An 18-year-old woman was attacked while riding her bicycle on the trails in Edwardsville on Tuesday afternoon.
Police Chief Jay Keeven said a man walked onto the trail about 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday and told the woman his friend needed help.
The woman dismounted her bike and followed the man about five to 10 feet into a wooded area off the 500 block of Kansas Street behind the Esic subdivision when the man grabbed her, Keeven said.
She broke away from her attacker and called for help.
She sustained scratches and redness on her neck and face. They did not require medical attention, Keeven said.
Edwardsville police and the Madison County Sheriff's Department searched the area without result.
The bike trails are not routinely patrolled, Keeven said.
He said bikers, runners, rollersbladers and walkers should go in pairs. If someone asks for help, don't stop but tell them you will go for a phone to call police, Keeven said.
Scott Shaw, running manager of The Cyclery in Edwardsville, said he is surprised by news of the assault. Shaw lives near that part of the trail and runs there often.
"That's not going to change," Shaw said.
Becky Schriber, the store manager, said the trails are heavily used. The Cyclery offers pepper spray to detract people or dogs.
"It will take a person down," Schriber said.
The attacker is described as an 18 to 19 year old black male, 6-feet tall with a thin build. He was wearing a black shirt and blue basketball shorts with a vertical stripe.
Anyone with information is asked to call Edwardsville police at 656-2131.