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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another Eyewitness Weighs In

posted by on July 26 at 19:24 PM


I am one of the cyclists who was run over by the driver of the white Subaru on the evening of July 25, 2008 on Aloha St. in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle.

My perspective differs significantly from media reports by King5, KOMO, The Seattle Times, etc.

I arrived near the end of a Critical Mass cycling ride at the crest of the Aloha St. hill heading east to find the driver of a car with a passenger irately screaming at cyclists to get out of the way.

As cyclists were explaining to him that everyone was nearly past him, he proceeded to yell about being late for a reservation. He was parked on the grass and sidewalk, crookedly perpendicular to Aloha.

Suddenly, he sped into Aloha, directly into the crowd of cyclists.

The front right side of the car struck me and dragged along with my bike as I hung onto the front of the car. Subsequently, he ran over my right leg and bike as he sped down Aloha to the East, in what appeared to me to be an attempt to flee the scene. My bicycle has been damaged beyond repair (see attached pictures).

I saw at least 2 other people hit by his car, a woman, and a man who jumped onto the hood of the car to avoid getting hit head on.

Not until after these events did other cyclists become involved in apprehending the driver, etc.

I would have spoken with reporters, but they were apparently focused on where the driver fled to, and by the time they asked if I had any comments, the scene had been cleared, my wife had loaded my wrecked bike into our car, my right leg was swelling up, I had pains in my left back, and we thought it best to get me to the ER for x-rays and other tests. As it turns out, I had no broken bones, but did have blood in my urine from the trauma, a situation were still monitoring.

While two cyclists have been charged, its unclear whether the driver has also been charged for his involvement, and I cannot get that information from the Seattle Police Department until Monday. I will be pursuing civil remedies for this incident at the very least.

RSS icon Comments


This really freaks me the fuck out... But where are the phone cam pics and vid clips? People pull out their cams at the slightest provocation... There should be tons. And they should solve most of the mysteries here.

Posted by L | July 26, 2008 8:01 PM

So then all the Critical Mass cyclists are going to get cited for traffic violations too, right?

Posted by demo kid | July 26, 2008 8:12 PM

What do cops love: donuts. What do cops hate: bicycles. So as a gesture of solidarity with the environmentally conscious I propose that Top Pot give away free donuts to cyclists on Monday, and that Mighty-O do so on Tuesday.

Posted by kinaidos | July 26, 2008 8:13 PM

I forwared this link (and links to some of the other posts here about Critical Mass) to Yield to Life ( is an organization started by Dave Zabriskie to promote the idea that there is (or should be) a way for cars and bikes to share the road safely. Perhaps they can help the Stranger to shine a spotlight on the fact that it was the cyclists that were attacked here.

Posted by Beth | July 26, 2008 8:15 PM

Does Critical Mass "share the road safely" with cars?

Posted by demo kid | July 26, 2008 8:19 PM

I feel terrible for the innocent people who were injured while biking along without interfering with this guy's life and/or surrounding his car. Poor guy.

The lesson in all this: Don't ride in Critical Mass. You'll be surrounded by jerks.

Posted by TheMisanthrope | July 26, 2008 8:34 PM

Thank you Stranger for not stating that "bunch of bikers attacked a car..." Because it is not what happened, and it is strange to see everything first hand and hear it differently from media like channel 5. I am an eye witness, and a close relative with one of the bikers who got arrested. We will be interviewing with media on monday after talking to an attorney, so if you like please contact us... We also have many witnesses, and we are not going to let the driver get away with what he did...

Posted by esra | July 26, 2008 8:41 PM

You deserved to get hit; too bad more of you weren't wiped out. Go to Portland you freakin' liberals -- the rest of us have a busy life to lead and don't need your slow-pedaling junk in our roads.

Posted by BB | July 26, 2008 8:41 PM

You deserved to get hit; too bad more of you weren't wiped out. Go to Portland you freakin' liberals -- the rest of us have a busy life to lead and don't need your slow-pedaling junk in our roads.

Posted by BB | July 26, 2008 8:41 PM

@1 "But where are the phone cam pics and vid clips?"

The incident happened towards the end of the group of riders (many riders didn't know about it until they saw the news). As such, there weren't tons of people with cameras ready.

However, you can view some clips from a bit earlier at the following link. Note: the video shows uneventful riding, which is what happens on 99% of the rides.

Posted by stinkbug | July 26, 2008 8:46 PM

Were not stopping traffic, WE ARE TRAFFIC!

-Seattle Critical Mass Flyer

The problem(s) with your group is that you want car drivers to respect bikes and the traffic laws to keep you all safe while your group does just the opposite.

You cant have it both ways. I ride a bicycle, a motorcycle and drive a car and know that each has its own limitations built on the reality of the world.

A bike messenger (for example) that jumps curbs, splits traffic, runs red lights and causes me on my motorcycle to avoid him or her, will not get my respect on the last Friday of each month while you ride in mass.

Your group has a hair trigger built on hypocrisy (and I am guessing too much Red Bull) and bullshit and god help you all if I or my family should encounter your madness!

Don Taylor

Posted by Don Taylor | July 26, 2008 8:49 PM

Don, you got it exactly right. I've witnessed a few "critical mass" rides and they're always blocking traffic and nobody gets the point - they just piss legal drivers off.

I don't care if you ride a bike, unicycle or roller blade with ski poles to work - if you're not following the law, you're 1) inconsiderate, 2) illegal, 3) an obnoxious roadblock and 4) pointless. People don't support your cause when you piss them off. You make yourself irrelevant.

And with that ... I *double dog dare you* to take this to 520 where the *real* mess is.

Posted by Brad | July 26, 2008 10:35 PM

What is up with all the near psychotic overreactions to Critical Mass riders? It seems like you guys develop road rage with the mere thought of a cyclist appearing on the road between you and your destination, which I am sure is not really that pressing. Chill the fuck out, you nuts. You will get somebody killed with your aggression, be they cyclists, pedestrians, or other drivers.

Posted by FRUITCAKEpuppet | July 26, 2008 11:06 PM

@BB #8 and 9 - We don't want bike thugs OR conservatives here. Go fellate Tim Eyman.

Posted by Aaron | July 27, 2008 12:04 AM

When's the next Critical Mass rally? I'm thinking of riding along with a big sign that says "NOT ALL CYCLISTS ARE ASSHOLES, JUST THESE ONES".

Posted by Sean | July 27, 2008 12:35 AM

lol @Sean. What gets me is cyclists who see no problem in running red lights (Critical Mass ride or not). It just drives me nuts. If you want to be treated like regular traffic, obey the damn rules of the road. It just makes the rest of us law-abiding cyclists look bad.

Posted by Allen | July 27, 2008 1:05 AM

The soul-shattering image with this post doesn't convince. I suggest rearranging the staged photo so the bike damages are clearly more serious than just the front wheel. Next, arrange a crushed water bottle, preferably still leaking onto the pavement and beside that a newly shredded remnant of bike shorts, preferably the crotch section with a visible skid mark across it. There, perfect!

Posted by Deuce Bagelow | July 27, 2008 1:10 AM

I'd say that I can't believe what bicycle apologists the Stranger staff are (and what shoddy journalism they're perpetrating, with all of these obviously biased "eyewitness reports"), but I'm not really surprised at all.

Imagine if this incident DIDN'T involve a bunch of entitled hipsters on bikes (the Stranger's key demographic) and that, instead, it involved a right-wing Christian fundamentalist anti-choice group.

That group decides to stage an un-permitted march and rally through busy city streets during rush hour. They march through our neighborhoods with utter disregard for the people who live there and the people just trying to make their way through there. They block off entire streets for lengthy periods of time and ignore all of the rules of the road-- crossing when they feel like crossing, where they feel like crossing. And they are aggressive-- REALLY aggressive. Yelling at passers by, berating people, some even getting violent.

Some in the crowd are drunk. Some have knives on them, antagonizing people, as they pass, obviously looking for trouble.

A man is attempting to pull out of his driveway and into the street, the street he lives on and uses every day. He might have a "reservation" to get to, he might have an emergency, he might just want to go to the fucking grocery store-- that's pretty irrelevant. What matters is that HE isn't doing anything wrong, he's just trying to go about his day.

As he pulls out of his driveway, he is surrounded by the anti-choice protesters. Aggressively, they tell him that he's just going to have to wait, that it's THEIR turn now-- despite the fact that they have zero legal authority to tell him to wait or to be blocking the road. In fact, they are breaking the law by obstructing traffic (not to mention countless other infractions).

The man is infuriated-- he tells them to move the fuck out of the way, he needs to go. (Wouldn't you do the same if you found a bunch of asshole anti-choicers blocking your driveway?) As he impatiently waits, some of the marchers pound on his car. He gets frustrated and tries to back up, only to find that there are people surrounding the back of his car, too. He accidentally hits one of them, not hard, and he stops.

He's blocked in. Trapped. After he accidentally hit one of them, the mob becomes more violent-- screaming obscenities. Hitting his car. Trying to open the car doors.

His pregnant wife is in the front seat, panicked. Panic sweeps over the man as well. What are they going to do? The mob is getting angrier. His window gets bashed in. The glass goes flying everywhere. Another window goes. Someone pulls out a knife. The tires get slashed. People are screaming, everything is a blur. Someone reaches in the driver's side window and punches the man.

In a blind panic, in self-preservation fight-or-flight mode, the man knows he needs to get out of there, get out of there now-- they have knives, they are angry, they are violent. He needs to keep his wife safe, he needs to keep the baby safe, he needs to keep himself safe. They have punched him, they have broken the windows, they have flattened his tires. He needs to go. NOW.

So he goes. Not far. Half a block. Maybe one block. The crowd is enraged-- HOW DARE HE!!! They pull him from his car and beat him, severely enough that he requires staples to the back of his head.

He was trapped, cornered, and put into a situation that was going to end poorly no matter what. While running into a crowd of people with your car isn't exactly a sane thing to do, no one is claiming that the man was in his right mind when it happened. His windows had been bashed in. He had been hit. People had knives. He wasn't operating on sanity, he was operating on self-preservation and adrenaline.

The anti-choicers are, as any one can see, entirely to blame in this scenario. The Stranger would be outraged-- taking to the streets! Throw the book at them! Lock them up! The bastards had it coming!

But, wait, no. These weren't anti-choicers. They were bicyclists. So somehow, in the eyes of the Stranger, that makes them above the law.

Traffic laws are there for a reason-- for EVERYONE'S safety. There is no reason that Critical Mass can't get permits, can't set a route, can't get a police escort-- other than the fact that they don't WANT to. They believe that they're above the law-- red lights, two way streets, right-of-way: none of that applies to them and their almighty "CAUSE." (Which is what again?... Anarchy?... Douchebaggery?...)

I am pro-bike. I am pro-mass transit. But I am anti-assholes and pricks who think that they can do whatever the fuck they want, to hell with everyone else.

Obviously these asswipes weren't hurt too badly-- the bike has a bent fucking tire and somehow Superman claims that a car "LITERALLY DROVE OVER HIS LEG," yet he ended up without a single broken bone. (Someone call Ripley's 'cause that's a-fucking-mazing.)

When you break the law, and then face repercussions because of it (like getting run over when you're blocking the flow of traffic), that's no one's fault but your own. Don't want to get run over? Don't stand behind a car.

Marches, parades, rallies, funeral processions-- there are policies in place to ensure that groups can congregate SAFELY and without completely disturbing the public. What makes Critical Mass above following the law?

This isn't the first time it's happened-- they have a history of violent aggression. Check out some of the videos that the martyred CMers themselves have placed on YouTube. A highlight is the one where they nearly beat up an elderly couple-- classy. Real classy.

Fuck Critical Mass and their "cause." Fuck 'em all.

Posted by Samantha | July 27, 2008 2:07 AM

You are legally required to control a vehicle to avoid hitting anyone/anything.

Pretty much end of story.

I don't condone tire slashing, punching people through open windows, rabbit punching people or U-locking windows, but if you are at a stop, you don't drive into people standing in front of you. Being late for dinner reservations is not a reason to drive over someone's leg or their bike.

Posted by Chris | July 27, 2008 2:17 AM

Hey, Samantha, you posted that same babbling in that other thread. Are you posting that in every CM-related slog thread?

Posted by stinkbug | July 27, 2008 2:49 AM

"Civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government, or of an occupying power, without resorting to physical violence. It is one of the primary tactics of nonviolent resistance"

I wish that Critical Mass wouldn't describe their tactics as "civil disobedience" -- their protests use a very different method, which I've personally observed to be aggressive, violent and deliberately intimidating (lots of middle fingers, rude shouts and kicking at vehicles waiting patiently). I've seen their so-called "corkers" act particularly aggressive, even when drivers and bus passengers are yielding and treating their violent demonstrations with the solemnity of a funeral procession.

I'm hopeful that they aren't all aggressive and rude -- but many many of the CMers I've encountered during rides have been -- to an unhealthy extreme.

The very definition of "civil disobedience" stresses the civility much more than the disobedience:

"Civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government, or of an occupying power, without resorting to physical violence. It is one of the primary tactics of nonviolent resistance"

Posted by larry | July 27, 2008 2:56 AM

If this had happened to a bunch of bicyclists who actually were obeying the law, they'd get a ton of sympathy even from non-cyclists. The fact is, since they (CM) are basically being douchebags (see larry's reply on what civil disobediance really means), the rest of us take small pleasure in events like this (even when people get injured). Much in the same way we take pleasure in seeing a passing bird take a crap on the head of some douchebag driving his convertable BMW at 40mph in the lefthand lane on the freeway. Making yourself more important than everyone else is a great way to ensure that someone is gonna eventually put a smackdown on you. Whether they are overreacting or not matters little, since unless you have been ignoring our society's current state, you should know that there are a hell of a lot of irrational people out there. Shit, maybe one of these days someone will put together an anti-CM protest and intentionally cause a confrontation. Maybe even the SPD.

Also, just to remind people once again of this obvious fact, just because a car driver SHOULDN'T cut you off or hit you on your bike, doesn't mean they won't. Doesn't do you much good to be able to declare you had the right of way when you are in a wheelchair or being spoonfed mashed peas the rest of your life (or worse). Conservation of momentum basically sucks for bicyclists.

Posted by Emotionally uninvested bystander | July 27, 2008 7:32 AM

Larry @ 21, you bring up an important point about civility.

(Where is Politeness Man when we need him? A well-placed flying, starched hanky could have nipped all of this in the bud.)

Uncivil disobedience borders on, oh, mayhem? Riot? There are lawas about this, going back to the common law in England.

Posted by CP | July 27, 2008 9:11 AM

Don't believe anything that defends CM AKA: "The Bike Nazis of Seattle" Critical Mass is nothing but a bunch of terrorist militia thugs trying to impose their radical agenda on the public.

They often threaten people and then lie about it when caught. It's their MO. I've seen these guys in action - foaming at the mouth with rage spewing hateful self-righteous filth at anyone who fits their stereotypical profile of a carbon-abuser.

CM gives bicyclists a very bad name, and Seattle a image of intolerance. I wish the mayor and police would stand up to them and treat them like the criminals they are.

Posted by Jim | July 27, 2008 9:12 AM

Lawas? Damn, I can't spell this week. Please don't mind me, just pretend I got hit in the back of the skull with a Kryptonite lock.

Posted by CP | July 27, 2008 9:16 AM

my old roomate and all of his buddies were big fixie guys that rode in CM all the time. some of the biggest alcoholics and troublemakers I've ever hung with
(not that there's anything wrong with that.) for fun, in the midst of a late night bender, they'd move around DOT barricades (and sometimes shopping carts) to set up fake "detours" in the middle of busy roads just to watch cars screech their brakes and get all confused.

those guys'd love the chance to be a part of some vigilante pro-biker mob violence and, truth be told, seemed to be itching for some of that action on the CM rides.

in their defense, the driver sounds like a huge prick who got what's coming to him. but let's not pretend there's not a solid core of CM riders who love stirring up shit.

Posted by bing | July 27, 2008 11:13 AM

You get a few hundred people together in any way, shape or form and you're bound to get some bad apples.

Both sides of this incident reacted terribly but the vast majority of Mass riders are NOT hyper aggressive douche bags.

Posted by justanothercyclist | July 27, 2008 1:48 PM

But if you ride in a group with hyper aggressive douche bags, you ARE one. That's how mobs work. You're backing up the douchebag.

Posted by Fnarf | July 27, 2008 2:57 PM

Four fans at a professional football game get drunk and punch a cop. By your logic the rest of the 30,000 fans are all ass holes too.

Posted by justanothercyclist | July 28, 2008 12:41 AM

@10, Good job posting a link that supports what all of the ANTI-CMers are saying.

The video doesn't show "uneventful riding." It shows a bunch of bicyclists riding illegally and blocking traffic at an intersection.

As others have said, you'd get more support from police and more sympathy from the public and the media if you weren't breaking laws and acting like douchebags when your "protest" leads to road rage...

Posted by Mickymse | July 28, 2008 11:50 AM

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