Friday, August 20, 2010
Baltimore Bike Attacks
This morning I received an email from my dad with a link to the Baltimore Sun article "Police probe attacks on bicyclists in Charles Village."
Here's an excerpt:
[The city's pedestrian planner Nate Evans] said in an interview that he has picked up on "a pattern of attacks on cyclists" in recent weeks in blocks bordered by North and Guilford avenues and Charles and 25th streets. He's heard many of the stories at meetings as he plans a bike route on Guilford.
"It sounds like in a couple of the attacks, the victims were overcome by a number of assailants," he said. Most occurred on the evening commute, between 5:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
Great. I haven't talked about it much here on BaltimoreDIY, but I will be moving from the north side of town to the east side. Basically the bike attack area would be part of my daily commute.
I have told my dad that I will drive more from now on.
What can you do? I like to imagine all sorts of ways to respond to crime, but when actually faced with imminent danger, I'm not sure what I would do.
Yesterday a group of kids were throwing rocks at bikers on Old Falls Road. One of them walked out into the middle of the road directly into my bike path, trying to mess with me. I made the mistake of actually engaging with the kids and trying to talk to them, and quickly learned that was a bad idea. They lapped up the attention and loved the drama. As I continued home, I watched as they threw another rock at a passing cyclist.
A few bikers had stopped up the road and were talking to each other about the situation. One of them said he had called 911. I didn't say anything to him, but personally I wasn't a big fan of that solution. It's not exactly a great use of tax dollars, and it made me feel weak.
The kids would benefit from an authority figure that's NOT the police keeping them in check, but that's really an argument larger than the situation at hand.
Calling the police can help in some situations, but bike attacks are not the top priority in a city with so much deadly violence. It's a drain on the police force, and there should be ways that people can deal with their own safety.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the issue.
Interestingly enough, I just found out that Dan Rodricks wrote about a pretty much identical situation happening on Tuesday this week.
The top photo appeared on a Google Image search of the words "Baltimore Bike Crime." It was taken by photographer Patrick Smith. Smith grew up in Baltimore but now lives and works in Utah. I am now a huge fan! You can see his work on his website and Flickr page.
Posted by AlizaEss