Hello and welcome to our latest edition of ‘humans are terrible people’, where we’ll be discussing folk who set booby traps for cyclists in the middle of the roads.
Unfortunately, we seem to live in a world where it’s not irregular for a cycling race to be sabotaged with drawing pins. This happened as recently as last weekend, when crashes were caused at speeds of 35 miles per hour after pins were sprinkled at two locations in the inaugural Velothon Wales.
On that occasion thankfully no serious injuries were suffered, despite rider Alex James, who works for Sustrans, looking a whole lot worse for wear because of it below. That wasn’t the case in Sussex though, after a cyclist sustained a broken collarbone after hitting a tripwire strung across a cycle path on Saturday – the third such incident in the area in the past two weeks.
— Alec James (@AEWJ) June 14, 2015
To think that anyone could go out with such malice and actually set up booby traps on cycle lanes is truly sickening, but that’s exactly what has been happening in the area near Brighton, with 49-year-old Darren Gibson the latest victim of the attacks.
Gibson was cycling through woodland terrain when he was forced onto the floor after colliding with the wire, and told The Daily Mirror: “Sadly even if you were going slowly you wouldn’t have seen it. You’re talking about a thin wire. There’s nothing else to see. That’s the worrying thing.
“I knew that there was something trying to hold me back but there was no way I could hold back because I was going too fast. I knew I was coming off so I went into a roll as I went over the handlebars and landed on my shoulder.
“There was a very large fence post with wire attached which had been dragged from one side of the path to the other so the wire as about two feet in the air.
“I’ve broken my collarbone, I’ve got bruised ribs, and my shoulder joints have been smashed about. There’s no way that post could have been there on its own. I’m not saying it’s definitely malicious... but in the light of the other incidents you begin to wonder."
Reports from the area suggest that the attacks could be down to “anti-cycling sentiment", with locals fuelled by anger against cyclists in the media taking matters into their own hands.
One thing is for sure, it’s dangerous as hell, and Brighton-based Transport Initiatives consultant Mark Strong is outraged with the incidents, calling for action against what he sees as "vigilante" action.
“This is just too depressing," he said. “I have feeling this is not ‘just kids’ but someone with a real grudge against people on bikes.
“I suspect this is a person or people wound up by anti-cycling biased pieces on radio and in print.
“Tripwires can be fatal. It is conspiracy to murder. This is at the thin end of a wedge of anti-cycling sentiment."
Police who spoke to Darren Gibson were said to be “very concerned", and are now searching for more hidden wires and traps in conjunction with Brighton and Hove City Council.