Bristol cycle path: Police increase patrols after attacks

Image caption,
Targeted police patrols will monitor the cycle path

A spate of attacks on a bike path that links Bristol and Bath has led to an increase in police patrols.

Avon and Somerset Police has said it is taking action after complaints of a sexual assault and other physical attacks, theft and a stabbing.

Cyclist Sam Farrell was knocked off his bike by several "youths". He said: "I fractured my collar bone, my shoulder blade and broke six ribs."

Another Bristol cyclist has compiled a map of where the attacks have happened.

The Bristol and Bath Railway path is a popular walking and cycling route along a disused train line between the two cities.

Mr Farrell was heading down Greenbank on 1 December when he was confronted by the young people on either side of the path who tried to steal his bike.

He was knocked off and thrown over the handle bars, landing 3m (10ft) away.

The culprits ran off after seeing two other walkers coming along the path.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Cyclist Duncan Edwards is compiling a list of the worst hotspots of the cycle path

He said: "It's horrible, it's frightening, there is some impact there in terms of making you think about doing those types of things again...but equally I've been up and down that cycle path for 15 years and have never had any problems before."

On 1 December, Avon and Somerset Police arrested a 13-year-old boy on suspicion of sexual assault, which the police said was part of its pro-active approach.

It is also putting a "problem solving plan" into action.

This includes "targeted high visibility patrols and days of action, bike marking days and an increased emphasis on information sharing between Bristol East and South Gloucestershire neighbourhood policing teams, both of which cover the length of the path".

The suspect has been released on police bail while enquiries continue.

Police are encouraging people to report any incidents to them.

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