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Grabbed from her bike and beaten near beachfront

Crime & Courts
Durban - A cyclist, who was pushed off her bicycle and dragged down a flight of steps on a popular beachfront cycle route, is calling on police to step up visibility to deter criminals.

The woman, who declined to be named, was rescued by a brave motorist who came to her aid during the recent attack.

She said she shuddered to think what would have happened to her if the motorist had not seen the two men attacking her.

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A female cyclist was injured on a cycling route recently. She is due to undergo surgery to repair ligaments on her right knee.

She suffered serious injury to her leg and is to undergo surgery to repair ligaments in her right knee at the end of this month.

The woman, who normally rides with her partner, decided to ride along the Durban promenade when her harrowing ordeal unfolded.

“It was after the long weekend in March and the weather was perfect.

“I never go out alone. I usually ride with my partner, but I was feeling a little braver on the bike so I went out. I saw that there were other people around,” she said.

She was riding along the M4, heading north on the Ellis Brown Viaduct, when she saw two men standing at the end of the bridge.

“I did not think anything and I rode by them. As I went past, one of the guys grabbed me and I kicked back with my right leg. He pushed me back and I fell on my back. I had my helmet on and they grabbed my backpack.

“The men grabbed me down the stairs and I screamed for my life and tried to kick them off.

“By this point, I had envisioned the worst. I really thought this was the end of me,” the woman recalled.

She said she heard a voice from up on the bridge and looked up to see Andy Craig, a local businessman.

Craig, who had seen the men accost her, rushed to her aid and the assailants fled the scene.

The woman said she was extremely grateful to Craig, who had deviated from his regular route to work that particular morning.

She is now calling on cyclists to ride in groups.

“I want people to be aware that cyclists are seen as soft targets. Police need to step up patrols, especially during holiday periods when people will be drawn to the promenade for a morning ride.

“There are also bushy areas along the route that need to be cut down so there are no places for opportunistic criminals to hide,” she said.

Less than two weeks later, another cyclist was attacked and robbed of his bicycle. According to police, the cyclist was accosted by two men at the intersection of Mackeurtan Avenue and the Virginia Circle.

“The incident took place at around 4.30am. One of the attackers was armed with a knife.

“The men made off with the man’s bike which is believed to have cost R90000. No arrests have been made as yet,” a police official said.

Captain Nqobile Gwala, provincial police spokeswoman, urged cyclists to ride in groups and not alone.

“There are officers from the visible policing unit who conduct constant patrols in these areas. They work flexible hours so there can be members in the area during the shift change,” Gwala said. She declined to comment on cyclists being seen as easy targets.

Daily News

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