herald

Wednesday 13 November 2019

'It's terrifying' - cyclists attacked in mountains as high-end bikes taken

Solo cyclists are asked to be vigilant. Stock image
Solo cyclists are asked to be vigilant. Stock image

Cyclists are being warned to remain vigilant after reports of cyclists being attacked and having their bikes stolen on a popular Dublin cycling route.

Dublin Cycling Group said they have noticed a "pattern emerging" in bicycle thefts in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains.

Some cyclists have also reported their phones being stolen during the attacks.

Ripped

Gardai are investigating a report of one such theft yesterday at the Sally Gap junction, a cycling route through the mountains.

The male cyclist was traveling alone when it is understood two men in a car drove at him and forced him into the ditch.

They got out of the car and took the man's bike, a red and white Trek 1.7, from the scene.

The cyclist received minor injuries during the incident.

"There seems to be a bit of a pattern emerging," a Dublin Cycling Group spokesperson told the Herald.

"Ripping someone off a bike and into a ditch, with the bike being pulled off them, is a terrifying experience.

"They seem to be targeting people on high-end road bikes and then stealing their phones, maybe so they can't contact gardai.

"But it's pretty sinister if someone was injured after being ran off the road and couldn't call for help if their bike was stolen. It's pretty scary to think what could happen.

"It's frightening, really. We would be telling people to be aware of their own safety, watch out for suspicious behaviour and report it to gardai."

The group also called for additional garda presence in the area. The route through the Dublin and Wicklow mountains is very popular with cyclists.

"So many routes head out through the Sally Gap junction as it connects to many suburban towns, and cyclists then head through the mountains and out to Bray.

"We are encouraging solo cyclists to be vigilant."

Speaking to the Herald, local Sinn Fein councillor Dermot O'Brien expressed his concern.

"It's horrendous to think that this may be planned but even if this is done on a whim, it's a horror story," he said.

"Cyclists already have to be wary of the safety on the roads... now they also have to be looking out for somebody that may be out to consciously harm them.

"I would hate to think that people would think twice about going down the beautiful Wicklow mountain route."

He said that a Joint Committee meeting will take place between An Garda Siochana and local councillors early in September and he expects the issue to be raised then.

targeting

According to the councillor, there have also been reports of cars parked nearby being broken into in recent months.

"It seems that there is a targeting of scenic car parks if they know people park their car and go hiking," he said.

"Working with the gardai, we will do our best to discourage people who are looking to steal bikes or break into cars and make people feel safe."

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