Sad news from a helpful, well-loved institution: the Brooklyn Bike Patrol, which offered free bike escorts to women walking home at night, is shutting down after founder Jay Ruiz suffered a heart attack last week.
In a post on the Bike Patrol's Facebook page, 48-year-old Ruiz explained:
"I ride 150-200 miles a week and do 100 pushups a day. I thought it was heartburn! Finally made it to the hospital yesterday after 3 days of vomiting. I was shocked to learn what my heart been through. But I have to say that we [are] going to shut down this service. I'm so sorry to all the women that depend on our service. Remember that I love doing this and I'm very proud of what the BBP has become and and all the people we helped. [...] And remember ladies watch your surroundings and stay alert."
Since the organization is staffed by a rotation of volunteers, Ruiz told the Brooklyn Paper, none of them work with the Bike Patrol regularly enough to take over his position. "Hopefully, I can come back someday down the line, but right now I have to concentrate on my health," he said. The organization had been running since 2011, and gained attention late last year after a series of reported attacks on women in Williamsburg and Bushwick. We'll keep our fingers crossed that Ruiz makes a quick, full recovery, and that someone else steps in to help keep the women of Brooklyn safe.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.