Warren councilman says about 10 people are interested in being on bike patrol

Staff report


About 10 people have contacted Warren Councilman John Brown, expressing an interest in forming a new Warren Bike Patrol to monitor the Warren Greenway Bike Trail through the city.

Two Warren City Council committees had a joint meeting Monday to discuss the idea with bicycling enthusiasts.

Brown said the volunteer bike patrol would serve as “bike-trail ambassadors” who would talk to bike-trail users and answer questions.

They also would observe inappropriate bike-trail use, such as littering, dangerous behavior and use of unauthorized vehicles such as motorized four-wheelers, motorcycles and automobiles.

They will be required to have a criminal-background check provided by the city and to carry a cellphone to call 911 for emergencies.

Brown said there may be a misperception that the bike trail is unsafe because of news coverage of two assaults that took place on the bike trail during the 18 months it has been open.

But Brown said he doesn’t believe the bike trail is any more dangerous than any other part of the city.

“I’ve always felt safe,” Brown said.

One unidentified man, however, said, “I want to support this thing 100 percent, but there are reasons people feel unsafe.”

Lt. Dan Mason of the Warren Police Department said the most recent incident, in which a 14-year-old boy was beaten and his clothing stolen in March, was a “vendetta” carried out by other youths whom the victim knew.

The other incident, in October 2013, involved a 27-year-old Mineral Ridge man who was beaten and his bicycle stolen by two unidentified males while he was riding the bike trail near Charles Street Northeast.

Enzo Cantalamessa, Warren safety-service Director, said the city is trying to come up with “inventive” ways to improve the safety of the trail, such as inexpensive forms of video-surveillance.

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