MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Private security along with volunteers and extra police patrols are monitoring Minnesota’s busiest bike path after three people were attacked earlier this week in Minneapolis. The Midtown Greenway Bike Coalition is also adding private security until 2 a.m. plus security cameras.
“Prior to these incidents it never even crossed my mind there would be any danger on the route, never crossed my mind,” biker Jim Wheeler said. “Now we are actually looking.”
Around 11 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, police say cyclists were pushed off their bikes by a couple of suspects. They were assaulted and threatened with a gun, taser and a home-made knife. All had their cell phones stolen along with cash and various personal items.
"My wife is pregnant," one victim said. "All I could think about was being able to see my baby."
Officials believe the suspects are using the 18th Avenue ramp because all three victims were targeted between Bloomington and Cedar Avenue.
“Something that stood out to our victims is this was a real warm evening out and our suspects are wearing hoodies,” John Elder, Minneapolis police, said. “Obviously people are attempting to conceal identity.”
Statistically, the greenway is very safe, considering more than a million bikers use it every year with an average of 5,000 per day.
But police are urging cyclists using the greenway after dark to travel in pairs and don't assume you can pedal quickly past someone who looks suspicious. Their best advice is to turn your bike around and call 9-1-1.