WARNING: Graphic content
A cyclist who was left with nasty injuries after hitting a barrier made of wire and branches claims the trap was set up “deliberately” by walkers during lockdown.
Neil Nunnerley suffered injuries to his mouth, face and chest when he hit a barrier on a path in woodland near to Taff's Well Quarry, just over a mile from his home in Radyr, south Wales, over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Nunnerley, 47, thinks he was travelling at "roughly 15 miles per hour" at the time – and believes angry walkers who also use the path set up the wire and wood traps.
He said: "The trap was set across the track with woven branches within it that were fixed horizontally. It wasn’t until I saw the branch I realised it was a trap.
"One of the branches struck me and got lodged in my mouth whilst the wire caught my chest and the lower of my neck.
“I was pulled from my bike and fell backwards striking my head on the floor. Thankfully, my helmet saved me.”
Nunnerley, who has been riding in the area for over 30 years, needed three stitches in his mouth – but admitted his injuries could have been a lot worse.
The trap had already been removed when Nunnerley reported the incident to South Wales Police.
Explaining why he believes lockdown walkers could be behind the traps, Nunnerley said: "There are many footpaths in this area and the bikers tend not to ride in those areas, there have been reports of motorbikes riding in the woods but again they tend to ride away from the bikers and walkers.
"Lots of walkers have been complaining about both bikes and motorbikes that are riding in the woods, but both sets of riders have done this for many, many years.
"Due to what is happening in the world today, more and more people are out walking for exercise than ever before.
“Dare I say it, but these people may have not frequented this area prior to lockdown and are now shouting at the people who use this area for biking.”
Nunnerley said he "isn't against walkers" as he walks his dogs in the area himself, but added: "Frustrations are high at the moment and people just need to get along, we all need to release our energy and get the exercise where and when we can.”
A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said: "The incident was reported to police at around 5pm on May 23.
“Officers attended the scene with the cyclist and no wire could be found on the trees or any others nearby.
"Understandably, some time had passed between the incident and the matter being reported due to the cyclist seeking medical attention at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.
"Anyone with information is asked to please contact South Wales Police on 101, quoting occurrence number *178556."
In Swansea, another obstacle was found across a trail on Kilvey Hill when a thick branch was placed between two trees at around chest height.
The track has been used by mountain bikers for decades and is a Natural Resources Wales-approved course with clear signs and safety measures in place.
Two weeks ago, another rider found branches in the landing area for a jump on the same trail.
Trail volunteer and long-time rider Scott Pullin said: "At some point someone is going to get seriously hurt. That one could have been even worse, one guy was lucky not to miss them.”