‘I’m very lucky’: Cord tied across end of Dane County bike bridge clotheslines cyclist, reappears days later

FITCHBURG, Wis. — Local cyclists are sounding the alarm to warn their fellow bikers about a cord that has been found tied across a bridge on the Badger State Trail like a clothesline three times in recent days.  

“[I] went from 15 mph to 0, just like that,” Gregg A. Goldstein said of his ride to work last Friday– which could have come to an end with the end of his life on the bridge above the Cannonball Path near bicycle roundabout where several trails come together near the Madison/Fitchburg line.

“At the last fraction of a second (I) saw something that was across the bridge — when I say a fraction of a second — my bike lights illuminated it and I was on the ground here,” he recounted Monday. “It was that quick.”  

He was going about 15 miles per hour on the bridge, getting over most of it before hitting the cord.  

“It was about here at about I can only guess about 5 feet up,” he demonstrated, “(it) caught me in the neck.”  

After getting up and to his senses, he discovered what clotheslined him was a simple HDMI cord.  

“It broke, my neck broke it,” he said, holding the cord he kept. “And that’s not a bad thing — it didn’t break my neck.”  

He rode away with a mark on his neck and some bad bruises on his arms and legs.

“After the event when I got home I was in shock. I worked just fine but I was wondering what just happened.”

But what he found tied end-to-end on the bridge Monday morning was a bad case of déjà vu.

“It was a horror show for me, I was going so slow,” he said.  

cord tied across bridge

The second cord Goldstein found Monday morning. Photo: Gregg Goldstein.

A second electronics cord in the same spot awaited the bruised bike rider, but this time he was prepared.

“This morning I was looking for it,” he said. “Seeing the cord immediately went into action, (I) took pictures, took the cord down, contacted the police.”  

The reappearance of the cord troubled bikers, like Robbie Webber with the group Madison Bikes.  

“We should feel safe on our bicycles. This is a rarity but because it’s happened twice in the same location in rapid succession, we want people to be aware of it,” she said.  

She’s scared to think what might happen to someone not expecting the cord. 

“Being clotheslined, being hit in the neck with a rather thin cord, especially if you’re going fairly fast, it could injure your neck, it could injure your breathing,” Webber said. “You could be swept off your bike and hit your head.”  

On Monday, Goldstein said he still felt pain but was on the mend. “I did catch the cord in the front and in the throat, I can feel it a little bit.”  

“I would say that I’m lucky. I’m very lucky I’m here talking to you about it,” he said. “It could have been far worse.”  

And that’s why he wants as many bikers in the area to know what happened, so it doesn’t happen to them.

“Hopefully they won’t have to worry about a cord or anything else intentionally placed someplace that could put them in harm’s way,” Goldstein said.  

Webber too wants to make sure people are aware that there’s now something appearing on trails that could stop them in their tracks.

“We’re very upset about this. We’re really worried that someone either has no idea how bad this is or is intentionally trying to injure or even kill a bicyclist,” Webber said.   

On Tuesday, Madison police said they were aware of the incidents and were investigating. Meanwhile, Goldstein said he again found a cord stretched across the bike path Tuesday morning, sharing more photos on social media.

Bike Path Cord Tuesday

Courtesy: Gregg A. Goldstein

Police say they encourage bikers to be aware of their surroundings as they continue to look into who may be responsible.