Saturday 21 September 2019

'Sinister' thieves forcing riders into ditch on mountain roads and stealing high-end bikes

Stock photo
Stock photo

Gabija Gataveckaite

Cyclists are being warned to remain vigilant after reports of bikes being forcefully stolen from people on a popular Dublin cycling route.

Dublin Cycling Group said it had noticed a "pattern emerging" in bicycle thefts in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains.

The group has received several reports of bikes being forcefully stolen from solo cyclists along the route.

Some cyclists have also reported their phones being stolen.

Gardaí are investigating one such report of a bicycle theft on Saturday at Sally Gap junction, a cycling route through the mountains.

The male cyclist was travelling alone when it is understood two men in a car drove at him and forced him into the ditch.

The pair got out of the car and took the man's bike, a red and white Trek 1.7, from the scene. The cyclist received minor injuries during the incident.

"There seems to be a bit of a pattern emerging," Dublin Cycling Group spokesperson Kieran Ryan told the Irish Independent. "Ripping someone off a bike is a terrifying experience. They seem to be targeting people on high-end road bikes and then stealing their phones, maybe so they can't contact gardaí.

"But it's pretty sinister if someone was injured after being run off the road and couldn't call for help if their bike was stolen."

The group has called for additional Garda presence in the area as the route through the Dublin and Wicklow mountains is very popular with cyclists.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, local Sinn Féin councillor Dermot O'Brien expressed his concern.

"It's horrendous to think that this may be planned but even if this is done on a whim, it's a horror story," he said.

"Cyclists already have to be wary of their safety on the roads and the challenges it poses, but now they also have to be looking out for somebody that may be out to consciously harm them."

He added that this may put cyclists off riding that route.

He said a joint committee meeting would take place between An Garda Síochána and local councillors early in September and he expected this issue to be raised.

According to the councillor, there have also been reports of cars parked nearby being broken into over recent months.

"It seems that there is a targeting of scenic car parks if they know people park their car and go hiking," he said.

"Working with gardaí, we will do our best to make people feel safe."

Irish Independent

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