For nearly two years, Brooklyn women heading home late at night have had the protection of Brooklyn Bike Patrol, a group of cyclists who volunteered to escort women from the subway after dark. Sadly, the patrol is no more; founder Jay Ruiz announced today that he suffered a heart attack over the weekend, and the service will no longer be offered.
Ruiz, who spearheaded the organization after a number of sexual assaults rocked Park Slope in 2011, posted a message on Facebook this morning announcing the closure of the program and his harrowing health scare:
Attention Brooklyn!! This is Jay Ruiz President and Founder. This is the most difficult post I'm ever going to make. This pass Saturday & Monday I had a heart attack. 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 going to shut down this service. I'm so sorry to all the women that depends 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. I ask for you to give me and my family privacy during this time. God bless and i love you all. And remember ladies watch your surroundings and stay alert.
Though Brooklyn Bike Patrol was initially based near Prospect Park, it became very popular in North Brooklyn last winter following a string of sexual assaults and attacks on women in Bushwick. And the organization didn't just provide physical protection; Ruiz was an outspoken advocate for women's safety, attending community meetings in neighborhoods suffering from high assault incidences, speaking with the Brooklyn DA's office about safety issues and posting information about attacks and assaults regularly on BBP's Facebook page. The service will be missed, and we hope Ruiz has a speedy recovery.