Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
So - I'm after your opinion.
(hmm - so it appears the map link below may not be working, but just across from the Greenery on Banksia road, near the Yarra).
Tonight I was riding home along the Yarra trail, through the yarra parklands at around 6:15, when approximately here: I came around the corner heading north and a guy had just fallen over - he was walking, wearing shorts, sneakers and a fleece, with a bag over his shoulder. I slowed and asked if he was ok, and he said he'd just had a fall. I asked if he needed help, and he asked if I could help him up. I was reluctant to put my bike down, not sure what was going on, but he said I'd need both hands to help him up. When he got to his feet, he was obviously still very unstable, and said he'd need to lie down. I asked if I should put him on his side, but he said to put him face down, so I did. as he was almost face down, he started to fit. His body was jerking all over quite randomly, and quite severely. His head was lashing around a bit. He was still able to speak, and asked me to hold him down so he didn't jerk around too much. He then asked me to put my full weight on him so he didn't jerk around too much, and also asked me to hold his hands behind his back so that he didn't lash out too much. The fit was made up of quite sharp and sudden movements - I don't believe he was faking it, as I can't imagine being able to actually move my body as suddenly and strongly as he was. It went on for 5 minutes, and through this time he was effectively reciting instructions to me - "put your full weight on me to stop me thrashing around", "hold my arms behind my back so I don't lash out" - repeating each of these things a few times over, as if he'd been saying it for most of his life. Part way through I asked if he was ok, and asked if he's an epileptic. He said "oh it's not that bad". I'd been holding him quite strongly for about 5 minutes (or so it seemed - who would know, in a pressured situation like that) - so much so that my forehead was running with sweat.
I then asked if there's someone I should call, or if he'd like me to call and ambulance.It was at this stage that things got a bit weird (cos sitting in full cycling kit with a helmet with a bright light on it, in the dark and fog beside a cycling trail near the Yarra river isn't weird enough). He said "I don't need an ambulance, you'd better call the police. It's probably because of all the hard drugs I've been taking that this is happening - I've been taking lots of hard drugs - there's a warrant out for my arrest. You should call the cops if you're going to call anyone - I don't need an ambulance." (Keep in mind this was all said through clenched teeth, while his body was jerking from one side to the other) So while still holding his arms locked behind his back I was able to get my phone out and call 000. The call was a bit of a debacle, but that's another story (similar to some of the questions being asked after the MH370 loss - i.e. can't you tell where I am by my mobile phone). I asked for ambulance and police, and he was continuing to say he doesn't need an ambulance, but I'd better call the police. While trying hard to establish my location with the person on the 000 call, his fits started to slow, at which point I got off him and backed away. He then held out his hand and got unsteadily to his feet, picked up his bag, and walked south along the trail as if nothing happened - calling out over his shoulder that I could cancel the call now, as he was ok and didn't need an ambulance. I stayed on the call and got back on my bike, watching him walk off around the corner. While still sorting out the call to 000, he actually came back and was slowly walking back towards me still saying, "you can cancel the call, I don't need an ambulance. I rode up the road towards the boulevard and Banksia Street. He then wandered off into the trees, and continued along the bike lane. I then made my way home - stunned and shocked at what had just happened.
I should state that at no stage was he aggressive, and while I was concerned for my own safety I didn't feel threatened by him. He also never attempted to steal anything.
I was in shock to begin with, at what happened, but part way through I got a grip and that's around the time I got the phone out. I state again, I don't believe he was faking it. So much stuff went through my head - is he going to knife me, is it a trap - is someone going to jump out of the trees and knock me out? A cyclist came past and asked if I was ok - even though I'd imagine he could see I was stressed, holding the bloke with his arms behind him, and I said "No, I'm not ok", next minute he just took off - didn't even get off his bike. Don't blame him too much - it must have looked pretty weird. Another person came along once the guy had wandered off and asked if I was ok, and looked more willing to offer just me assistance, but by then I was ok.
I got a call from someone at the police station a while later, and reiterated the story to me, and here's where it got a bit yuck. She asked "Do you know the sort of people who hang out around there?" - I said "I could guess, but wouldn't have thought it was as bad as you seem to be insinuating". She said "it's a pretty bad place to be". I replied "Well that's pretty dodgy given how many cyclists go through there of an evening.
When I thought back on what the police woman had said, it was a bit gross. I still don't think the guy was faking it as it would be very hard to fake the fit. Apart from the fact that I may be being set up for a robbery, I didn't think there was anything "dodgy" going on at the time - that only really occurred to me after speaking with the police.
Has anyone else had any issues in this area? Any tips on how I can get from (eg.) the Burke Road bridge to Banyule road, avoiding the Yarra Flats area? Should I just get over it - maybe it was legit, and it probably won't happen again.
Sounds like you tried to do the right thing but never forget to be aware of your own safety. If you have ever done a first aid course, you will remember that the first thing to check is that there is no danger to yourself.
Slightly different circumstances but twice now I have seen something and travelled far enough away from the situation to ensure my own safety and then called 000. In both cases, the police told me I had done the right thing.
With the advice you got from the police, you need to be on alert in that area in the future.
And keep on being a good person.
I'd be inclined to think that the situation sounds reasonably legit, but it certainly sounds like you had an interesting character there. It'd be a surprise to me if you were being setup for something at 6:15pm, as there would still be a fair amount of commuter traffic at that time. Later on in the evening would be ringing more alarm bells. As for the police call, well any parkland after dark has the potential to have some colourful goings on so no surprises there, but when I lived in Melbourne I cycled that trail pretty frequently at all hours of the night, and never saw anything untoward. Put it down to experience and give yourself a pat on the back for caring about someone else I say.
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If someone is having a true seizure then they certainly wouldn't be able to ask questions or be able to give coherent instructions. Maybe he was just having a psychotic episode or on meth or GHB. I would never hold a seizure down, just remove stuff from around them and call an ambulance. Anyway my bull@&&(AT) meter is off the scale.
The Yarra Flats do get some colourful personalities at times ... was a prominent M2M hangout place at one stage.
Can't let yourself be put off from any area because of an incident, though.
If someone gave us a list of each road a cyclist was ever struck by a car on, for instance, how could we ever ride anywhere?
I'd suggest it was someone off their rocker, and quite possibly having a genuine fit as a result of the drugs but it being something they're used to happening when they get on the gear, but wanting to feel "cuddled" to comfort them.
Thinking back to my "party days" often when heavily "off my chops" on pills or MDMA, especially if it wasn't a real nice high, I'd want human contact and warmth. This is part of the "loved up" experience/feeling with pills - lots of hugs and kisses at raves It wasn't at all unusual when out partying to end up sitting in a corner or standing at the edge of the dance floor just hugging someone for a long time because they weren't feeling great and just wanted to be held.
I've grown out of all that now - settled down, started a family, a career etc etc so I don't know what drugs are around these days, but it definitely sounds to me like this is what it'd be.
So.... similar time, similar place, same bloke, same modus operandi.
About a km further south as I came around a corner at 18:20, the same bloke fell over just as he came into my lights.
Tonight I decided not to stop.
I met another cyclist a bit further on and asked him if he saw a guy fall over (this cyclist would have come past the same area about 5 minutes after me) and he said a bloke was already on the ground by the time he got there...
So I think those whose bull detectors were going off may be right...
Would hate to think what he might do if a small person/female stopped to help. perhaps nothing...
Last edited by hitch on Thu May 15, 2014 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I remember thinking the same thing as iantas after your first post, that a legit epileptic experiencing a clonic seizure a) shouldn't be restrained and b) is inherently unable to instruct someone to do so.
Sounds like the guy is certainly ill, but not in the way he says. Sorry that happened to you.
“Lexa”: 2012 Trek Lexa S; “Bluey”: 2006 Trek 7.0FX
Someone on the Bicycle Victoria forums has had exactly the same encounter last night as you have described. The guy is a predator targeting people who are trying to be good people and help someone in need.
Nevermind, found it.
https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/forum ... 40#p652732
I just called the police to report that I'd witnessed the same person doing the same thing, and that another person had reported the same experience on a different forum.
She basically said "our hands are tied, if he hasn't committed a crime, we can't do anything". "We can't charge someone with carrying out a prank or faking injury". She said we have more serious crimes that we are dealing with and our staff are very busy - which I understand - but I thought it would be good to prevent this guy causing a serious incident. I said "With the Jill Maher incident, and the pattern of joggers being attacked in Newport ( http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/sex-p ... 38df8.html ), I thought you might be able to do something to prevent people being raped or injured". She said unfortunately there's nothing we can do - and said "now you're just getting emotional".
I then asked if anything would be logged, so that if 5 people call next week with the same issue, someone could draw a link, and that prompted her to put in an "information report". But I said if 5 people ring next week could someone identify a pattern, and she basically said "our systems don't work like that". If the same person calls 5 times, we'll link it, but unless someone who has already taken a call takes a similar call, there's no way the separate incidents would be linked.
She did, however, advise me to keep calling triple 0. I said that now I definitely won't be stopping, so what reason would I have to call triple 0.
I guess I've watched way too many police shows on TV, and things definitely don't work like that in the real world.
^^^ and what happens if this person does do something? Do the police then claim they had no prior knowledge?
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '09 Electra Townie Original 21D
If he speeds from the scene in his getaway car they'll get a nice photo of his number plate...
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
So, (non cycling related) the story with this guy gets even weirder. A friend was on a train to Ivanhoe the other day after work, and saw (what I must assume) was the same bloke on the train. He appeared to stagger, started to fit and asked a guy to sit on him. Apparently the guy said "um...no".
So he's not just an "in the dark, only with cyclists" kinda guy. But brave to do it in such a public place as a crowded train.
Weirder and weirder.....
...and then send him a fine for speeding.
I would be very careful and vigilant about helping people like this. I had a similar thing happen a few years ago in a shopping centre car park in broad daylight but it turned out a lot worse, before I knew it I was surround by a few people that were trying to rob me, I managed to escape unharmed from quick thinking could've been a lot worse.
i once read a thread on Rotorburn forums where people posted the weird stuff they saw on Yarra Trails. this fits right in. reminds me of that Pulp Fiction scene where Marcellus Wallace and Butch stagger into the pawn shop..
This explains the Lapierre rider I saw in a gimp mask!
the stuff some people get off on! wow
I don't know whats worse seeing adds for soiled undies on gumtree is a bit of a worry
I'm personally entirely happy for adults of sound mind to do to themselves, or with other consenting adults of sound mind, whatever they wish, as long as it doesn't cause any harm to bystanders. To that end, what this guy is doing clearly does not have the consent of those he's soliciting. So he should take his kink to a club where he can satisfy it in a fully ethical manner. If part of his kink is the unaware stranger element, then that's rather unfortunate for him, and he may have to subsist on role-playing that particular element.
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