Another (near) assault in ELB area

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Noah Mustion
Participant
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Tonight at about 12:30 my girlfriend was biking up Negley when she came upon four black teenagers about 15 y/o, crossing from the “Pennley” complex over to that gas station just north of Penn. When they saw her, they lunged at her and blocked her way, forcing her to stop. She said “what the fuck??” as they taunted her and said “what’s the matter?” – the same kind of shit they said to Justin. She then sped off and one of them, paradoxically the fat one, gave chase momentarily. The whole time, the little hoodlums were laughing. She dialed 911 immediately afterward and when she got home, we got in the car and drove around with a camera, hoping to find them and take a photo to send to you all, and to the police. But no luck – we drove all up into Garfield, all over the ELB area, but nothing. Plenty of people out at this hour, most of whom yelled something at us. We came across several cruisers, who seemed oblivious – we stopped one and asked the cop if he was responding to her 911 call – he was totally confused and looked way past retirement age. Great, I feel safe now. Let’s hope these 911 stats bring what we’re hoping they will, which is…?


stefb
Participant
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i’m sorry. i’m glad she’s ok. i think i posed this in some other thread, but i am NOT pleased that i cannot safely ride my bike to the gym over in bakery square when it is literally a mile away. i have to drive over. it fails.


cburch
Participant
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amazingly we just had this discussion last night when stef wanted to ride to the gym. glad i won the argument, and glad you guys are ok. i forwarded this to dowd to make sure it stays on his radar.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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Thanks dude.

And tonight we’re riding to Free Ride… like gluttons for punishment. We’ll see how it goes.


unixd0rk
Participant
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what i’ve noticed is that when “bike” is mentioned in a 911 call, there is little, if any response. i use “vehicle”. ie: “these kids just ran out into the street in front of my vehicle and threatened to attack me but i got away.”


t
Participant
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Hey when you go over to Free ride tonight, see if you can talk to some of the neighborhood kids that go there.

What?.

no I’m sorry,

Post a link and call Patrick Dowd


Noah Mustion
Participant
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um. what?


CPollack
Participant
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This is just one of those situations where nothing will be done until it’s too late (either someone getting injured very badly/killed.Or someone decides to take the law into their own hands and hurts one of these kids…Then there will be a whole other set of problems..


Noah Mustion
Participant
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CPollack,

That is what I was trying to say before.


Pierce
Participant
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@CPollack I think that kind of goes along with what DannyP was saying

The neighborhoods have been problematic for a long time, it’s just now they’re picking on cyclists, but we’re not in a position to bring about societal change IMO, or we’re not willing to invest the time to make that happen


t
Participant
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What about going into E. Liberty on a Saturday afternoon and setting up a Bike Repair Clinic, maybe in one of the vacant lots right on East Liberty Blvd. Fix some bikes, maybe give away some bikes. Get to know some of these kids. I’d invest some time in that.


cburch
Participant
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we actually talked about this at the ctg meeting. from the feedback i got there it seems like a lot of people were into the idea. we just need someone with the time to organize it. whatever we do in the area, it would be a good idea to try to work with the major taylor club as they are already well connected in the community and will know who we need to talk to about what and add a lot of credibility to our efforts in the community. the suggested locations were the home depot lot, the shady giant eagle lot, outside of performance, right at peabody, the kingsley center or one of the abandoned lots that abound in central east lib.


t
Participant
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I’d be willing to invest some time. These kids live on the lower rungs of society. probably. economically disadvantaged. They’re most likely lashing out at the gentrification that’s taking place in East Liberty. The most obvious symbol of this gentrification being a big ass bike lane through their neighborhood. Take out a road and put in a bike lane so these over privileged white people can ride their damn fool bikes. Where do you suppose these kids got their attitudes about bikes. My guess is there parents bitching about damn fool bikes and the requisitioning of a road in their neighborhood for the specific use of bikes ridden by people who don’t live there. Just a theory. You can call 311 and you can call Patrick Dowd. Or you can try and figure what’s pissing these kids off. Maybe show them bikes are alright, as are those that ride them. Get those kids some bikes, they might relate.


Lyle
Participant
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over privileged white people can ride their damn fool bikes

You think there’s a racial element to these attacks?


brian j
Participant
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From what I’ve heard regarding the bike lane on ELB, people are pissed not because it’s gentrification, but because they lost their mini-highway through that neighborhood. That’s not say some people don’t see the lanes as a symbol of gentrification, but I think the issue is less philosophical than that.


t
Participant
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I would say if you look at the people who are doing the gentrification, they’re mostly white. If you look at the people being displaced they’re mostly black. I tend to view it at some angry kids lashing out. Perhaps someone else has some insight into why kids would be attacking cyclists, all white as far as I know. I’d be glad to here another viewpoint as to why this is going on. Do these kids really just hate bikes? or is there an underlying social factor?


t
Participant
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They lost something, as in, it was taken from them, Who would it appear took it? the most likely target would be the cyclists who use it.


brian j
Participant
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In my experience, yes, there is some racially-motivated crime. Why are white cyclists targeted? Well, because there aren’t many white pedestrians using ELB or Highland Avenue late at night. It’s also important to remember that there’s a lot more crime and violence in that community than is reported by the police. Check out the Zone 5 blotter, and a lot of that is not racially motivated.

I’m sure there are some people who are pissed about gentrification. I would be. But based on the complaints heard by some people with their ears to the street, quite a few people are upset because of the road diet. Perhaps some of these hear their parents complain about this?


erok
Keymaster
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timito, in case you haven’t been following this, or the news, cyclists aren’t the only people getting attacked in East Lib. It’s just getting the most news attention right now.

you know, only about 40% of the residents of EL drive to work.


rsprake
Participant
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I think it could very well be partially racial and partially just kids dicking around.

I remember riding by the Kingsly Center during last years keg ride and the young kids calling the ride racist, and saying things like “look at all the white people on bikes.”

But then there are also kids who throw bricks and buckets of paint on to highways from bridges.

Kids do stupid shit until they get caught doing it. There is only so much work we can do as outsiders.


brian j
Participant
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Kids do stupid shit until they get caught doing it. There is only so much work we can do as outsiders.

Indeed.


t
Participant
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I definitely think the kids are getting ideas from their parents, It seems most of the attackers probably aren’t old enough to drive and no one will buy them a bike. That’s why I propose some sort of community bike day, Like I said I know there’s good kids there, I’ve met them.

Give away and fix some bikes, right where this bullshit is happening. I think it’s a better idea then riding over there and smashing in faces, which I’ve considered.


t
Participant
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Kids get caught and they still do stupid shit, some of them do stupid shit until they die or get thrown in prison, where most of them continue to do stupid shit. Education makes a difference, change there attitudes, they’re behavior will change.


t
Participant
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I realize others besides cyclists get attacked in EL but the only time I’m there I’m on a bike, so that would be my concern. Only about 40% of people in EL drive to work? I think only about 40% have jobs.


t
Participant
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I don’t consider myself an outsider, I’m in East Liberty several times a week, I have friends there.


rsprake
Participant
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You don’t consider yourself one. But unless you grew up there you are most likely considered one.


Lyle
Participant
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MTCC and VO did a community bike day at the Kingsley Center just last week (I think, maybe it was the week before).


cburch
Participant
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probably the best thing we can do as a group is offer our time and energy to help them do more of those and help staff them.


t
Participant
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@rsprake, I’m considered an outsider wherever I go, arguing semantics seems a bit off topic, as an outsider I have no idea what MTCC and VO are?


caitlin
Participant
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timito, I live in east liberty, and have their latest community demographics report about employment, income, race, etc in my house at home. Your assumption that only 40% of us have jobs is incorrect. Many of us work near to where we live, and many people of low income levels take the bus. the person attacked on ELB was attacked by kids who were on bike.


caitlin
Participant
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MTCC= major taylor cycling club and VO= venture outdoors, two large get-outside-learn-have fun orgs in Pittsburgh. where do you live that you consider yourself an outsider but make so many assumptions?


t
Participant
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I believe I made one assumption, pertaining to the rate of employment. The cyclists attacked were white, the attackers black, this is not an assumption. I think also the cyclists didn’t live in the neighborhood and the attackers most likely do. This IS an assumption, though I believe it correct. Cyclists are getting attacked. Why? I think to reach an answer to this question a certain amount of assumptions are going to be made. Pardon me If I make a few, or perhaps even some generalizations or, god forbid an incorrect, impertinent aside.


rsprake
Participant
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Not arguing, just assuming what the neighborhood thinks of newcomers.


88MS88
Participant
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^+1 for PMTCC. As a new member who’s been riding with them a couple of months now I can tell you that these are a super cool bunch of folks. They’re doing a gentle ride out of the new Performance store at 7:30pm Friday, June 18th. Come out and join the fun.

I love being an ‘outsider’. It gives me the opportunity to learn new things and meet new people. Much of which would not happen without my two wheeled friend.

Ride on!

The (Friday night) route will include the East Liberty Blvd bike lane, Highland Park and Frankstown Ave.


t
Participant
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I know what they think of newcomers, some of them anyways, they’re attacking them as they ride through on bikes.


ejwme
Participant
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I think pittsburgh in general has a rather restrictive view of what constitutes “local”. I’ve lived here for 27 of my 30 years. I get asked _every_ time I meet another born/raised “real” local “you’re not from here, are you?” True, I have no yinzer accent, I don’t care about sports teams, I don’t drink Bud or IC (or anything, for that matter). But I know some parts of town well enough to navigate in my sleep, I can quote Paulsen and Kren(sp?) from the 80s, I remember when Quinn from when he was sane and WRRK played classic rock, I give “Pittsburgh directions” (turn where the wendy’s used to be, you can’t get there from here but if you cross the river…). I’m an outsider within three sentences of meeting a “real” local.

I’m a 27 year veteran at being a newcomer. I’m not saying you are timito, just that in Pittsburghese, the word has a perplexing twist I’ll never understand. Some people are locals within 5 minutes of walking in. Some were born “foreign” right at Magee’s. Maybe it’s just me. But I’ve heard the same from other long-time residents.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Another angle: Sometime in the last week or so, somewhere else on this board, one white girl was relating how her black roommate was reading a book called “Things White People Like”, or some such, and listed in it was riding bicycles.

Go to any of our rides and look at ourselves. Why is it that we are so white? Sure there are plenty of single-digit-young black kids on bikes, but they turn 14-ish, they stop riding. Where are the black commuter cyclists? Where are the swarms of two-wheeled black twentysomethings of either gender?

Is it money? Can they not afford to get decent road bikes once they outgrow the 16″ single-speeds they had as small children? If so, then timito is on to something.

Is it education? How many of us white folks on bikes have at least one college degree? Do you really need a college degree to ride a bike?

Is it fear? Do they fear black-on-black crime, of themselves getting the crap beat out of them by the same punks that have been terrorizing us of late?

I could go on (poor health, no wanderlust, etc.). But it somehow seems cultural, something that’s engraved or ingrained, that once you become an adult-sized black person, you stop riding a bike.

All of the above are assumptions, of course, but I haven’t seen it discussed yet.


Tabby
Participant
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Stu your points about education and culture really resonate with me. I grew up with my professional father biking to work (occasionally) because he *wanted* to. He enjoyed it and I learned by his example that bikes aren’t just for kids and people who either can’t afford a car or lost their lisence to DUI. I didn’t learn about that more negative bike connotation until much later.


dwillen
Participant
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Looking at the photos in the blast from the past thread, I think many of us, myself definitely included, are, or were at some time, giant dorks. I suspect riding a bike isn’t considered “cool” in many cultures, not just for kids in the East End. I’m glad some of us just don’t care how cool we are.

You get a little of this vibe when you roll through the South Side at 10 pm on a Friday night. The drunken frat boys do their best to tease us, as if we’re in high school or something. There is no shortage of “hey look, a biker gang, hahahahahah!” and “Lance!” with plenty of pointing and such. I get the same thing from the hick in a pickup truck that yells “get a car!”. They all view biking as stupid, silly, or something for the dorks to do.

Fortunately, I think this view of cycling is changing everyday. As cycling becomes more mainstream, I think such words and acts aimed at cyclists will be fewer and fewer. At least that is my hope.


Pierce
Participant
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+3 for Dwillen

When I was in high school I was the only regular cyclist to school. All my peers either drove, rode the bus, or walked. Irregardless of race, riding a bike was considered lame.

I also regularly see older African American men riding bikes. I can’t say I’ve encountered swarms of white twentysomethings outside of CM, and even then they seemed to be all from the leftist wing of Pittsburgh, not people in the mainstream.

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