Whittier cyclists under attack; female rider severely beaten in most recent assault

A 19-year old woman was severely beaten after being knocked off her bike on a Whittier bike path.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the attack took place on Wednesday around 10:30 pm on the Greenway Trail, a Class 1 off-road bike path between Painter and Greenleaf Avenues when three or four men in dark clothing pushed her off her bike. Her attackers then punched her repeatedly in the face and body, and may have kicked her, as well.

Authorities report she suffered injuries to her face, teeth, hands and elbows, as well as losing consciousness for a period of time; she was reportedly awake when police and firefighters arrived on the scene, and was transported to a local hospital.

The suspects fled when other people approached. Police say she was not robbed and the motive for the attack is unknown.

However, KTLA reports that there have been at least three other attacks in the same pathway in the past month. In one case, a man was able to fight off an attacker who tried to steal his bike, while a 16-year old boy was arrested for allegedly grabbing another man and demanding his money; no information was available on the other attack.

These cases are reminiscent of the reports of attacks on cyclists riding along the Ballona Creek bike path a few years back, and point out the inherent problem with off-road bikeways.

While they can offer a pleasant respite from the headaches and risks of riding busy streets, they are often largely isolated and hidden from public view, providing secluded areas where criminal activity may occur.

And most are rarely, if ever, patrolled by police.

In fact, when cyclists tried to report the Ballona Creek attacks, 911 operators and police officers reportedly had difficulty even identifying where the bike path was and who had jurisdiction in order to respond.

Fortunately, the Ballona attacks proved to be the rare exception, rather than the rule on that pathway, though the reports circulated widely enough that many cyclists still express reservations about riding there.

Hopefully, this latest, unidentified victim will recover from her injuries — both physical and emotional — and get back on her bike soon.

And greater enforcement will improve safety for everyone on Whittier’s Greenway Trail.

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