According to KCRG, Cedar Rapids has recently experienced a few issues along its bike paths. Last night channel 9 highlighted the story of C.J. Ong Jr., a cyclist who was assaulted, and had a few teeth knocked loose by a would be thief on the Cedar River Trail. What’s disappointing is Cedar Rapids Police spokesperson Shannon Stokesberry is advising bike path users not to carry protection. This quote comes direct from last night’s news story:

CRPD“Overall, she said the trails in and around Cedar Rapids are safe, but for those extra-cautious users, she advises against carrying weapons or mace for protection.

“If you have it, it could also be taken away from you and used against you,” Stokesberry warned. “Really the best thing to do is always be aware of your surroundings.”

Unfortunately Ms. Stokesberry’s advice could very well leave more walks, runners, bikers, and skaters as victims to opportunistic thieves on the Cedar Rapids’ bike paths. C.J. Ong says his story has spotlighted a common fear shared by many bike path users:

“It’s curious, as I’ve shared my story on Facebook, there’s been a lot of friends who are runners — females — that are really worried about what they can do to stay safe doing something they should be able to do enjoyably.”
Iowa Firearms Coalition obviously disagrees with the Cedar Rapids Police Department on this issue, and encourages citizens everywhere to refuse to be victims. This means maintaining good situational awareness and being prepared to exercise your right to self-defense — whether it’s with a firearm, or mace, or pepper spray, or anything else.