Brick-tossing teens have turned a major cycling route through a public housing project in Fort Greene into death trap, injuring or terrorizing at least six cyclists — one seriously — in a spate of attacks this year.
The attacks are launched from the maroon-colored pedestrian bridge that links the Walt Whitman and Ingersoll houses between Myrtle Avenue and Tillary Street.
In the most violent crime, the attackers pelted a computer programmer from Park Slope in the face with a brick, cracking his helmet and ripping a gash in his cheek on Aug. 12.
“It’s shocking unwarranted violence,” said the victim, Stephen Arthur, whose injuries were first reported by Gothamist, a blog. “This is a dangerous spot — something needs to be done.”
The brick busted his teeth and knocked him off his bike, requiring emergency surgery. The physical wounds have healed, but the mental scars linger; Arthur said that he has had trouble sleeping and has given up cycling, which he used to do every day.
“I don’t think my life will ever be the same,” he said.
The footbridge is a cowardly sadist’s dream: It sits above a well-used bike route that links Fort Greene and points south with the Manhattan Bridge, has a mesh cover that hides the perps, and is fenced off from the street, providing an easy get-away route.
“It’s definitely deliberate — but I don’t think it’s a ‘community vs. bikers’ thing,” said Yana Walton, who was hit with a fist full of rocks at the same location. “It’s a bunch of bored kids.”
Cyclist Erik Martig, who was grazed by a golf ball, confronted the teens who threw it, but the thugs got away.
“This could kill someone,” he said. “It’s like they think this is a video game or something.”
Other cyclists report being whacked with beer bottles, apples and water balloons at the same spot — although it’s unclear whether the same group of teens was involved in those attacks.
Police said that reports of violence have dwindled as the cold weather has reduced bicycle commuting, but cops are still hunting the attackers.
“We are working with the housing complex to increase patrol near the footbridge,” a spokeswoman for the 88th Precinct said.Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cn
Is this a widespread problem, cyclists?
©2011 Community News Group