Staying Safe On Sioux Falls Bike Trail

Sioux Falls Police say a woman was attacked early Wednesday morning while jogging through Cherry Rock Park.

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Sioux Falls Police say a woman was attacked early Wed. morning while jogging through Cherry Rock Park.

Police say cases like this one are uncommon and they want people to know that the trail is still safe, and that by taking extra precautions you will decrease your chances of being attacked.

Jill Larson runs on the bike trail from time to time when her job brings her to the area. For her, staying aware of her surroundings is important — especially, when she is in new areas.

“Just be aware,” she recommends, “I always look back see if [other runners] are following me.”

The Sioux Falls bike trail has connected people from all parts of the city for years, and while calm and relaxing; danger can be lurking around every turn.

Sam Clemens with the Sioux Falls Police Department could not recall of any other assault that was remotely similar to Wed. attack.

“We’ve had some assaults along the bike trail and some assaults that have happened in different parks, but nothing that seemed even remotely close to this,” says Officer Clemens.

The man is described as a Native American male in his mid to late teens. The woman says he jumped out from the trees, grabbed her face and knocked  her to the ground.

She was able to scream and fight her way to safety. The man then grabbed his 20 in. BMX bicycle and fled the park.

Officer Clemens applauds her ability to break free from the attack.

“She did a great job,” he commended, “she did exactly what she should do: yell and scream for help and fight back.”

While this attack is rare, the SFPD wants to remind people that the bike trail itself is actually very safe for runners and bikers.

Denny Motz and his wife, Jan, bike the trail two to three times a week.

But Jan is hesitant to ever ride alone.

“I usually am with someone,” says Motz, “I rarely go on the trails alone.”

Especially for an area Denny Motz believes is most likely to see an assault.

“It’s usually, if there’s going to be a problem, down on this side of the river towards downtown.”

But Officer Clemens reminds people to trust your instincts.

“If you see something that just doesn’t quite seem right, maybe take a different route,” he adds.