Life on bikes

I was bike-jacked and caught the thief

This is the extraordinary story of a biker who endured the horror of a bike-jacking but refused to be beaten. She helped capture a bike thief but afterwards had to live with the fear of being attacked again. We spotted her riding her solution, the Rainbow Warrior, at a recent motorcycle theft protest ride. What follows is her story, in her own words.

I am a small female and a Scooterist of old (although less active on the scene in recent years) and have historically ridden every day (snow and ice permitting). I work odd shifts and rely on two wheels to get me about, to that end I had always chosen a modern Vespa – a nod to my roots but with the comfort/security of the reliability, bigger engine, greater stability and proper breaks that the new GTS’s offer.

I was riding my GTS through North London on a sunny Sunday afternoon when I noticed three mopeds, all two-up approaching from behind me.

One of the mopeds pulled up to my right – I glanced over initially thinking he his going to cut in front of me when the lights changed and was just thinking I’ll hold back and let them go on their way, but on looking I realised that the pillion was only wearing a balaclava.

A quick glance around revealed that the other two pillions were also only wearing balaclavas. I remember thinking they were up to no good, but at the same time, I did not imagine I would be the target on a fairly busy high road in the middle of the afternoon, how wrong I was…

Within moments of contemplating my possible predicament, one of the mopeds had pulled in front of me and the other close up on my left.

The pillion from one was off and shoving me and my scooter to the ground. Despite being a little disorientated I realised one of the attackers was in-front of me as I was laying on the ground and I managed to grab and hold onto his ankle.

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I could see the other pillion riders milling around my scooter trying to get the keys and get it upright. Despite still being on the floor I wanted to distract them and draw the attention of the people around to the situation, so I managed to kick out at the back wheel of the moped to my left causing it to fall from under the rider waiting to make his getaway.

Very soon after, I became aware of two cyclists to my right. One of them had taken hold of the attacker whose ankle I was still hanging on to.

The other attackers at this point seemed to give up on the theft of my scooter and started to make their getaways, abandoning mine and the one that I had kicked over. One of the attackers apparently crashed into the cyclists to my right causing one of them to release the attacker that I had originally caught by his ankle but allowing the 2nd cyclist to grab and detain him.

At this point, I managed to scrabble up, get my scooter keys and call the police. They were fairly quick to arrive having been called to the area about 15 mins earlier following a mobile phone grab by a gang on mopeds.

The 2nd cyclist, it turns out, was a retired police officer and was only too happy to use “appropriate force” to detain the attacker that he caught.

Once the police arrived, it was found that the gang member that we had caught was carrying the mobile phone that had been stolen earlier. Banged to rights, we thought!

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I was very shaken and reluctant to ride home alone. The police were unable to either provide an escort or take my scooter back for me, so I flagged down a gent on a GTS and he willingly escorted me home. I have not ridden the scooter since.

Following the attack I had to take two weeks off work – I was still in shock and struggled to leave my house.

I had lost all confidence in riding my scooter, I suffered mild panic attacks in when out and about and in any situation where I felt “penned in”. I also suffered a combination of anger and depression as a result of feeling my life as I knew it had been dramatically changed as a result of not being willing or comfortable to ride my scooter anymore.

Many of my friends said I should just get back on the scooter but I knew that I would not be able to ride safely and confidently while feeling like a target and forever watching behind me.

I then decided to find a scooter that the bike-jackers would not be interested in. When I saw the advert for the ‘Rainbow Warrior’ I borrowed the asking price from friends and the bank and bought the multi-coloured thing.

Bike-jacked
The Rainbow Warrior in all it’s colourful, thief deterring glory

It’s not a pleasure to ride, the gears are clunky, the wheels are smaller and thinner, and it feels less secure (especially in the wet) but I don’t ride in fear of being attacked!

I Joined the protest ride and decided to put a sign on the scooter saying that I had been bike jacked to raise awareness amongst bikers and the public alike. It’s a real issue and could happen to anyone, I had read reports in the papers and online before it happened to me and had thought that they were very isolated incidents and seemed to be in dodgy parts of town, mostly late evening, but my experience proved me very wrong!

The gang member we caught turned out to be a juvenile and obviously didn’t offer any of the names of his friends. So he went to court on his own to face charges associated with the mobile phone theft, the attempted theft of my scooter and the assault of my cyclist rescuer.

He was found guilty of the attempt to rob me of my scooter (I wasn’t updated regarding the other charges) and was sentenced later at Stratford Court – 10 days of Youth Offending Team prescribed activities Electronic monitoring curfew 20:00 – 07:00 daily for three months and attend supervisory appointments as required…

I was also awarded £50.00 compensation that he may or may not pay – I am not holding my breath!

Get yourself sorted:
This is clearly one tough woman but was lucky on this occasion. We don’t advocate tackling bike jackers. Read our advice on what to do if you are bike-jacked.

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