We have received reports of a group of machete-wielding muggers aggressively targeting cyclists using National Cycle Route 5 (NCN5) in Cannon Hill Park after dark. They are searching bags and stealing bikes. One victim has told us that the police took several days to respond, and that the issue is "out for observation".
Despite the apparently very weak response from the police, in an emergency don't hesitate to dial 999 or the pan-European emergency number, 112. If you have any information that will help apprehend these dangerous people, you can use the non-emergency 101 number, or report the information anonymously via Crimestoppers. Above all, either avoid the park at night, or buddy up when cycling through it.
Push Bikes will be raising both the police response, and the issues created by having a cycle route policy that relies on routes that are unlit and remote from where most people are. There have been a string of attacks on cyclists using Birmingham's so-called "green routes". For mass cycle use cycle routes should be objectively safe, subjectively safe, and socially safe. The "green routes" can be very pleasant and may make life easier for councillors, but critically they do not meet these conditions. A cycle route that is only safe during the day and is completely unusable in icy weather will not facilitate cycle commuting, which is desperately needed to address the problems with traffic congestion in Birmingham.
Photo by Marcelo Braga on Flickr.