• Cyclist scared by fight on popular Seattle trail

    By: Deborah Horne

    Updated:

    A couple of men came to blows along a bike trail, stopping a cyclist in her tracks outside a homeless encampment.

    The cyclist described how she escaped the chaos without getting injured.

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    The fight between two campers broke out Friday afternoon on the Elliot Bay Trail. No one was hurt in the incident, but for a time, the cyclist says she was too afraid to move.

    Connie Parsons bikes to and from work every weekday. On Friday afternoon, in the shadow of T-Mobile Park, her ride took a scary turn.

    A fight broke out at an unsanctioned homeless encampment on the Elliot Bay Trail. Parsons was riding home to West Seattle at about 3 p.m. Friday when she heard the commotion, then saw two men going at it.

    "There was yelling at first," she said. "And a lot of times, you can go by the weird things on the trail. But after they started hitting each other, I was afraid to go by."

    She says she stood frozen, afraid she might get hurt. 

    "I don't know," she said. "I guess I was just going to wait it out or maybe turn around. I don't know what I was going to do."

    Even on this sunny Saturday, the trail is abustle with cyclists and runners, all of them forced to navigate around the tents and people. Those who live here complain about the cyclists who speed by.

    "We were going to put, like, arrows pointing that way for that side, an arrow this way," said Dennis Swaggert,  "And put, like, a speed limit because some guys come through here, they come through at top speed."

    Fellow cyclist Vladimir Malinsky watched Parsons' video.

    "And then the runner is absolutely exposed," he said.

    What he saw upset him.

    "It has to change," he said of the unsanctioned encampment. "It really has to. It's a shame. It has to stop."

    Eventually, a jogger came to Parsons' aid to walk her past the fight, but she said she thinks she will have to change her route now.

    "That's a huge commute route," said Parsons. "There are a lot of runners down there, so thank goodness.  And I don't think it's terribly safe down there."

    The Seattle Homeless Navigation Team has removed this encampment in the past, only to have it spring up again.

    No word on whether the city plans to remove it again.

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