St Albans park cyclist ‘terrified me’ says dog walker

PUBLISHED: 06:48 28 June 2013

Verulamium Park

Verulamium Park

Archant

A SHAKEN dog walker claims she is scared of returning to Verulamium Park after encountering a “threatening” cyclist who reduced her to tears after she tried to tell them to slow down.

Josephine Evans was walking her two dogs on Tuesday morning when a cyclist dressed in goggles and a helmet reportedly sped over a bridge on the cycle path near King Harry Lane.

She pointed out they should not be cycling over the bridge, especially at such a great speed. The rider then skidded to a halt and cycled back to the top of the cycle path so Josephine would have to walk past them.

They then stared at her as she walked by from about a foot away, an experience the St Albans resident described as so threatening it was “like something out a movie”.

She said: “They looked like some kind of Darth Vader. As I walked past I felt like I was going to be hit, I was absolutely petrified. My knees went.”

“I got to the top and ran all the way home. I was so frightened somebody stopped to come to my aid because I was so scared. Anybody who knows me will say I’m not a scaredy cat.”

Despite regularly walking in the park since she moved to the district in 1985 she said the incident has put her off ever wanting to go back.

“I’ve never felt like that in St Albans in all my life. I felt that they might have followed me.

“If it had been at night I don’t know what I would have done. I thought they were going to confront me.”

Josephine said she spoke to the cyclist because people are not obeying signs and dismounting from their bikes to walk over the bridge.

“I think cycling is marvellous but they [cyclists] just don’t obey the rules. Perhaps they’d like dog walkers to walk in the street or the road?

“I wasn’t horrid. I wasn’t abusive. I am a fair and just person. I just said you shouldn’t ride over the bridge to the person.”

She added something is going to happen in the park if people keep ignoring regulations.

The dog owner said the council were sympathetic to what happened but she does not know what they could do to help: “How are you going to identify somebody who’s wrapped up like Darth Vader?

“I’m never saying anything to another cyclist again. I don’t want to go to that park again.”

The council were unable to comment fully on the incident but Richard Shwe, head of community services at the district council, confirmed that cyclists should dismount at the bridge and walk, as it is the end of the cycle path.

He added: “A sign making this clear was recently stolen and having checked today, we see that the temporary signage, put in place as a stopgap measure, has also disappeared. These signs will be replaced.”


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