Cyclists ask city for help after woman attacked near West Seattle trail

SEATTLE – Despite the lovely weather Saturday, cyclists in one Seattle neighborhood are on high alert after one of their own says she was attacked Thursday night.

The incident happened under the Spokane Street Bridge in West Seattle, but cyclists say this isn’t isolated.  Now they want the city to do more to clean up what they say has become a dangerous trail.

“It’s dark and it’s wet,” said cyclist Jackie Harris.

That’s how cyclist Jackie Harris described her bike ride here under the Spokane Street Bridge in West Seattle Thursday night around 8:30.

“That’s a trail I’ve been riding consistently for over ten years,” said Harris.

But this time she says someone jumped out of the shadows.

“He stopped right in front of my bike and so I had to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting him.  He then came to my left side and he was muttering incoherently. I didn’t know what he was trying to tell me. And that’s when I ducked out of his reach and I rode my bike as fast as I could out of there,” said Harris.

She escaped without injury but with plenty of fear.

“This area is fairly deserted in the evening and night except for the homeless encampment so it’s very intimidating,” said Don Brubeck with West Seattle Bike Connections.

Don Brubeck with West Seattle Bike Connections says the area continues to slowly deteriorate.

“There are rats going across the paths all the time and trash fires and burning plastics,” said Brubeck.

“I’m seeing more of what I think of as dangerous garbage so broken glass and needles,” said Harris.

Jackie and Don say all thanks to a growing homeless encampment.  They say there are no trash cans, no porta pottys, and few lights.

“The place where this incident occurred is under a low overpass and that place is just pitch dark and we started reporting the lights out there in the beginning of winter. So it’s been three months or more,” said Brubeck.

So they’re asking the city to step-up, light-up the trail, clean-up this encampment or at least help those living there to increase public health and public safety.

“This is the only way to ride a bike for most people from West Seattle to get into or out of West Seattle to downtown or SoDo or other places,” said Brubeck.

Jackie says she’ll stick to riding in the roads instead of the trail until the city makes some changes to the conditions there.  Jackie says her attacker was a black male between 40 to 50 years old who appeared to be a transient who was either on drugs or mentally disturbed.