Just a few weeks after a honk-happy Colorado driver was arrested for harassing two cyclists on an open road in Longmont, another bike rider has been victimized -- this time on a path with no cars.
A barbed wire trap on a trail in South Platte Park threw a woman off her bike on Sunday in a mishap that left her injured and damaged her bike.
At around 6 p.m. on Sunday, the cyclist, Jacquie Carpenter, was riding on the Mary Carter Greenway Trail in South Platte Park about two blocks north of Mineral Avenue when she hit a wire strung from one side of the trail to the other. The wire was about a foot off the ground tied to two signs -- and Carpenter did not see it until she hit it, according to Kim Ferber, a commander with the Littleton Police Department.
"She did collide with the wire and was thrown from her bicycle," Ferber says. "She was injured and the bike was damaged."
This kind of bizarre trap is unique in her experience, she says.
"This is the first time I have ever heard of something like this," says Ferber, adding that she has worked with the Littleton Police Department for seventeen years. Neither has she heard of a similar incident at any of the local off-road trails like South Platte.
Last year, however, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department reported an apparent bike-rage incident in advance of the Deer Creek Challenge race. In that case, tacks were strewn in several places where cyclists commonly ride.
The Mary Carter Greenway Trail is used for cycling, walking, roller-blading and other recreational activities. While cycling accidents are on the rise in metro Denver, the off-road trails are generally regarded as safe, family-friendly paths for more leisure use.
It doesn't appear the woman felled by the wire experienced serious bodily injury, Ferber says, but she characterizes damage to her bike as "relatively substantial.
"We were very surprised by it and taken back," Ferber notes about the incident. "We have a lot of people that really enjoy riding, bicycling, walking, running...rollerblading [on the path].... We just have not experienced incidents like this. We are pretty shocked. We take it really seriously -- potentially, she could've been seriously injured."
The woman was wearing a helmet and bicycle gloves at the time, Ferber says. "Her protective gear was so important in this instance."
Police officials are investigating the matter and are already following up on some calls they have received from local residents, some of whom believe they saw people who may have been involved, Ferber says. Additionally, police are organizing patrols with South Suburban Parks and Recreation.
Because there is a lot of traffic on the trail, it's likely the wire was put up fairly shortly before the woman collided with it. After the crash, Ferber says, Carpenter was helped by nearby cyclists, and in the process, the wire was discarded. For that reason, investigators have not seen the wire and are not sure exactly of its exact description.
If individuals are apprehended, they could face a range of charges, from reckless endangerment, to assault, to criminal mischief, Ferber adds.
In the meantime, "we really want to encourage people to continue to use [the trail]," Ferber says. "I would say this is isolated."
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Here's a 9News report on the incident.
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