Belfast cyclist kicked off his bike and attacked during 'vicious assault'
A "savage" assault on a young male cyclist who was kicked off his bike in Belfast city centre has sparked calls for more police on the beat.
The victim, aged in his 20s, was kicked and punched as he lay on the road on the corner of Waring Street and Victoria Street at around 2.30pm yesterday.
He was treated for head injuries at the scene, but refused to allow paramedics to take him to hospital.
Two men, aged 22 and 28, were arrested on suspicion of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent.
Last night they continued to be questioned by detectives in Musgrave custody suite.
Belfast councillor Jim Rodgers said there is no known motive for the attack.
"This young cyclist was very badly injured," he said.
"It is absolutely unbelievable that this has happened.
"It is just horrific and very unusual for a cyclist to be targeted like this."
Mr Rodgers warned that the number of violent attacks in and around the city is on the rise.
"The number of assaults are definitely increasing, but this one was particularly savage," he said.
"We all need to exercise extreme vigilance because sadly there are evil and dangerous people in our society who are capable of doing this."
The UUP representative condemned those responsible and urged anyone with information to contact police.
He also expressed concern over a declining police presence on our streets.
"Unfortunately the visibility of police officers on the beat has decreased over many years," he said. There's great detective work going on and they are making arrests.
"Maybe more visibility would deter criminals but there's no guarantee of course."
Botanic councillor Declan Boyle said his thoughts are with the victim.
"This is altogether appalling and I just hope this man makes a full and speedy recovery," he said.
"This unbelievable act of violence would have shocked those who witnessed it, but you can only imagine what was going through this young man's mind as he was kicked off his bicycle.
"How on earth was he meant to defend himself?"
The independent representative also noted declining police numbers and called on the PSNI to deploy more resources in the city centre.
"Greater visibility is needed to deter this type of activity," he said.
"You see a significant police presence in all other cities and sometimes that is all that is needed.
"There's no point trying to bring tourists from all around the world if this is what they are going to see."
Inspector David McBride appealed for witnesses of the "vicious assault" to come forward, particularly drivers with dash cams who were in the area at the time.
Anyone with information is asked to call us on the non emergency number 101, quoting reference number 754 of 06/08/18.