Cyclist attacked on East Liberty Blvd–Memorial Day weekend

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caitlin
Participant
#

Hi all,

A good friend and fellow Bike Pgh Memeber, Justin Andrew (posting here as justin c?) was attacked by teens on east liberty blvd tonight around 10:30pm near Beatty St/Peabody High School.

He is okay–as in his injuries aren’t life threatening–seems like a broken collar bone and maybe more related and similar to that.

You may recall that last year in August, several cyclists were attacked in the same evening in the nearly same location. You may also have heard that this year, in March or April 2010, 2 cyclists were also attacked (punched in the face during rush hour traffic) at East Liberty Blvd and Negley.

I belive Justin Will file a police report. He called an ambulance after getting away from the kids, but I guess a police report isnt always included? He was told to call the precinct (is that zone five then?)….long after the kids will be gone.

So, what do we do about this? I plan to show up at the next few council-to-gos in East Lib/Highland Park with Pat Dowd and make clear that I want to feel safe cycling in my neighborhood. I usually ride with a friend up highland to stanton to avoid ELB shenanigans, but i have heard that recently even she had rocks or soemthing thrown at her there. <strong.When I go to council to go, I want others to come with me. Do you ride east liberty blvd at all? Please let your voice be heard.

Have other ideas? Please share them. East Lib is where I live, and is home to many long time bike pgh supporters. It is only the beginning of summer. How can we change this?


stefb
Participant
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that is a shame. i have no idea what to do. i live in morningside and i like to use the bike lanes at the end of my usual ride. my husband has told me that he doesn’t want me riding over there, especially at night. it really is a shame that i can’t utilize bike lanes because of this reason.

going to dowd is a good idea. more of a police presence may help. or that helmet cam idea from another thread may be a good idea. but not everyone can afford to get one/should have to wear one. but in the event that this happens again, at least there would be proof and maybe the people could be caught.


scott
Keymaster
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Thanks for posting this Caitlin. This is so scary. I think we should organize a take back the night style ride where we just ride up and down ELB and make sure there is a ton of media there. Everyone who has been on this street have just been minding their own business, riding their bikes which is the most fightening aspect of it all.

I can’t help but wonder if the people who attacked him were involved in the murder 15 minutes later at Negley and Rippey?


stefb
Participant
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i am for a take back the night style ride


saltm513
Participant
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I like that idea, Scott. Ugh this super sucks, but I’m super glad Justin’s alright. This area is really sketch. I live nearby and have to ride through it constantly. Such pre-teen mongrels in training have jumped in front of my bike on more than one occasion (during rush hour at that) to give me a good scare. I’m not sure if I am more upset by the fact that this shit happens or at the why behind it. What instigates such genuinely cruel activity?


Nick D
Participant
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Great idea, Scott. I am rarely out that way, but I am definitely down.


caitlin
Participant
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i was thinking of a take back the night style ride too. also, here is some info about upcoiming council to go and zone 5 safety meetings… both of which i am out of town for.

Of course, people are more than welcome to come to Council to Go (next one in Highland Park is this Thursday @ 6:30pm – check the District 7 fb page for all the details), but the most important thing is to get word to the police.

The next Zone 5 Public Safety meeting is Tuesday, June 8th at 7pm at the Union Project. We were told at a recent community meeting that the police had some leads on a group of young teens that have been committing these random acts (not just against bicyclists), and I will be curious if there is an update. I am sure that any information your friend can give will be helpful.


scott
Keymaster
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I’m going on vacation on Friday for a week so if we’re going to do this we should do it soon (Wednesday?) or wait until the week of the 14th. Or you can just do it without me. Advocacy can definitely happen (and should happen) without my presence.


robjdlc
Participant
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I’m in for a ride as well. I’ve never been attacked by bike, but I’ve had kids throw rocks at my car on stanton. I try to avoid driving/riding around there whenever possible.


caitlin
Participant
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I;m gonna be out of town or else i would oganize this. I come back on the 11th, so if nothing has happened by then I will try to do it. I know there are a lot of us who need to use ELB all the time, and who live nearby, as well as those of us who just want to ride without fear of this sort of thing. Are there other locations that this happens in that we should also hit on a ride?

Justin’s going to be off his bike for a while I think…. broken collar bone and scapula.


Lyle
Participant
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Of course I’ll participate if it fits my schedule… wednesdays are good.


Swalfoort
Participant
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Maybe we should contact Mary Robb Jackson? She has recently heard that cyclists get harassed on the road (and seemed to “get it”) but this is tangible evidence. I don’t have any contact information for her, but I know someone associated with the Ride of Silence does.


Lenny
Participant
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Is it possible to ask the police to put up security cameras in this area?? I’ve also rode around this vicinity and have felt quite uncomfortable by getting unpleasant looks and stared at.I purposely try not to look back at them to avoid a confrontation.I try not to bike on E.L.B. and feel much safer driving on that road instead.I get angry though,because these teens and young adults intimidate me and others when I have to take a detour to avoid biking on this road.Lets get security cameras, and signs stating there’s security cameras, on this road!!


TheLivingTed
Participant
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The area could certainly be made safer through improved lighting and such. It just makes me wonder.. what would drive these kids to attack cyclists? Must be emblematic of some kind of frustration or prejudice. It is that prejudice that I think needs to be addressed by the community itself.


scott
Keymaster
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I have Mary Robb’s contact info.


spakbros
Participant
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I think a big part of it is that cyclists are emblematic, in their minds and unfairly of course, of the gentrification that is happening all over the east end. It’s really hard to beat up an idea or big organization but it’s really easy to beat up a vulnerable part of what they percieve to be hurting their community. I can only speak of Garfield personally, but I have daily meaningfull interactions with the youth there and some of them are really frustrated with what is happening around them.

There is a great deal of fear, which manifests into hatred, which then turns into violence. The quick fix is cameras and what not, but the real solution lies in fixing the inequity of the community that the bike lane travels through.

Just my 2 cents……


Nick D
Participant
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Scraper bikes?


BradQ
Participant
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I think you’re giving these kids too much credit for thinking about gentrification… Besides, these were bustling, safe, well kept middle-class communities a mere 50 years ago. Afraid of them going back that way? Tough. No excuse for menacing people.

As for the attack itself, total bummer. I can’t stand the kids I see around my house and the larger neighborhood and the way they treat people. I can’t imagine having been such a shit as a kid.


unixd0rk
Participant
#

i live in highland park and travel though east lib every day. i have had problems at this intersection and several others after school has let out and/or at night while trying to head up beatty toward stanton. kids congregate there. some of them are assholes.

my best advice is that if you have a headlight on and are traveling through these neighborhoods, TURN IT OFF. don’t make yourself a mark and you won’t get screwed with. i also find that a large visible section of chain at the ready around the waist works wonders too. also, if you ride a manual past a group of kids they are more amazed at that than grabbing the nearest chunk of matter that they can huck at you. ;)

that said, why the police are not present and visible enough in the neighborhood to prevent kids hanging out at 10:30 at night from ever THINKING about causing trouble, is a complete mystery to me. i’ve seen groups of like 20 kids walking down stanton and get in a brawl with someone.


unixd0rk
Participant
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@spak: i have definitely had some kid like 8 or 9 years old yell “hey, look it’s a white person in the hood!”, but my response was, “yes, i own a house down the street and have lived here for like 10 years. imagine that, dude.”

i’m sure that these kids aren’t thinking much… if at all. thinking is definitely not “cool”, anymore, it seems. in fact, it’s unbecoming. ;)


jakeliefer
Participant
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I agree with Brad, I put this in the ‘Teenage boys being assholes’ category. Unfortunately, this is a much too common behavior of teenage boys driven by peer pressure and mob mentality. It’s not a class issue or race issue, random violent attacks happen against all kinds of victims, typically whoever happens to be the closest. An example is the beatings of homeless people by teenage boys (‘bumfights’). The perpetrators were middle-class white kids beating up on homeless people, even killing some (http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/19/homeless.attacks/index.html). I don’t think these kids articulated a desire to “take back the community from the homeless.” Rather, peer pressure, boredom, and mob mentality (maybe mixed with alcohol), led to these violent acts. It’s unfortunate and there’s not an easy answer to solve the root problem.

As far as prevention goes though, there are things that we can do to not become another victim. I think many of us can feel like we’ve ‘let them win’ if we take a different route and don’t ride there at night. However, know that by riding on ELB by yourself at night, unfortunately, you’re not sending a message of ‘winning back the streets’, but rather giving these teens an opportunity to commit another violent act against a cyclist.


spakbros
Participant
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Jake, I also agree with the teenage boys being assholes theory. I didn’t say that these kids were trying to take shit back at all and I think that you are getting the wrong impression from my previous post. I was trying to understand why it is geared specifically towards white cyclists on the ELB. I understand attacks happen to all groups but there are underlying factors. This is posted on ntmto and duane was almost attacked and they said, “Sorry, old brother, we thought U was a whitey!”

So why cyclists? Why not cars? Why not old ladies? Those are easy targets as well and I do know that those groups are attacked too, but there seems to be a specific hatred geared towards bikes.

Comparing the kids that did bumfights isn’t an apt comparison either other than those kids had a different set of fears manifesting into violence against a different group that didn’t deserve it. It’s a different set of circumstances.

I am not being an apologist for the kids that are fucking with cyclists. I could just as easily be the next victim.

So what’s the solution? Cops and cameras? That hasn’t really done anything in other areas where it’s been implemented as far as I know (maybe it does). You are absolutely correct about not making yourself a target though. It pays to be prepared for the reality of a given situation and plan accordingly.

Be safe everybody. Much love


Tabby
Participant
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I’m in for a take back the streets ride, or even if it was a recurring event.

I used to ride ELB when I lived over there a couple years ago, luckily I can say I never had an issue (except with a PAT bus that would honk at me and try to run me off the road).

I did have an incident with my car a few times- a group of kids would run out and run over the car at a stop light and keep going.

I think a lot of it is boredom and I do think there is something to be said about the hostility toward the gentrification going on in the area.


CPollack
Participant
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I just made an account here, after being lazy for a year, but i too am down for a take back the streets ride!


Ross
Participant
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“So why cyclists? Why not cars?…there seems to be a specific hatred geared towards bikes.”

It’s not just bikes. I was sitting at the light at the corner of Negley and ELB in my crappy ’95 Civic, and had a pack of young teen boys stand there and pelt the car with crab apples and rocks.

There was really nothing to do but wait for the light to change and move on…fortunately the car is beat up anyway.


Swalfoort
Participant
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I like the idea of taking this issue to the Council to Go meeting on Thursday. I think to be really persuasive, we should document the issues. To do that, we need a recap of the incidents that have occurred.

If folks who have been in an altercation on East Liberty Boulevard (or nearby location) would submit a simple statement on this thread, I’d be happy to compile them into a list that could be handed over to Councilman Dowd.

Ideally, we’d provide him with dates, a summary of the interaction (assault vs. abuse), time of day and a brief summary of the individuals involved (number, age, were they waiting for a bus or just hanging out, etc).


brian j
Participant
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Whoa. Like others, I ride through this area every day.

I think it’s probably important that the ELDI knows about this, too. They would probably be willing to throw their weight behind any initiative, given that they spearheaded quite a bit of real estate investment in that area–it’s hard to sell a $250,000 house in a neighborhood that is perceived as “unsafe.”


mustion
Participant
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Just came back to my home in Highland Park after a weekend out of town, to find that my car’s windshield and one other window had been smashed in over the weekend. The fuckers didn’t take anything (as I had nothing to take – I used to live in DC and learned fast not to leave anything in the car). Nah just smashed them for fun. Probably the same punks who beat up this cyclist. I don’t have the money for this shit, guess I’ll be biking even more now.


caitlin
Participant
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I really encourage everyone to go to the zone 5 safety meeting, next tuesday at Union Project.

I really posted this here so that we can be aware that this is happening (again). At some point last summer I stopped riding ELB in the evenings, because of others posting about violence there.

I totally forgot to send this to ELDI, and I will. thanks for the reminder. I will send it to FDA too. I also posted it on the highland park listserv.

There are any number of reasons the kids did this… The truth is that at this point, no cops, cameras, or anything like that is going to change the lack of respect they have for others, or their lack of compassion. Why bikes? Easy to chase down but still a challenge, a game? Knowing the rider is vulnerable? Could be anything.

Be safe.


dmtroyer
Participant
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sooo. I live here. this is my neighborhood. let me know what I can do.

on the same hand, I REALLY want to engage these kids. how are they being neglected? how can we reach out and give them a full perspective of the people who live in east liberty (which is ever changing) and give them a sense of purpose.

like I said before, I am really committed to the kids in this neighborhood.


asc.pgh
Participant
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This and all the nice stuff happening on North Negley between ELB and the Sunoco by Penn Ave, is my commute route. I too am committed to the neighborhood but I am beginning to feel like Custer on that Sunday morning; the cavalry isn’t going to get their in time, I’ll have to get by on my own or fall short of that.

An entire neighborhood in need of adult supervision or playground monitors.

You are right; no amount of defense can meet the challenge this presents. Someone is going to keep the money for a full-face helmet and kevlar freeride rib vest and defend themselves with equal or greater violence when attacked.

It will be all downhill from there. Lord of the FLies all over again.


brian j
Participant
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Having lived in the area for nearly 30 years (including 20+ in Lincoln-Lemington), these situations tend to be cyclical. Bad Things happen for awhile, then it quiets down for awhile.

It’s also important to realize that stuff like this happens everywhere, not just East Liberty. How many of us have been harassed by students in Oakland? I’ve had my windshield broken in Shadyside (with nothing stolen, so it was purely for entertainment).


dwillen
Participant
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What a horrible situation. In addition to the attack on Justin, a 19 year-old kid walking down the street was shot and killed near this location at 9:30 Sunday night.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10151/1062147-100.stm

I’d be very careful fighting back or breaking out the pepper spray for a group of violent youths. No telling which one(s) of them have firearms.


justinc
Participant
#

Hey.

I just wanted to say thanks for those who have called stopped by and written. I’m feeling ok. Painkillers are a big help. This is my first broken bone. And I like to go big so I made it an even three. left Collar, scapula and one bone in my right hand I hope to attend that meeting on tues the 9th. I’d there’s any way that me showing up somehere in my brace and sling will help get a point across let me know. I hope there can be some good to come out of this.

Anyon can email me if they want to.

Just message me on here and I’ll try to check it as often as I remember!

Thanks again for the support. It really feels good to hear that people care.


caitlin
Participant
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I am really encouraging all concerned to go to the zone 5 meeting, Tuesday June 8th, 7pm at the Union Project to discuss all of the safety issues being brought up in this thread.

This is also my neighborhood and riding negley or elb is my only way in and out most of the time.

And its true, usually a cluster of incidents happen, then it calms down, and then they happen again. If possible, I would not like to see this happen over and over again this year….

And yes, this sort of thing does happen all over town. However, there has been a concentration of it in this area, at least that we know of in relation to cyclists and possibly a group of teens who all know each other.

also, update, Justin did file a police report.


brian j
Participant
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And its true, usually a cluster of incidents happen, then it calms down, and then they happen again. If possible, I would not like to see this happen over and over again this year….

And yes, this sort of thing does happen all over town. However, there has been a concentration of it in this area, at least that we know of in relation to cyclists and possibly a group of teens who all know each other.

Agreed, and sorry if I made it seem like I was blowing off this incident. As I said, both my wife and I regularly ride through this area, and I don’t want to worry about stuff like this all the time. Historically, East Liberty has a bad reputation (which it has, in part earned) and some folks feel like other neighborhoods are completely safe, which we all know isn’t the case.


Swalfoort
Participant
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I will be at the Zone 5 meeting on the 8th. I’ll riding there by bike, but I don’t know precisely where I’ll be starting from. Do we want to identify a meeting point for cyclists? If so, maybe FreeRide? Not too far to ride, has some parking (if needed), and is a known location for most cyclists. Or is that too far out of the way for the Morningside/HP crowd?


rachel_ding
Participant
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I would advise against parking at Free Ride/Construction Junction for the Zone 5 meeting on the 8th, as the gate to the parking lot will probably be locked. The meeting is at 7pm, right?

CJ closes in the early evening, and Free Ride doesn’t have any hours on Saturday evenings, so even if you do park in that lot, your car will most likely get locked in by 7ish.

If you want to meet near Free Ride, there’s street parking in the area..


cburch
Participant
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how about the trader joes plaza? we could all ride down elb to the meeting together. even though i live in morningside i’d be more than happy to ride out just to ride back w/everyone.


justinc
Participant
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I’ll try to find a ride there. I’d love to go.

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