Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Critical Mass mob attacks motorist

SEATTLE (AP) - A mob of bicyclists riding in Seattle with the monthly Critical Mass demonstration injured a motorist after an altercation. Seattle Police spokesman Mark Jamieson says that on Friday between 100 and 300 bicyclists were riding down a street in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, blocking traffic on both lanes, when a man and a woman in a Subaru station wagon tried to pull out of a parking spot. But some of the bicyclists blocked them, sat on the car and began banging on the vehicle. Words were exchanged between the male driver and the bicyclists. The driver feared being assaulted and backed up, but bumped a biker and enraged the group. In response, some of the bikers smashed the windshield and rear window. 

He tried to drive away but hit another bicyclist. The car stopped a block down and the bicyclists surrounded the car. One biker punched the driver through an open window and another used a knife to slash the tires. When the driver got out of the car a male suspect struck him with an unknown object in the back of the head. The driver was later taken to the hospital. His female companion was not injured. Jamieson says two men were arrested and police are looking for the suspect who struck the driver in the back of the head. He added police know the man’s identity. According to the Critical Mass web site, every month, bicyclists ride to promote bicycle use and assert cyclists’ right to the road among many reasons.



At 11:06 AM, Blogger Foggy Freewheeler said...


I have nothing to say about Critical Mass. But I will say a critical mass of bike improvement plans (near 60) has been on the back burner because of this injunction. I've said before that to study the impact of bike lanes is one thing, but not one bicycle U-parking unit has been constructed. People are fed up. Market St. bike commuter traffic is up to 30-40%. This whole thing is going to blow up in your 1% face. Your going to see the greatest # bicycle infrastructure improvements in a short time once this TEMPORARY injunction is lifted. The city is taking it even further by proposing a ban on private automobiles on Market St. and closing the Embarcadero to create car-free space. The tides are changing, and soon your cry-for-attention lawsuit will be swept out to sea. Then those of us who actually care about the world we beat up daily will throw a party and toast the end of ignorance.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Who is really to blame for the delay in "bike improvement plans"? The city and the SF Bicycle Coalition for not getting the legally required environmental study done three years ago. We tried to warn the city at the time, but we were dismissed with contempt by both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. The injunction will remain in place until the city finishes its EIR on the Bicycle Plan as Judge Busch ordered.

I'm just "crying for attention," but you of course are only concerned about saving the planet? Typical bike nut arrogance, which also manifests itself in Critical Mass.

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Everyone's Anonymous on the Internet said...

Is Rob doing this to "cry for attention" or is he doing it for the money? His partner in fleecing the City, Mary Miles, reportedly received about half a million dollars in their successful efforts to sue the City. Not bad for less than a years work. Not quite the million she originally billed for though. One wonders how much of this Rob received.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Not everyone is anonymous on the internet, but everyone is who's too chickenshit to put his/her name on her insults. I've received no money from the litigation, but that was not why I was involved in the first place. Your lack of comprehension of my motives is laughable. Why would anyone oppose the attempt by the bike people---those charming people!---to completely redesign city streets on behalf of a small minority of PC folks with the dangerous hobby?

It was three years of work by the attorney, not one year. The only reason it took that long was due to the City Attorney's obstructionism and delaying tactics that required extra rounds of briefing and paper work. It probably would have cost the city even more if the fee issue had gone to the judge. The city understood that, which is why they agreed to a settlement.

At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Terry Sau said...

Woah - I want to know more about this Mary Miles stuff. If she's really a friend of Robs and is making dough of this thing, I will laugh my ass off!

Rob - critical mass sucks, but honestly, AT LEAST 92% of people who live in San Francisco want improvements for bikes. Those are the facts little fella, you'll see 'em soon!

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

For three years of work, the amount she settled for isn't a big deal. Where do you get the 92% figure? Like to hear more about that. Speaking of facts, 98% of the residents of SF commute by car or bus, not bikes (see the SFCTA's Countywide Transportation Plan and the 2000 Census).

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous those dudes said...

It's not quite accurate to say that 98% of SF residents commute by car or bus. According to the 2000 Census, 51% drove (or were driven), 31% took public transit, 9% walked, 5% worked at home, 2% biked, and 2% used other means (motoryclce, etc.)

Of course, this data is nearly 10 years old...we know that more people are bicycling now than in 2000, and it will be interesting to see how gas prices, changing demographics and travel patterns, changing technology that encourages telecommuting, increased concern for global warming and public health, etc. impact the numbers that are released in the 2010 Census.

One can already get a glimpse of which direction the numbers will go by reviewing the 2006 Census American Community Survey, which showed that the percent driving had dropped to 48% while the percent working at home had jumped to 8%.

To continue to plan for the way things were, instead of how we want them to be, is dumb.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You're right. It's more accurate to say that 98% of city residents don't ride a bike to work. Of course gas prices are already getting people to cut back on their driving, which I too think is a good thing. That doesn't mean they are going to turn to bikes en masse. Instead, they will turn to Muni, which needs money for more buses and drivers. Interesting that you bike people rarely discuss Muni, which is the most plausible alternative to driving.

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What this story should say is "Someone tries to drive into a critical mass ride, critical mass riders block driver, driver drives into them, cyclists assault driver."

At 3:20 PM, Anonymous those dudes said...

Some will turn to Muni - which will need to sped up in large part by creating dedicated transit right-of-way through the removal of on-street parking and general use travel lanes.

But many are and will continue to turn to bikes. According to the 2000 Census, 77% of SF workers who live in SF also work in SF, meaning that there trip to work is less than 7 miles, which is a very reasonable cycling distance, and for many of these trips cycling is probably faster door-to-door than Muni. It's also cheaper, and provides health benefits that Muni can't.

At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob your position that city streets should be designed the majority of users. You've consistantly dismissed cyclists as a small minority of commuters.

The June 12 MTA survey found bikes make up the majority of rush hour commute hour traffic (52%, while motorists only account for 41%) and I'm curious what your defense of continuing to design for the car driving minority is.

I'm sure you'll have some good reason to continue hating on bikes now that they are a majority on Market. The survey is a lie? Bikes are too dangerous? MRA controlled by aliens? Stubborn CarThink?

At 2:48 PM, Anonymous just pedalin' said...

You appear to have missed the follow-up story where the motorist apologized for his inappropriate behaviour:

“I sympathize with [cyclists’] cause. I ride bikes too. I’m a liberal hippie democrat,” he says, adding “I’m gay, the person with me was a lesbian and we were a attacked by eco-terrorists. It’s the most Seattle thing that could have happened."

“What I did was probably a mistake,” he says. “I want to apologize to [the cyclists]. I didn’t mean for it to happen. It was terrifying for me. I was pissed off, I overreacted, I didn’t pay attention to what I was doing and I’m sorry for it."


At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He also conveniently missed the followup news story where we find that all charges against cyclists were dropped.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

It's really a struggle for you bike people to be honest about your dangerous, PC hobby, isn't it? Just Pedalin' provides us a link to the follow-up story that he proceeds to misrepresent. The driver apologized for his mistake, but his account of the incident still reflects poorly on the bike Nazis who attacked his car. The rest of the story:

While driving through Capitol Hill, Mark says he saw a herd of Critical Mass riders and pulled over on a parking strip on Aloha to wait for them to pass. After waiting for five minutes, Mark says he tried to turn his car around to get out of the way and get off of the street. That’s when about a dozen cyclists surrounded his car, he says.

“As soon as I tried to turn around, they completely corralled me in and were shouting things,” Mark says. Although he says cyclists were initially “playfully taunting” him, Mark says the longer he waited, the more aggressive they got. “They wouldn’t let me move even after the rest of the bikes went by," he says, adding that he started to panic when cyclists began tugging on his side mirrors and he heard someone say “let’s tip the car”...Mark says he got out of his car and was immediately struck in the back of a head by a cyclist wielding a U-lock. Mark then told the angry crowd he was “sorry” and “didn’t know anyone was hurt,” before walking up to where the injured cyclists were. This, Mark says, is when cyclists “completely destroyed [his] car,” breaking his windows and slashing his tires.

At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if an angry kid with a u-lock attacks a motorist, it doesn't represent critical mass as a whole; it represents and angry kid with a u-lock. Find a finer brush to paint with, Rob.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

And why do angry kids with u-locks like Critical Mass? The very nature of the event---no parade license means no one or no organization is responsible, to fixed route provided to the authorities, and the deliberate flouting of traffic laws---naturally attracts emotionally unbalanced and immature people.

At 4:06 PM, Blogger gnatthew said...

If you're keeping track this would make one documented case of cyclists attacking motorists...annd.....a few thousand of motorists attacking cyclists. This is abysmal behavior on behalf of the cyclists but would prove to be the exception rather than the rule. The same cannot be said for motorists. I do not support Critical Mass, but nor do I support your ill-informed criticism of cycling at large based on how it slightly inconveniences your lifestyle. And honestly, I find your posting of this article to serve no purpose than to inflame an already sensitive subject with no care for past data. Read up a bit on motorist-cyclist attacks, won't you?

However, I've got to agree on your MUNI stance, all mass transit deserves more attention than it receives and that goes double for the Bay Area. Maybe you'd do better to focus your attention on MUNI reform and not on slinging libel at the cycling public?

-matthew fitzpatrick


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