Assaults, robberies of bicyclists along Jones Falls Trail spark concern

BALTIMORE -

Mike and Kris Northrup bike through the Jones Falls Trail three or four times a week.

They too have run into trouble before along certain trails in Baltimore.

"I've had some kids approach me on another trike that we own and it's intimidating. They are like, ready to do damage. They just kind of lunge at you...so you don't know what is coming on," Northrup said.

But lately, around the switch back of the Jones Falls Trail, some say a group of juveniles are getting even more aggressive.

Sunday evening alone there were two police reports; a victim told police 8 to 10 young men surrounded and then wrestled his bike away from him, he was 79.

Then, an hour later, a 24 year old described a group doing much the same thing to him, also stealing his bike.

"What we are seeing right now is an uptick in incidents of assault and robbery on this specific section of the Jones Falls Trail," said Executive Director of Bikemore Liz Cornish.

Cornish says these types of incidents have been happening since the beginning of the month and her office counted five, but not all assaults get reported.

This type of crime in this specific stretch of the Jones Falls is not uncommon, it comes in waves like Cornish says and the bike advocacy group is asking for a permanent solution to make the over gown but popular trail safer.

"What we are asking the city to do is to come back very quickly, we would like them to remove the brush so that the line of sight from the top or mid of trail is so you can see to the bottom and see if there are any threats that are there. And then we also want an emergency call box and we want lighting, Cornish said."

Until then, Bikemore is looking for volunteers to serve as lookouts between Wyman Park Drive on the top of the trail and Falls Road on the bottom.

Baltimore Police have also literally stepped up patrols, officers today walked a foot post through the trail.

In the meantime the word is out and bicyclists are remaining vigilant.

"I told him we are going to be on the lookout for groups of kids on bikes today and we have electric bikes so we can go pretty fast if we need to get away but yeah, we know what to avoid," Northrup said.

To read Bikemore's petition for safety improvements along the Jones Falls Trail, click here

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