Brooklyn Bike Patrol halts service following founder Jay Ruiz’s heart attack

June 17, 2013 Heather Chin
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The volunteer-run, yet much-respected, Brooklyn Bike Patrol has stopped service, possibly permanently, following founder Jay Ruiz suffering two heart attacks this month.

Ruiz is now recuperating at home with family. He posted the sad news of BBP’s suspension of services on the group’s Facebook page:

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.

The news comes as a double-blow for Brooklyn women and their family and friends, who have embraced and supported Ruiz and the BBP’s mission of providing an on-call bike escort service as a means of getting women home safely.

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BBP was founded in September of 2011, in response to a months-long series of sexual assaults on young women in Park Slope, Greenwood Heights, Sunset Park, and Bay Ridge. Women could call Ruiz and tell him which subway station they would be getting off at and at what time, and he or another BBP volunteer — clad in their distinctive neon yellow T-shirt and vest — would meet them to escort them home.

The on-call bike service was praised by residents and local police alike, with volunteers receiving background support and recognition from the NYPD for their contributions to the community.

Some BBP supporters have expressed hope that the service would resume at some point, perhaps under the leadership of one or more of the volunteers, but at the moment, there is no indication that that may happen, as Ruiz was the driving force behind the program.

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