Women report sexual harassment on Rapid City bike paths

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Rapid City police received a number of reports from women runners in recent months saying they have been harassed on a bike path.

"It was a beautiful day out, there were a lot of people around, I was out doing a typical kind of tempo run," said one runner who asked to remain anonymous.

That is until she experienced the behavior.

"An individual came up behind me on their bike and I glanced, didn't think much of it. They rode by really fast and hit me really hard on the behind," she said.

She is just one of the women that have been harassed on a bike trail in Rapid City within the last six months

"He actually rode by me a couple of different times and the scary thing to me is that no red flags went off," another female runner said.

Police say the information from runners is disturbing and something no one in the community should have to deal with.

"The police department, in general, is appalled and upset that an individual would be so brazen and basically put people in fear like that," said Captain John Olson, criminal investigations for the Rapid City Police Department.

Whether you are going for a walk or taking a jog, law enforcement and runners both agree that you should be aware of your surroundings.

"Check behind you on intervals, watch for bikes and other people running and walking by you, riding by you, and I think that will help you at least be aware of the situation," Olson said.

"Make eye contact with people, maybe try and if you think about it, notice distinguishing things about people," the second runner continued.

These women say although they have been affected by this behavior, it will not stop them from doing what they love.

"To just raise awareness to be on the lookout for this happening and also just communicate that I'm not afraid to still come out and run and enjoy public space," the first runner said.

As the weather gets nicer and people will be more active on the bike trail, Olson says the department is diligently working to find the person responsible.

"Whoever this person is, I don't know if he thinks it's funny or not, we don't find it funny. We don't think this is a joking manner to touch someone inappropriately and we are really looking for the public's help to try and identify this individual," Olson said.

If you experience inappropriate behavior on a trail, RCPD says to dial 911.

If you have any information regarding any of these incidents, contact Detective Seth Walker at 605-394-4134.