After attending a showing of the movie “An Inconvenient Sequel” Friday for a community event at the Vic Theatre in downtown Victoria, and launching the city’s new climate leadership plan, Victoria mayor Lisa Helps discovered padlocks on her bike, rendering it unsafe.
The discovery was made just after 9 p.m. and both the front and rear spokes had one pad lock attached.
Mayor Helps said that the locks may have been put on the spokes to allow only partial operation of the bike, that could have caused other mechanisms such as the brakes to fail and result in injury.
“They were clearly put there to cause some kind of harm because if I started riding without noticing they were there they could have gotten caught up in my brakes and I could have had a fall,” says mayor Helps. “I am glad that nothing happened, and that I realized soon enough and figured out right away with a guy who was coming out of the event, a way to mitigate the risk so that I could get home.”
Helps suspects that the act was targeted citing a past incident that brought attention to her cycling, where her bike ended up on the front of the Times Colonist a year-and-a-half-ago following vandalism outside Victoria City Hall.
“Everybody knows what my bike looks like, or at least many people.” Helps said, “Anyone who was paying attention to the event saw my name on the poster, I cant say for certain but it does feel targeted.”
The incident has been reported to police.
“I am not worried at all, it was just a mean spirited act to try and make some kind of point about cycling,” said Helps.
Helps cited the ongoing problems with “backlash” against the new bike lanes in Victoria as another possible factor, saying that it has been a common misunderstanding, and that Victoria is trying to achieve road use better for all road users.