Edinburgh crime news: A woman has spoken out after being harassed while out cycling in the Meadows

A woman has spoken out about her experience after being harassed while cycling in the Capital.

Kirsty Lewin was cycling back to her home in Portobello when she was stopped by a large group of teenagers on Wednesday evening.

She explained: “I was cycling west to east, down North Meadow Walk.

“There was a group of teens spread right across the path, so I rang my bell.

Edinburgh crime news: A woman has spoken out after being harassed while out cycling in the Meadows

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"They opened a small gap to the left.

"When I went to pass, one of them moved in and prevented me.”

Kirsty said there was around a dozen teens, she estimated they were around the age of 15-17 years old.

"He stood right in front of the wheel and started being aggressive.

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Edinburgh crime news: A woman has spoken out after being harassed while out cycling in the Meadows

"He mentioned his penis a few times. He wouldn’t let me go.

"The other boys stood around, but I don’t think they said anything.

"A man walking in the other direction stepped in, and the boy moved out my way.”

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Kirsty said that as she started cycling off however, the boy started chasing her, making roaring noises.

"Like a child would pretend to be a bear,” she described.

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Kirsty then stopped, and got her phone out to call the police, which caused the whole group to run, though when she started to cycle off for the third time, the boy once again started chasing her.

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She said: “I didn’t accelerate, I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction, but I was able to keep ahead of him.

"I was afraid at the time, my route home included going through the Innocence path which is well known for anti social behaviour from men.

"Mostly, I was very angry.”

When Kirsty returned home, she contacted the police, who are now making enquiries into the incident.

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A Police Scotland spokesperson confirmed: “Police enquiries are continuing after receiving a report of offensive behaviour carried out by a group of youths around 8.30 pm on Wednesday, 13 April 2022 within The Meadows , Edinburgh.”

Kirsty is very aware of the problems that women can face on public cycle routes, as she is co founder of the group InfraSisters.

She explained: “Women face horrible dilemmas when deciding on the safest cycle route in the city.

"Do we risk a dangerous junction, and intimidating roads renowned for speeding or close-passing drivers?

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"Or do we use an off-road isolated path that has no escape routes and numerous reports of anti-social behaviour, abuse, and even assault?”

Thirteen years ago, Kirsty was hit by a lorry while out on her bike, causing lasting injuries that makes walking difficult.

Cycling is physically easier for her, and therefore crucial for her to get out and around the city.

"I use a bike as a mobility aid,” she explained.

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On International Women’s Day, InfraSisters organised an Our Streets Our Nights cycle ride around Edinburgh’s historic city centre after a similar protest in December attracted over 170 people.

The group are asking the council to provide safely lit cycle routes that are protected from traffic and have high natural surveillance so that women can feel safer cycling around the city at night time.

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