UPDATE: Harrowing video shows cyclist assault on Guilford Avenue
A video uploaded to YouTube by user Michael Bowman shows a group assault on Bowman as he rode his bicycle north on Guilford Avenue, a designated cycling boulevard. Just after Bowman passes the Copycat Building, there’s a crashing sound, apparently the breaking of a bottle thrown at Bowman, and then a group riding southbound on the street appears to knock him over before taking swings shortly before the video cuts off.
Here’s Bowman’s description:
“Recorded on 4/12/14. Attacked by a group of teenagers on the bike route on the 1600-1700 block of Guilford Ave. You can hear when they threw a bottle at me from behind and then see when I try to grab my lock as a last resort as they started to attack, but dropped it. Grabbed it before they did. Only damage was to my thumb when they stomped it. Took punches, but they must have hit my helmet, because I don’t have any marks. Camera cuts out at the end around this time. On the ground I started yelling “help help help”. Residents started coming out and a distant siren scared them off. Called 911 after and met with an officer a few minutes later.”
The full video is below:
UPDATE: Local bike advocacy group Bikemore (disclosure: the group was founded and is run by my roommate, Chris Merriam) has issued a statement on the attack, quoted in full here:
As we posted earlier today, another person was attacked while riding his bicycle this past weekend on Guilford Avenue in Greenmount West. Attacks like this have been reported sporadically over the past few years — not just on people riding bicycles, but people walking as well — usually along Guilford Avenue and Charles Street between Mount Royal Avenue and 25th Street.
These incidents do not represent the actions of all Baltimore City youth. Many City youth ride bikes for transportation or otherwise get around Baltimore peacefully, and many engage in positive after-school bicycle activities like the Baltimore Bike Experience at Digital Harbor High School and Baltimore Bike Party.
The only way to know what motivated the specific group of youth who appear on the video is to ask them, but we suspect that if Baltimore had more productive adult supervision and more safe places for youth to learn and engage in positive activities, this incident would not have occurred.
Obviously, there must be consequences for assaulting another human being, but we should also use this unfortunate event as an opportunity to teach young people the impact of their actions and address the underlying causes of the assault.
Bikemore is actively engaging with the police and community leaders to ensure the neighborhoods along the Guilford Avenue Bike Boulevard are safe for commuters and residents alike, regardless of one’s chosen mode of transportation. We hope this incident promotes a constructive dialogue about increased after-school and evening opportunities for youth in our city.
If you would like to be part of this dialogue, please feel free to contact us.