brakes to the back of the bike, and then as a single bolt that attaches the the bike frame into the back wheel hub," she said. "So I don't know why they would bother to take them off my bike.

"Why are you attacking a bike that is labelled a disability vehicle? It's completely appalling and nasty behaviour to the point of potentially putting my life at risk. What this does is leave me with a ticking time bomb, with a back wheel that is so unsafe that if I hit something hard, the wheel's going to come off.

"I feel shaken. I'm extremely upset about this. This is very stressful – it's not just a little bit of theft. It's an appalling version of theft that is completely dangerous to my my welfare."

Anna Semlyen

Anna explained to road.cc how she relies on her Transeo e-bike as her mobility vehicle having suffered a broken her leg in 1992 when she was knocked off her bike in a collision involving a driver, this one a recent replacement after a previous bike was stolen.

"My leg was broken in 1992 cycling," she said. "Tibia didn't join when pinned. Surgeon cut into fibula to join tibia. The tibia joined but the fibula didn't."

Anna has in the past days been recommended further surgery to insert a metal rod to stabilise the leg.

"It's a bit scary," she said. "I was tearful and tired today, cancelled a few things. I'm pleased he agreed to operate. Short-term pain. Long-term gain.
In happier news... Martin's started making me another really good e-bike."

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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3 comments

Avatar
AltBren | 1 year ago
2 likes

I came back to my bike at vauxhall 1 time, and the front wheel fell off.. some nob had nicked the quick release spindle! Not the wheel, just the little bar that it spins on! I assumed it was a chain and someone had nicked theirs.. I have to admit, my brain said should I continue the chain and take the 1 from the bike next to me! (Don't worry I didn't!)

Avatar
Car Delenda Est | 1 year ago
5 likes

Maybe we need to take a note out of the drivists playbook and label the lack of secure bike storage as discriminatory against the disabled

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
10 likes

Quote:

"These parts are very cheap. They are six different bolts that attach your disc brakes to the back of the bike, and then as a single bolt that attaches the the bike frame into the back wheel hub," she said. "So I don't know why they would bother to take them off my bike."

Guessing because they're thick as mince and thought the brake rotor has to come off before you can get the motor out. Hope Anna gets back on the road as soon as possible.

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