Safer to take the Lexus (responding to a "bike jacking" in New Haven)

On weekends, my partner and I usually bike the Farmington Canal Trail that stretches a dozen miles or so parallel to Whitney Avenue through Hamden and Cheshire. The paved trail used to begin near the Stop and Shop in Hamden, but more recently, the trail has been extended further south towards the New Haven Green.
The canal path north of the Stop and Shop is so crowded on summer weekends that if you don't go early in the morning, you'll spend most of your ride dodging joggers, roller-bladers, dog-walkers and kids learning how to ride their first bikes. After biking this section last weekend, Maris and I decided to head home through the new stretch of trail runs south through the Newhallville neighborhood towards New Haven. Oddly, the new stretch of the trail through Newhallville was deserted, which I assumed was because it was relatively new and people weren't used to using it yet.
Photo of the end of the canal path pavement around Goodrich Street.
The only people we encountered on this section of trail were a group of teens who had spread out across the trail with their arms linked, forcing us to slow. At the last minute the group, laughing, separated and the let us pass through. I didn't think much of the incident at the time, but then last Monday, a (white, middle-aged) Yale administrator was 'bike jacked' on this section of trail.
According to the New Haven Independent, Robert Harper-Mangels was attacked by a group of teens on the way home from work, who knocked him off his brand new mountain bike and made off with it. The Independent reported that Harper-Mangels "usually drives between his home in North Haven to Yale" and that this was his second time commuting to work by bike. Since the attack, Harper-Mangels said he would "think twice" about biking on the trail again.
In the online comments section to the article, many readers blamed Harper-Mangels for thinking it was safe to ride the trail in the first place. Other commenters criticized the extension of the bike path through Newhallville, describing it as an "invitation to crime" and expressing concern that the new trail connects "a bad neighborhood" with the northern part of the trail.
Lisa Fernandez, the president of the Farmington Canal Rail-to-Trail Association, fought back against these reactionary instincts, urging scared residents to continue to use the trail because "users move abusers out." Some members of the Elm City Cycling listserve are adopting this approach and instead of abandoning the trail, have started coordinating efforts to find biking partners for commuters who are afraid to use the trail alone. I hope Harper-Mangels can find a cycling partner and overcome his reluctance to use the trail, instead of returning to his routine as yet another rich, white suburbanite who hops on the I-91 to get from his home to his job downtown, bypassing any interaction with the lower income residents of his community.Because as much as Yale and the elite it services would like to envision our community as the new Darien, the reality is that New Haven�s per capita income is $16,393, with 24.4 percent of the population living below the federal poverty line. For this reason, I welcome the extension of the bike path because it establishes continuity between communities that were formerly physically segregated by suburbia, freeways and ghettos.

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