Bicyclists targeted in violent attacks

June 15, 2009 3:57:15 PM PDT
Bicyclists are being targeted along the Schuylkill River Trail, and the problem seems to be getting worse.The latest incident happened along the Haws Avenue portion of the bike path in Norristown.

A woman was attacked by six men, and that incident has brought to light a pattern of violence against cyclists.

What has bicycle riders and investigators most concerned is the severity of the attacks in recent weeks, including the report of one rider getting hit in the head with a rock and another woman reportedly brutalized and punched in the face by a total of six men all wearing red shirts and black pants.

Norristown Police Chief Russell Bono says at this point in the investigation they do not believe this is gang-related.

"We believe they may actually be affiliated with a basketball team. A summer league in the area, the team wears red shirts. That's what we're trying to run down right now," said Chief Bono.

In fact, local police think these are all simply random acts of violence.

"We certainly would encourage people to ride in tandem, in pairs or in groups if at all possible, and to always be aware of their surroundings. And, of course, do not ride at night," said Chief Bono.

Police strongly suggest that any attacks or harrassment cases along the path be reported to authorities to help them in the investigation.

In the meantime, bicyclists say they are keeping one eye on the path and the other on the surrounding shrubs.

"I thought the problem had gone away," said Hy Zelkowitz of West Mount Airy. "I think they should go through here and clear the brush again so nobody can hide by the side of the road."

So far there have been no arrests in this case.

The victims have been treated and released from local hospitals.

You can get the latest crime statistics from the Philadelphia Police by CLICKING HERE for the force's crime data mapping site.

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