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Fishing Line

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These are scanned images of an article published in the Bristol Observer on 10/09/04 about me being garotted by a fishing line across the cyclepath. The text of the article appears below.

The story also appeared in the Bath Chronicle.

Bristol Observer 10/09/04

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'I thought I was going to die' says trip wire cyclist

EXCLUSIVE By Paul McLennan

A cyclist has brandad vandals 'irresponsible idiots' after badly injuring his neck when he rode into fishing line strung across a popular cycle path - SEE FULL STORY ON PAGE 2

A cyclist thought he was going to die when he rode into fishing line tied across a populer bike path, causing lacerations to his neck.

And to his amazement, another lethal snare had been set up the following day in exactly the same place.

The line had been deliberately fastened to trees either side of the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, the main cycle route linking the two cities and used daily by commuters.

Father-of-two Danny Colyer was riding back along the path to his Kingswood home after finishing work at his office in Saltford on Monday.

The 31-year-old software analyst has been a frequent user of the cycle path for more than five years and had never experienced any problems.

But Danny's ordeal began at 5.30pm as he was riding his recumbent bicycle along a stretch of path, between Victoria Road and Poplar Road in North Common.

He said: "It all happened so quickly.

"I was cycling along the path, unaware anything was wrong, when suddenly I felt something tight on my throat.

I managed to brake and out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of the fishing line tied to the trees.

"By that point I thought I was going to die. Although there was no blood, my neck was very sore and I wondered if I had crushed my windpipe.

"At first I thought the line had snapped but then I saw it had simply come undone at one end."

Danny immediately dialled 999 and told the police what had happened. He was also concerned there could be other booby traps further along the path.

Then on Tuesday Danny again used the path to ride back from Saltford to Kingswood. He was shocked when he noticed another length of fishing line tied to exactly the same trees as before.

But this time the line had already been snapped and Danny was able to untie the ends from the trees.

Neck height

He said: "The line that caught me on Monday was at neck height for a recumbent rider, a BMX rider or a child.

"And the line yesterday, which had already been tripped, would have been at neck height for an adult upright cyclist - it would have gone over my head.

"If any reader knows the identity of the idiot who did this, they should tell the police.

"Fortunately the line broke before the skin of my throad did.

"I wonder if the person responsible would have felt better if it had gone the other way and they had possibly deprived two children of their father."

Amazingly, when we met Danny at the path on Wednesday, we were horrified to find a third snare had been strung up.

The path was constructed on the bed of the former Midland Railway which closed for passenger traffic at the end of the 1960s. It was converted to a path between 1979 and 1986.

The 13-mile path is currently open to walkers as well as cyclists and most of it is owned by Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Helene Frankham, a spokeswoman for South Gloucestershire Council, denied the authority had previously been contacted about any such incident on the path. She said: "We do carry out regular inspections of the cycle way and if any obstructions are found, or if anyone calls in to say there is an obstruction, then we will remove it as soon as possible.

"It is very worrying that someone is doing this. We will make sure that staff are aware it is going on."

Wayne Baker, spokesman for Avon and Somerset police, confirmed the incidents had been reported and were being investigated.

He also urged anyone who has seen anything suspicious on the path, particularly in the early evening, to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Bath Chronicle 11/09/04

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Fishing line deliberately strung across Bath to Bristol cycle path causes serious neck injury to rider

Cyclists warned over wire trap

By Emma Cooney

Police are warning cyclists to be vigilant after potentially lethal fishing wire was found stretched across a cycle path.

A cyclist from South Gloucestershire was injured by the wire, which was at neck height across the Bath to Bristol track.

The next night he stumbled across the wire again but it had already been tripped.

Victim Danny Colyer e-mailed a warning to cycling groups in the region to prevent the same thing happening to another unwitting rider.

Bath's Avon Valley Cycles has forwarded the warning to customers and condemned the trap as lethal.

The incident happened at about 5.30pm on Monday in North Common between Victoria Road and Poplar Road, about 20 yards from the Poplar Road bridge on the edge of Bitton.

Mr Colyer's e-mail spread like wildfire across the cycling community and included a picture of his injuries - a red weal across his throat.

The e-mail says: "I was garotted by a fishing line strung across the cycle path. The line was at neck height for a recumbent rider, a BMX rider or a child. The next evening I found a second line tied to the same tree, this time at about neck height for an adult upright cyclist.

"Clearly a fishing line strung across a cycle path ought to be treated as attempted murder, and I fear that someone who has done it twice might just keep trying until they get a result. So watch out."

Long distance cyclist John Atkins, 63, of the Oval, Bath, who also received the e-mailed warning, uses the cycle path regularly.

He said: "Apparently he was not going that fast. It could have been much more serious. A lot of families and children use that path. I think it is appalling someone has done this."

Director of Avon Valley Cycles, Gary Cooper, said: "There have been quite a few incidents along the track, it does seem to be getting worse. This could be lethal."

A spokesman from Avon and Somerset Constabulary said the force was appealing for witnesses.

He said: "We have had a complaint and urge cyclists to be vigilant. If they see anything suspicious like this they should contact the police."

Anyone with information should contact the police on 0845 456 7000.

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