Video shows Critical Mass bicyclists attack car

Lyanne Melendez Image
Monday, August 31, 2015
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An altercation between bicyclists participating in San Francisco's Critical Mass and the driver of a car was caught on camera. But police say they can't do anything about it.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- An altercation between a cyclist and a driver in San Francisco's Marina District during Critical Mass last Friday was caught on camera. Initially, police said they couldn't do anything because the driver and the car company, Zipcar, have yet to file a complaint. However, on Monday night police issued a statement saying they will be assigning an investigator to the case.

It was a peaceful Critical Mass until shortly after 8 p.m. when a group started riding against traffic on Marina Boulevard. One of the cyclists got upset that the driver of a Zipcar attempted to inch forward. In the video, you see he cyclist lean his bike against the car and insult the driver. Before long, others also surrounded the car.

With nowhere to go, the driver tried to back up and go around them. That's when things got worse. The video shows one of them smash his bike against the car and a second hits it with a U-Lock

Zipcar, the car sharing company, issued a statement:

"We are aware of the incident. With any incident of this kind, the well-being of anyone involved is our top concern. As a matter of policy, we're unable to comment further on any investigation that is ongoing.We cannot disclose member contact information.Our company and our members have a long history of supporting bike-related causes, consistent with our mission: to enable simple and responsible urban living."

Supervisor Mark Farrell, who represents the Marina District, also issued a statement:

"Violence is and will never be acceptable here in San Francisco. The actions by the cyclists caught on video this past Friday evening participating in Critical Mass are disturbing and should never be tolerated in our City - especially the one cyclist seen attacking the vehicle with a bicycle lock repeated times.I understand the history that Critical Mass has in San Francisco as a protest movement, and respect that a majority of the participants are peaceful and respectful of others while participating. But, the participants in Critical Mass must understand that actions like the ones this past Friday reflect poorly on the entire group and hurt the group's overall message and movement.I have already been in contact with our police department to evaluate how best to prevent similar future incidents from happening. And, I expect and hope that other Critical Mass participants will condemn the behavior seen this past Friday and actively encourage their participants to respect everyone and all the applicable traffic laws while participating."

Other bicycle groups did not want to comment, but they acknowledged that bicyclists must go with the flow and ride in the same direction as traffic.

Since June, Captain John Sanford of the Park Station has been working with both drivers and bicyclists in Golden Gate Park to practice mutual respect.

"We obviously don't get anywhere yelling at each other," he said. "We have to be able to come together, we have to be able to talk, we have to be able to collaborate together."

Watch the full video on YouTube (Warning: Adult language).