British Cycling has acknowledged concerns about the number of violent bikejackings by moped-riding criminals across south London in recent months, saying it hopes to help police bring the spike under control in the same way a spate of incidents in Richmond Park was tackled back in the autumn.
In an update to members, policy manager Nick Chamberlain said riders and clubs should "think carefully about the rides they have planned", first report any incidents to the police, but also to British Cycling's incident helpline.
Mr Chamberlain also added that while it is "unclear to what extent, if any" the role of online training and tracking apps have played a part in the crimes, he would encourage riders to be "mindful of their privacy settings on all electronic devices."
Multiple incidents across south London
Last weekend, two cyclists in Orpington were threatened and robbed of their bikes, just days after a road.cc reader had told the frightening story of narrowly escaping an attempted mugging while riding alone along Layhams Road near West Wickham.
The reader reported being told "give us the bike or we stab you" but managed to delay the attack long enough for another group of cyclists and a driver to arrive, prompting the moped-riding offenders to flee.
Up until recently incidents tended to involve lone female riders being targeted, such as when a female cyclist was held down and their bike taken during a robbery by two men in April.
In response, cycling clubs across south London had warned members to only ride in groups, and more recently former Scottish champion Jennifer George — who finished eleventh in the recent British time trial championships — repeated the warning having been attacked on two separate occasions since April.
"The last thing any of us would wish is to deter people from cycling"
In British Cycling's comments on the ongoing problem, the governing body said it is "extremely hard to discuss these sorts of issues without causing panic" but "the last thing any of us would wish is to deter people from cycling this summer through a fear of being attacked."
"The sad reality however is that when these spikes in violent crime occur, and while we try to understand the pattern of incidents better, it is prudent for individuals, clubs and groups to discuss these concerns together and think carefully about the rides they have planned," policy manager Chamberlain continued.
"As with the incidents that occurred in Richmond Park last year, we know that by working together as a cycling community to quickly pass relevant information to the police we can support them to quickly and effectively tackle the issue.
"Therefore, if any incident of this sort (including threatening behaviour that stops short of a crime being committed) occurs to you, your club or group, please report it to the British Cycling incident helpline after first informing the police so that we can better understand the scale of the problem.
"It is unclear to what extent, if any, the role of online training and tracking apps have played a part in these crimes or whether it is rather specific locations that are popular with local riders that are being targeted. However, we would encourage everyone to be mindful of their privacy settings on all electronic devices."
Richmond Park offences
In October a spate of similar incidents unfolded in Richmond Park. Pro rider, and recent third place at the British road race championships, Alexander Richardson was knocked off his bike and dragged for 100 metres by a gang wielding a machete.
The shocking incident came less than 24 hours after the owner of a 2021 Cannondale System Six was pushed off his bike by two men on an electric scooter and wearing balaclavas, who then made off with it.
Later in the month a 16-year-old was arrested in connection with the bikejackings and was charged with an unrelated offence.
"This issue highlights the importance of adequately resourcing road policing"
"Since being alerted to this latest spate of incidents we have raised the issue once more with the relevant police forces and Transport for London to highlight known flashpoints and urge them to take swift action to protect and reassure local riders," Mr Chamberlain's statement explained.
"With the data available to them police forces across the country are now better equipped to respond to such incidents, and we continue to share information we receive from members to support the response process.
"We will also use this information to ensure that our members are kept abreast of spikes in cases through updates like this.
"Colleagues working in the region will be contacting clubs to arrange a further discussion about mitigation measure that we can consider. This conversation will aim to ensure that as many people as possible across the local cycling communities are aware of the danger.
"This issue also again highlights the importance adequately resourcing road policing to keep people on bikes safe – something which we have campaigned on over a number of years, and will continue to do so."
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.