Mountain biker could have 'lost his life' after hitting barbed wire hidden on trail

Images shared on Facebook show horrific injuries

mountain bike trail
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A mountain biker had his neck slashed by barbed wire strung across a trail in South Wales. 

Tony Roberts was riding on the Bwlch Mountain trail, near Ton Pentre in Rhondda Cynon Taf, on Sunday, December, 19 when the incident occurred.

Fellow rider Anthony Owens shared pictures of the aftermath on Facebook [warning, graphic images of injury] commenting: "This man could of [sic] lost his life though [sic] someone’s stupidity."

South Wales Police are investigating the incident, having searched the area to ensure that there was no further risk to the public.

Sergeant Karl Emerson said: "He was understandably traumatised by his experience and was very lucky not to have sustained an even worse injury."

"It is understood that the barbed wire was obscured by branches and anybody cycling there should be vigilant and take extra care.

"Local officers are searching the area to identify exactly where the incident occurred and to ensure there is no further risk to the public."

The South Wales Argus has reported that the 39-year-old required 17 stitches. His partner Koral Clarke told the newspaper: "I’m so glad I’m not planning a funeral right now. He had to unwrap the wire from around his neck.

"Specialist doctors were wondering if he needed surgery but luckily the surgeon managed to stitch him and he was allowed to come home to us."

This is far from a unique incident, unfortunately. In March this year officers from Police Scotland launched an investigation after offenders put wire across the path in a public park in Edinburgh on two separate occasions.

While no-one was injured in the first incident on Sunday, March 7, a 47-year-old cyclist then suffered a serious injury on Wednesday, March 7. 

In 2019, a cycling club was targeted by thumb tacks on road, and in 2017 police appealed for information after tacks caused hundreds of punctures at a Scottish sportive, with saboteurs also throwing drawing pins on the road where a Surrey charity ride was taking place.

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.

Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor. 

Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.

Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.