Swiss Cyclist Gang-Raped in India, Husband Assaulted

Incident shows cycling in India is not safe, but some groups are innovating with GPS devices

By Jen Benepe — March 16, 2013

At at time when India is coming under increasing international pressure to prevent violence against women, a female cyclist traveling in the central Madhya Pradesh region of India was gang-raped by 8 men while her husband was restrained.

Eight men were reported to have raped the 39-year-old Swiss woman who had just set up camp for the night with her husband in the Indian forest. After the assault, the assailants robbed the couple.

The couple were on their way to the tourist destination of Agra, home to the Taj Mahal monument in northern India when they stopped for the night near a village.

The attackers “tied up the man and raped the woman in his presence”, local police official SM Afzal said. They stole 10,000 rupees ($185) and a mobile phone from the woman.

After the assault, the victim who has not been identified, was admitted to the hospital in Gwalior city, local police official MS Dhodee said. The cyclist was conscious on Saturday and speaking to authorities. No other details of her condition were known.

Dhodee said that police were still investigating the case but added that a “rape case has been registered against seven unidentified people,” and 13 men were being questioned in connection with the incident.

Cycling in general does not get high marks from the people who live there. According to one cyclist Srinipartha who is based in Chennai, cycling is not safe in India for a multitude of reasons.

Aside from a careless attitude by drivers for your safety, and dangerous road conditions, he noted that women will be harassed when riding on the road, and that drivers will sometimes aim at them intentionally to knock them down.

A group rode for several days in December 2011 with GPS devices to track them for safety

See his whole entry below:

Hi dirtbikedude, Mediacreations & all,although i had posted a reply abt biking in my city(india), i am stretching it a little bit.Mediacreations, I welcome you to cycle delhi’s streets(with caution) during feb next year(had u ever been on a bike trip b4 in this part?).I am from near deep south from a city called chennai capital of tamil nadu.Sad part is I had never been to delhi and have no plans for a visit in the near future.But i can say a lot about cycling in Delhi and that applies to India in general.India has a population whose attitude towards road safety is the attitude a race driver has and add a whole lot of ego and disregard for other road users.Here are some of the tips that might help:1. India’s roads are the most dangerous, placing it at the top of international list in number of fatalities and grevious injuries(fatalities 90000/year, grevious injuries 200000/year).

2. Delhi tops the list within India, with the most of the culprits from bus and heavy vehicle category.

3. Never expect the other road users to yield or stop at intersections or even at signals, think twice b4 u proceed on recieving a green signal.

4. Any driver who has caused a fatal/grevious accident can bail out the same day, the bail amount in most of the cases being a paltry Rs 1500 & above (US$32) and most of the trials end up with the driver being convicted and fined a paltry amount of the above said magnitude.

5. Twowheelers, cyclists & pedestrians form 60% of road accident victims.

6. If u bring in a bike form your own country, u shud be aware of thefts. Bicycle thefts are most common in india. Geared/sports cycles are especially vulnerable coz the thieves break away with the gear equipment!

7. With the recent boom in mobile phones, its advisable for foreigners to carry one around.

8. Its always hot and humid most of the time, keep adequate amount of fluids handy.

9. One of the most bitter fact is in some of the accidents the drivers responsible for accidents are at greater risk of being severely beaten up by the surrounding public.

Other horrifying fact is some inhuman cops/people take some valubles away from unconcious accident victims.

So its always advisable to carry less valubles/money, keep an identity handy for identification and there are numerous NGO’s helping trauma victims.

10. Besides threat from road users there are death traps in the form of municipal road diggings, dangerous protrusions on pavements, snapped transmission wires, death pits covered with water during rains….

11. LADIES BEWARE, females shud always be aware of sexual harrasments on road in the form of screams, vulgar comments/hand signs and in extreme cases being knocked down by the offender’s vehicle.

I am very sorry for typing this bad about my country, but its the fact. But if u can swim(pedal) thru it then you might see India as it is, a million times different from the organised west.

Regards
srinipartha

In 2011, a cycling Tour innovated by using GPS devices to track all their riders in case of emergencies, or getting lost.

Participants of the BSA-Tour of Nilgiris cycled from December 16 to 23 through the Nilgiris to promote sustainable travel and ecotourism.

The technology allowed the cyclists to use an SOS function for instant help in case of a medical emergency or mechanical failure. Cyclists even knew when they went off track.

The cyclists, and persons in the support vehicles and the ambulance were given GPS tracking devices from Excelfore, a U.S.-based startup with a team in India, which makes automotive products.

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