South Africa

Cyclists warned over spate of attacks

Cyclists have raised the alarm over their safety as word spreads of several attacks and robberies by criminals who target cyclists.

Freddy Strydom, a 57-year-old cyclist, was left fighting for his life after he was brutally stabbed in the back by criminals who stole his bicycle.

Strydom was cycling with a group of 12 when he was attacked between the R21 and M18.

On November 11, another attack was made on a cyclist on Main Road in Irene, as the rider was crossing the river.

Stay Wider of the Rider initiative warned cyclists on November 12 of reports of attacks on cyclists in Pretoria east, Midrand and Johannesburg North.

“Please avoid the area between Irene, and Red Barn towards the R21. Over the weekend, numerous hijackings of cyclists in those areas. Please spread this info to all clubs, cycling groups and cyclists,” the organisation said in a statement on its Facebook page.

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Stay Wider of the Rider has shared this map on November 12, marking the sites of recent attacks.

Dominic Cullinan, owner of the Big Red Barn, a popular cycling spot, told Rekord he was worried about the attacks.

He said while there had not been an attack at Red Barn, cyclists often used the site as a landmark on long outrides.

“Over the past few months, there have been several bikejackings within a 10km radius of the barn. The targets of these bikejackings have been mountain bikers on outrides heading out towards the east.”

Cullinan said there was an attack near the site on November 11.

“To my knowledge, this has been the first such attempt on this road.”

He said many cyclists had taken to riding in large groups, but that did not deter criminals.

He added that they were taking steps to drastically increase security in the area.

“The perimeter fence has been secured and is monitored daily.

“I have added extra security/spotters on the perimeter fence. These spotters will have immediate and direct access to our local security company, for quick and preventative action.

“Currently, I would strongly advise that you drive to the barn until the local CPF and police have brought the situation under control,” he said.

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