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Monday, July 28, 2008

Critical Mess

posted by on July 28 at 13:38 PM

Reading comments about the Critical Mass ride is like watching piranhas fight in a meat grinder. Everyone is predator and prey: The driver, who allegedly plowed through cyclists; the riders, who allegedly beat an unarmed driver after he got out of the car; the police, who portrayed the driver as an innocent victim; and the mainstream media, which regurgitated one-sided swill. But what does it mean for the future of Critical Mass? Whatís it mean for un-permitted protests?

The problem is Fridayís fracas should have never happened. And by that, I mean, Critical Mass should have never let it happen.

Civil disobedience (i.e., breaking the law to piss people off and make a point) has a rich history in democracies: The Boston Tea Party, civil rights protests, the pot-smoking events in Seattle. Cycling through red lights isnít about human rights, of course, but it’s essentially the same form of political advocacy. Even the crazy Christians with their batshitcrazy signs will trespass, and they will let people get in their face, and scream and threaten them—but neither the insaner-than-though Christians nor the successful movements that used civil disobedience in the past let the temptation drive them to violence.

Breaking traffic rulesócorking, running lights, blocking carsócould be a virtuous act. It could draw attention to the fact that cars often hit riders because drivers are oblivious to cyclists, cars are atmosphere hogs, and we should rely on them less and ride bicycles more. Taking over the streets once a month demands attention and hamstrings the almighty gas-guzzler. The idea is a good one. However, it comes with great responsibility.

Since Critical Massís methodójamming traffic on Friday rush houróis clearly aimed at getting attention by pissing people off, and since they do this every month, and since itís quite predictable that drivers are going to flip out from time to time, the onus is on Critical Mass to be prepared with some leadership and widely understood procedures when they actually succeed at the goal: pissing someone off.

But at that critical moment, Critical Mass made its critical error.

What if the story was about Critical Mass riders showing restraint? A driver gets irate at calm protesters, backs over two bikes, and hurts a rider. It would have underscored the need to raise awareness about urban cyclists. The riders still could have kept the guy accountable after he got out of his car (taking down his name and license-plate number).

But the posse of riders, rather than demonstrating self-governance, showed a total lack of preparedness. Thatís a violation of the trust we give them to ride through the city streets breaking the law. Drivers, pedestrians and ordinary cyclists will be wary of Critical Mass from now on. Sure, maybe the ordeal escalated due to just a few hot-headed riders, maybe they were caught up initially (thatís no excuse for attacking the guy, who allegedly started the entire thing, after he got out of his car), but they need to demonstrate a preferable alternative. They failed. Seattle is right to be critical of the Critical Mass rides from now on. I just hope that they havenít screwed it up for the good riders, the good message that was marred by poor planning, the good protesters, and Seattleís heritage of civil disobedience for social change.

RSS icon Comments


You make no sense. The only problem was one hothead who couldn't wait 30 seconds.

If what you said was true, there would be scores of other complaints.

Where are the other complaints?

Posted by John Bailo | July 28, 2008 1:50 PM

I'm sure Traitor Bob Novak likes your argument.

After all, it was inconvenient for him to stop after hitting the cyclist - so why not use the same argument for the frustrated driver who let his judgment and knowledge of the rules of the road go out the window at Critical Mass?

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 28, 2008 1:53 PM

This is good commentary, Dominick. I find it very disturbing that the CM riders carry knives and are quite ready to use their u-locks as weapons. I am not advocating violence against them by drivers but if they had not surrounded the car they could not have been run over by it.

Posted by inkweary | July 28, 2008 1:55 PM

That's the smartest thing I've read on the incident since it happened, Dom.

Posted by Fnarf | July 28, 2008 2:00 PM

Erica C. Barnett will ride a fixie and live blog the next Critical Mass, next Thursday's .83 ride and this coming Friday's ILLEGAL DEAD BABY DOWNHILL BICYCLE RACE!!!!!!!!


Right on Erica! We welcome you! Thanks for making bicycling safe again by eliminating dump trucks from city streets!

Posted by Bicycle Jihad | July 28, 2008 2:01 PM

Almost everyone who rides in critical mass knows at least one person who has been injured or KILLED by people like this driver. Fighting back was EXACTLY the right move. If drivers are more afraid of bicyclists now, great. That's a lot better than drivers killing bicyclists.

Inkweary, the guy who was run over was just riding down the street at wasn't at all involved with blocking the car or talking to the driver.

Posted by girlgerms | July 28, 2008 2:03 PM

hear hear!

@1 and @2 miss the point. it's called CIVIL disobedience - you don't get to pull a knife, break windows or clobber witha ulock. thanks for pissing in the well though.

Posted by ho' know | July 28, 2008 2:04 PM

0 to 60 in 3.5

But I can't drive 55!

Posted by Sammy Hagar | July 28, 2008 2:08 PM

#6 "If drivers are more afraid of bicyclists now, great. That's a lot better than drivers killing bicyclists."

Exactly. Mutual Assured Destruction.

It provides the greatest security.

My main weapon against errant drivers is the Zounds Air Horn. It emits a blast of a tractor trailer and usually stuns most drivers into submission. I give 'em a blast at intersections and they are stunned for a few seconds while I zip by...

Posted by John Bailo | July 28, 2008 2:10 PM

When you eventually get run over after blowing your horn, John Bailo, and your head bursts like a watermelon, civilization will be just a little bit brighter from then on.

Posted by Fnarf | July 28, 2008 2:12 PM

@6 this kind of thinking and commentary is what convinces me that critical mass is just a bunch of terrorists. explain me this then; all these people saying that nobody ever has the right to use their car as a weapon and yet someone clocked a guy in the back of the head with a u-lock. who gave him the right? grow up.

thanks Dominic. this is the kind of perspective we need.

Posted by Jared | July 28, 2008 2:14 PM

@6 You're so right. Now drivers will be afraid of packs of cyclists. Now the next guy who runs afoul of some CM posse will run over more riders and not bother to stop. Now it's self defense.

Knowing what I know now, I would absolutely drive myself out of that situation no matter how many people I had to run over to do so. The alternative could be my life.

Posted by Dipstick | July 28, 2008 2:15 PM

Great commentary, and a different perspective on the incident.

Posted by Julie | July 28, 2008 2:16 PM

Violence is wrong. Period. And if critical mass thinks this is good public relations, they could not be more wrong.

Posted by Vince | July 28, 2008 2:17 PM

Very thoughtfully put, Dominic.

Posted by rb | July 28, 2008 2:18 PM

You get $150 for each cyclist you run off the road, and a $200 bonus if you kill the cyclist. Guess where I am driving my Hummer at for the next CM ride!!!

Posted by Just Me | July 28, 2008 2:21 PM

Simply put the bicyclists are breaking the law. They should be arrested and charged with obstructing traffic, failure to obey traffic signs, disorderly conduct and vandalism.

The car driver should face no charges.

A point needs to be made by the rude and inconsiderate bicyclists who insist that no rules apply to them.

Anyone who engages in corking should be fair game if they intentionally block traffic.

They need to fear getting injured as much as I do when I'm driving my automobile. Until such time as they fear putting themselves into traffic's way, this will continue.

If you bicyclists are so brave about your right to block roads, why don't you try crossing the interstate some time?

That horseshit game of chicken you play needs someone getting killed so that you learn a lesson.

Yes it has come to that. Bicyclists are not and will never be equivalent on the roads to motorized transportation. Only you foolish activists believe otherwise.

Better yet. I think Tim Eyeman should start a petition banning bycycles from city streets during rush hour traffic. Enough is enough. Let's put some teeth into a measure that mandates strict tabs and licensing for those who want to ride in traffic on city streets and play with cars. Anyone found breaking a law by corking, has their license removed for life.

Problem solved.

Posted by Critical Stupidity | July 28, 2008 2:22 PM

Well written, Dominic. I think you're exactly right.

If CM had shown restraint and not fucked up the Subaru or assaulted the driver with a U-lock, everyone's sympathies would be with them, mine included. But since they instead let their civil disobedience degenerate into mob violence, I have a hard time feeling sympathy for any of them, save the one cyclist who was injured by the car.

Posted by Hernandez | July 28, 2008 2:22 PM

#7 and #11 and #14: Violence is plenty justified when someone is ASSAULTING YOU WITH A DEADLY WEAPON.

#9: "Mutually assured destruction" means both groups are destroyed. A bicycle has never killed a car driver. Many many car drivers have killed bicyclists.

#12: Awesome, I hope that happens so we can send a sociopath (you) to prison for life where you belong.

Posted by girlgerms | July 28, 2008 2:23 PM

"The car driver should face no charges."

What fantasy world do you live in?

Since when is attempted vehicular manslaughter permissible?

You're a fucking bag of douche.

Posted by AMB | July 28, 2008 2:24 PM

I support efforts to get more cyclists on the road, and the more people riding bikes, the more government/society will be forced to move away from thinking only about the needs of cars and drivers. This is a very important issue to me. But I don't see CM as helpful in this effort at all. I wish they would either change their tactics or just go away.

That said, it is very clear that the car driver's statement to the Stranger was a load of BS and it is amazing how many commenters took him for his word. Would they be so unskeptical of a statement from one of the cyclists? Hardly.

Posted by cyclist | July 28, 2008 2:24 PM

Well said, Dominic. Thanks for your level-headedness.

Posted by BB | July 28, 2008 2:27 PM

@19 you said: Violence is plenty justified when someone is ASSAULTING YOU WITH A DEADLY WEAPON.

ergo, if I hit you with my car because you are assaulting me (or threatening to assault me) with your knife or u-lock or bicycle, I'm justified. It's self defense. You said so yourself.

Posted by Dipstick | July 28, 2008 2:29 PM

MPLS Critical Mass has cops that ride along and block the roads. It all stemmed from an incident last August when a small riot broke out. Initially, CM was blamed. Turns out later that the cops had planted instigators in the CM crowd to usher in an altercation. Watch for more instigators this fall in St Paul. It has been a topic of discussion in MN for quite a while. They are trying to spot the anarchists. We will see if it becomes another NY04. PS Critical Mass is really fun. As a cyclist and bike commuter, I see it's blatant hypocrisy, but I think everyone should try it once. Car drivers have their own critical mass on the roads every day. And I for one don't believe a word that driver says. He was irrational from the start.

Posted by ZWBush | July 28, 2008 2:30 PM

#23: Absolutely. If someone comes at you with a knife you can absolutely hit them with your car or shoot them or whatever to defend yourself. This rule does not apply if someone is just standing in front of your car telling you not to run over the people in front of you.

Ummm, that's pretty basic. Do we need to cover not trying to breathe when you're underwater now?

Posted by girlgerms | July 28, 2008 2:34 PM

This argument is makes me laugh. The bikers say they were attacked using his car as a weapon.
The driver was attacked by a angry mob of bikers who used their bikes as a barricade blocking him in (isn't that hostage)
Innocent Lawyers who just happen to be directly in front of the car gets ran over.
Driver is gay (just throwing that out there cuz he did).
Driver gets hit with a U-Lock, tires slashed, and windows broke, but the CM folk say this is untrue.
Every outlet has a different version painting one side or the other victim. Every aspect is different from how long they car was blocked, to the different attempts the driver made to remove himself from the situation.
Drivers look out for bikers.
Bikers look out for Cars and or walkers especially if you are on the sidewalk.
Walkers look both ways before crossing the street and only cross on green.
All commuters pay attention just because you do not like, walking, buses, bikes, cars or SUV's does not mean it is ok to disrupt the local flow of such modes just because.

Posted by Critical Dumbasses | July 28, 2008 2:42 PM

Dominic, what Fnarf @4 said--smartest thing I've read about the fracas yet.

Posted by lostboy | July 28, 2008 2:43 PM

As someone who commutes daily via bike and rides frequently, I have only one thing to say to the cyclists who hit the driver and damaged his car, THANKS ALOT YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES!. I'm not normally scared of drivers in the city, I've been around, drivers don't pay attention, whatever, but now I have to worry that some dick who heard about this in the news is going to intentionally try to kill me. Critical Mass has succeeded in accomplishing exactly the opposite of its intentions.

I'm totally behind you dominic, everything that happened after the driver moved down the street was a mistake and the cyclists deserve every bit of blame for what happened, they turned an tragic accident into an intentional and riotous assault. If it had stopped at the driver moving away, I'd say the driver should get a ticket. But it didn't, and based on what did happen, I think the riders should all be thrown in jail.

But, what I'd really like to see is somebody from Critical Mass step up and make some sort of admission of fault for their mistakes. They obviously have no reputation to lose at this point.

Posted by Super Jesse | July 28, 2008 2:43 PM

Girlgerms -- then you seem to have missed the point of my initial post @12.

What I am saying is, all that CM has managed to accomplish is to make drivers now fear that they could be attacked when surrounded by "empowered" CM riders. If drivers feel their well-being is threatened by riders (as we all now know that CM riders may well resort to violence) they may choose to extricate themselves from said threatening situation by driving their car through said threatening riders.

It's called following a logical thought to an (only somewhat) illogical conclusion.

Do we need to cover irony now?

Posted by Dipstick | July 28, 2008 2:44 PM

the driver's description just rings more true to me. people who say he wasn't justified in trying to escape are not being honest. either he was not threatened, or he was. if he was, then even as someone who rides a bike on city streets often, i'm thinking i should cut him some slack. i'm not sure i'd make the best choice if i thought a "mob" was mad at me, and heard a suggestion that my car be flipped.

and getting hit over the head with a u-lock? there was no cause for that. the eyewitness stories that paint CM as entirely peaceful and polite are seriously questionable -- though it sounds like one of the cyclist victims was not one of the cyclist instigators.

this is a great post by dominic. no vigilante assault afterward, and i sympathize with the cyclists. but since there was (despite some of the witnesses saying there wasn't any) it makes me both doubt their story and believe they were capable of threatening to begin with.

Posted by infrequent | July 28, 2008 2:45 PM

The driver's statement passes the smell test, which none of the CM statements does. He described an emotional scene of confusion, not one of cartoon evil, with perfectly quoted dialog, like the cyclists did. The driver's picture also much more closely resembles what I've seen with CM, which is hardly a group of perfect innocents standing around modeling their Joan of Arc poses. Also, there is history here: and the cyclists' reports don't resemble the many, many incidents associated with CM rides here and elsewhere.

In short, the driver sounds credible, and the cyclists do not.

Posted by Fnarf | July 28, 2008 2:46 PM

For the record, rb and, now, Dom have been carrying the intellectual water on this one.

And girlgerms is our extra special ALL CAPS BRAIN FART winner. I haven't agreed with a thing you've written, including "and" and "the." (With apologies to Mary McCarthy).

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 28, 2008 2:49 PM

@25 in this post you say the run over fellow was stopped in front of the car and in @6 you say he was riding down the street. Which story do you want us to believe? You can't just change scenarios to suit your arguments and remain credible.

Posted by inkweary | July 28, 2008 2:50 PM

Good luck looking for leadership--CM has always made a snooty point about not having leaders, with everyone doing their own thing. That's how they wind up with someone cold-cocking the driver from behind, after he got out of his car, and everyone trying to pawn it off as a citizen's arrest. That should draw a few belly laughs in the holding cell.

Posted by Toe Tag | July 28, 2008 2:50 PM
In short, the driver sounds credible, and the cyclists do not.

Cool, so you're saying the driver almost killed someone without really any cause, and then he got attacked so he wouldn't hurt anyone else? Because that's what the driver said and apologized for.

I want to apologize to [the cyclists]. I didnít mean for it to happen. It was terrifying for me. I was pissed off, I overreacted, I didnít pay attention to what I was doing and Iím sorry for it.
Posted by girlgerms | July 28, 2008 2:53 PM

#33. Please read the coverage. The second time I was talking about dipstick's hypothetical.

Posted by girlgerms | July 28, 2008 2:56 PM


Good post--I was composing mine above while you were writing this, I suspect. Kudos for all points about Civil Disobedience.


Posted by Chicago Fan | July 28, 2008 3:02 PM

thanks, dominic. very well put.

Posted by happy renter | July 28, 2008 3:06 PM

it seems patently obvious to me we need less critical mass, and more self-critical mass

Posted by kinkos | July 28, 2008 3:08 PM

@35. the driver said that he felt scared and threatened, and that he heard someone suggest flipping his car over. i would hardly call that, as you do, without any cause.

not only that, his story does ring true. he's sorry. he admits he did something stupid. what about that don't you agree with? this from a driver who by all accounts pulled half-way off the road and was (initially) waiting for the group to ride by.

Posted by infrequent | July 28, 2008 3:08 PM


Since when is attempted vehicular manslaughter an actuall crime? Do you understand the term manslaughter? The word attempted? Attempted would mean intent. The two words don't go together - EVER. Back to school fool.



ASSAULTING should be ASSAULTED as he wasn't in the process of assulting anybody when HE was attacked. BIG difference.

Posted by cochise. | July 28, 2008 3:17 PM

#40. I don't disagree with anything the driver is now saying. I disagree with the people here who are saying this is somehow the victim's fault. I disagree that possibly hearing "let's flip the car over" is justification for vehicular assault or murder. I disagree that the bicyclists' reaction was inappropriate.

Posted by girlgerms | July 28, 2008 3:18 PM

i think it's cute how CM participants disregard the traffic laws, signs, and signals that exist for the sole purpose of preventing this kind of thing from happening, and then get all huffy when something goes awry. and the way they truly believe they're doing something effective for their cause. it's downright adorable.

Posted by brandon | July 28, 2008 3:23 PM

you're the cutest brandon!

Posted by sam hill | July 28, 2008 3:31 PM

Dominic, thanks for finally writing a post that so much as suggests that the bikers were in the wrong.

Was the driver wrong to behave as he did? Yes, absolutely. However, someone breaking a law does not give you the right to break laws yourself. Call the damn cops next time, CM. Vigilante justice is wrong, too.

I'd also venture that the Slog is wrong for allowing their well-known bias toward cyclists over drivers to color their coverage.

Posted by hillside_hoyden | July 28, 2008 3:34 PM

We may be like piranhas, but you don't drive your car into a piranha-filled river, do you?

Posted by Critically Massive | July 28, 2008 3:39 PM

As a walker/transit rider I'm almost ran over by either a bike or a car at least two to three times a's about 50/50 split between bikes and cars as the perp.

so, in summary:

people who drive cars: assholes

people who ride bikes: assholes

those of us who don't own a bike or car and walk or take transit: Beyond reproach

Posted by michael strangeways | July 28, 2008 3:41 PM

The driver should tried and executed for war crimes against the cyclist diaspora.

We stood idly by while the Third Reich exterminated Jews; we will not be silent this time around.

Posted by ru shur | July 28, 2008 3:44 PM

"Do you understand the term manslaughter? The word attempted? Attempted would mean intent. The two words don't go together - EVER. Back to school fool."

Um, maybe it's YOU who should go back to school:

Reference to Attempted Manslaughter -

Definition of Vehicular Manslaughter - Vehicular manslaughter is a kind of misdemeanor manslaughter, which holds persons liable for any death that occurs because of criminal negligence or a violation of traffic safety laws.

If you need any other help parsing the English language, feel free to read a fucking book.

Posted by AMB | July 28, 2008 4:00 PM

I've been in a similar situation-- a scary, scary situation. I was young, only 17, and heading down to the river to get some nice necking time in with a high school fling. We drove down what we thought was an abandoned a levy and, on accident, crashed a party. The people were a few years our senior and had obviously been drinking. We didn't do anything to piss them off. In fact, as soon as we saw them, we wanted to turn around and leave.

But they weren't having that. They were going to get their kicks by scaring the shit out of a couple of kids. One of them had a knife-- and was brandishing it-- and they were all yelling at us and pounding on my car. Even though my doors were locked and my windows were rolled up, I have never in my life been more terrified. Never in my life did I fear for my personal safety-- for my LIFE-- more than I did at that moment.

The mob of people had me trapped there on the levy. (And yes, yes, I grew up in a cowtown.) There was no where for me to go. Down into the river? Attempt to drive my little Honda up the side of the levy? I couldn't turn around, I was stuck.

I ended up driving, as fast as I could, in reverse, down the levy until I got to a point where I could drive up the levy wall. It trashed my car, and my emotional state, but I made it through okay. Had they been surrounding me, had reversing not been an option?

I would have, without a shadow of a doubt, driven through (and potentially over) the mob.

Our laws take that into account. It doesn't matter if the bicyclists were going to kill the driver of the car, all it matters is that the driver of the car had reason to believe that, should he stay in the situation, he risked being seriously injured and/or killed.

By attempting to drive through the angry mob, the one shouting at him, saying that they were going to "flip his car," the one that was trying to open his car doors and was pounding on his hood... In the eyes of the law, the driver had EVERY RIGHT to attempt to leave.

In no way was he in the wrong-- and in EVERY way CM was wrong. They were breaking the law to begin with, and when confronted with that reality, instead of being rational they reacted with intimidation, aggression, and violence.

Is jaywalking a crime punishable by death? No way in hell. But if I accidentally hit a jaywalker, who walks in front of my car when I have the right-of-way, am I liable? Was that "assault with a deadly weapon?" NO. If someone is driving their car erratically-- running stoplights, driving on the wrong side of the road-- and I accidentally hit and kill them, am I liable? Was THAT "assault with a deadly weapon?" NO. If someone breaks into my house to steal my DVD player and I catch them, hit them with a frying pan, and accidentally kill them, am I liable? Was THAT "assault with a deadly weapon?" NO.

In the MOVING car versus pedestrian or bicyclist fight, obviously the car will win. But in the PARKED car versus pedestrian or bicycle fight, the winner is going to be whoever has the weapons. And, with their knives and bike locks, the CMers had the weapons-- and used them. And, from all accounts, brandished them first. Giving the driver of the car the right, in the eyes of the law and otherwise, to drive through the crowd-- to get out of there by ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

Why are the CM defenders so quick to spout off about the "law" when they obviously don't know anything about it? Why are the CM defenders so quick to scream "ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON!!!!" When, in fact, the only person who sustained serious injuries was the driver of the car? Um, guess what, geniuses? The bike lock? Ya. Assault with a deadly weapon.

When the CMers try to paint a picture of a crazed maniac who saw a crowd of innocent, demure bicyclists and decided to viciously run them down, they destroy what little credibility they had and make themselves out to be the self-righteous, ignorant, sanctimonious douche-bags that they really are.

You know what the best way to not get run over by a car is? DON'T STAND BEHIND A CAR.

Posted by Been there, done that. | July 28, 2008 4:25 PM

excellent post, Dom. dinner's on me when next we meet.

Posted by scary tyler moore | July 28, 2008 4:26 PM

"jamming traffic on Friday rush hour ... itís quite predictable that drivers are going to flip out from time to time"

It should be noted that Friday's ride began at about 6:30pm. The Aloha incident occurred at about 7:30pm. The incident had nothing to do with jammed rush hour traffic.

Posted by stinkbug | July 28, 2008 4:28 PM

@49 - the case you cite to states that attempted manslaughter is not a crime in New York state. Some states do have "attempted manslaughter," although this doesn't really make sense - manslaughter is basically an unlawful killing that was committed without the intent to kill (such as in the criminally negligent operation of a vehicle). An "attempt" means that you have the intent to commit a crime, and try to commit it, but you don't pull it off. So, by definition, "attempted manslaughter" is an oxymoron. I don't know what the law is in Washington state.

Posted by jon c | July 28, 2008 4:29 PM

No such thing as "attempted manslaughter" in Washington state

Posted by jon c | July 28, 2008 4:33 PM

@50 - Finally somebody with some brains lays it down right. Pay attentions kids, this is why the driver didn't get charged or cited.

Posted by Super Jesse | July 28, 2008 4:33 PM

@ 49 Please do your research.

Washington state only has Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Homicide.

Cite from the RCW, or Washington State case law, not random cases from the NY State Court of Appeals.

Posted by M | July 28, 2008 4:49 PM

@50, thank you for posting that. Great comment.

Posted by Nick | July 28, 2008 4:55 PM

Thanks, Super Jesse.

I also think it's great how little the CMers understand of the law, and yet they just keep citing alleged "crimes" that the driver of the car needs to be charged with...

"ATTEMPTED MANSLAUGHTER?!" WTF does that even meen? You didn't kill someone accidentally on purpose?

And, even if someone HAD been killed in this incident, the chances that the driver of the car would ever see a vehicular manslaughter charge are slim-to-none-- there is enough solid evidence and enough wrong doing on the part of CM for a super-solid self-defense case. End of story.

Oh, and my favorite comment? AMB's definition of vehicular manslaughter:

"Definition of Vehicular Manslaughter - Vehicular manslaughter is a kind of misdemeanor manslaughter, which holds persons liable for any death that occurs because of criminal negligence or a violation of traffic safety laws."

Catch that kiddos? ...BECAUSE OF CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE OR A VIOLATION OF TRAFFIC SAFETY LAWS. Know who's guilty of that?... I'll give you a hint: it's not the dude in the Subaru!

Posted by Been there, done that. | July 28, 2008 4:56 PM

Read how CM thinks these things should go. No permits, because cars don't need a permit (no just a license). Obey laws. Don't harass drivers. Seems they don't follow any of it; everything in here is opposite of reality of their "celebrations of cycling." Pathetic.

Nice take, Dominic.

Posted by calvin | July 28, 2008 5:06 PM

@42. read 50. read 31. read what the driver wrote. both parties were at fault here, so quit pretending the driver is the only one. and considering all the accounts, the driver's story seems most believable, and he seems the most credible.

Posted by infrequent | July 28, 2008 5:14 PM

Critical Mass members need to get some non-violence training. Maybe the University Friends Center can facilitate some sessions for them. Engaging your adversary in respectful dialogue is a central tenet of Civil Disobedience. Too bad that didn't happen over the weekend.

Great insight, Dominic.

Posted by CripKev | July 28, 2008 5:41 PM

@49 I've had pie on my face before, LOTS of pie, but no does it taste?

I pitty you fool.

Posted by cochise. | July 28, 2008 5:46 PM

Oh come on, the difference between having your car attacked by a bunch of lunatics out in the boonies and having a confrontation on a city street wtih a group of people using the road is huge.

This was road rage, a fight between assholes on both sides, not some driver taken hostage!?!

I tend to support CM because

1. Their offense that started this whole fight should have been tolerable. There are all sorts of things that get into our way in the road. Half the city streets seem to be torn up right now. Fine you don't like them but they're in front of you and they're moving so let it go.

2. There are clearly aggro people in CM but thank god there's no real group of people as bloodthirsty and angry as the internet tough guys who are stroking themselves while explaining JUST WHAT THEY'LL DO WITH THEIR CAR *next time*.

I can only imagine the beating you'd deliver if your way around the traffic circle was blocked by a cone.

Posted by daniel | July 28, 2008 5:48 PM

I don't trust Critical Mass to not piss their own pants, let alone break the law. I didn't ask them to be assholes and piss people off, or to pick fights, or to 'represent' bicyclists. They don't represent me. We don't need a bunch of idiotic, self-absorbed once-a-month jackholes stinking up our streets like this.

The long and the short of this incident is that if Critical Mass didn't cork, didn't attack drivers, and didn't flaunt the laws, nothing would have happened and nobody would be hurt.

I look forward to the day that CM runs up against a truly organized pedestrian group and bites the dust.

Posted by NoNeedForMassHats | July 28, 2008 6:20 PM

Here is a youtube video that someone took of the ride.

Wow, they look scary and mean.

Posted by MichaelSnyder | July 28, 2008 8:09 PM

@65 You know what this shows first and foremost? A BLATANT disregard for the same laws that you expect drivers to adhere to.

Posted by TheMisanthrope | July 28, 2008 8:36 PM

"I look forward to the day that CM runs up against a truly organized pedestrian group and bites the dust."

Haha basement dwelling internet couch potatoes are always looking forward to something.

Posted by daniel | July 28, 2008 8:50 PM

I agree by the large, dom. However, I am certain that had nothing happened to the driver of the car no press coverage would have occurred at all. For example, there is nothing printed about the two guys who fell on 19th.
I think it's important to remember also that critical mass has no leadership and hence no pivotal cause. It isn't necessarily civil disobedience. I don't think that running red lights at critical mass is a statement against traffic laws. I'm not comfortable calling CM anything other than a bike ride or a celebration. It is certainly not a protest.

Posted by Benjamin | July 28, 2008 8:56 PM

Here is a flickr photo of some guy in front of a white Subaru wagon.

Wow, they look scary and mean.

Posted by this is relevant how | July 28, 2008 9:05 PM

Right on, Dominic. Except...

That's a violation of the trust we give them to ride through the city streets breaking the law.
We? Who is this "we"?

I don't remember when "we" gave Critical Mass any trust at all. "We" were never consulted. Critical Mass just went ahead and created this debacle all on their own, without ever stopping to ask what "we" wanted.

Anyhoo. Good post. Fuck Critical Mass.

Posted by elenchos | July 28, 2008 9:29 PM

Why do I have the feeling that a lot of Critical Mass riders are also the corpsefuckers you see out on the Burke-Gilman and Sammamish river trails bombing along like they're doing a stage in the Tour de France while completely ignoring the fact that they're on a mixed use trail with people, horses and slower cyclists?

Posted by wile_e_quixote | July 28, 2008 10:08 PM

Congratulations Clinically Messed-up Riders.

This will escalate Ė†and it won't end well.

Posted by Gavin | July 29, 2008 12:06 AM

@70, BRAVO! No one ever gave Critical Mass the "trust" to break the law. The Seattle Police Dept. ought to go into those monthly illegal parades and start arresting the bullies. Then search them for drugs and weapons, and charge accordingly.

Seattle should be suspicious of CM now? No, it's beyond that. The "community" wants these people brought to heel, now.

Posted by Seattle Resident | July 29, 2008 1:26 AM

@70, BRAVO! No one ever gave Critical Mass the "trust" to break the law. The Seattle Police Dept. ought to go into those monthly illegal parades and start arresting the bullies. Then search them for drugs and weapons, and charge accordingly.

Seattle should be suspicious of CM now? No, it's beyond that. The "community" wants these people brought to heel, now.

Posted by Seattle Resident | July 29, 2008 1:30 AM
Almost everyone who rides in critical mass knows at least one person who has been injured or KILLED by people like this driver. Fighting back was EXACTLY the right move. If drivers are more afraid of bicyclists now, great.

Sweetiepie, my vehicle weighs 5,500 pounds. I am not afraid of bicyclists.

Posted by Sick of It | July 29, 2008 1:37 AM
Sweetiepie, my vehicle weighs 5,500 pounds. I am not afraid of bicyclists.

Oh, how sweet -- another not-so-veiled threat from someone with a dangerous weapon.

Tell me again, who are the assholes here?

Posted by Disputo | July 29, 2008 2:50 AM

Despite my feelings on this situation, I'm pro-bike. But when riding my bike I try to remember one very important fact:
I'm putting my fragile and squishy body on an inherently unstable vehicle and placing it amongst a bunch of really stable vehicles built to run into each other and protect the squishy bodies of those inside. I will not win.

If certain bikers (I won't even lump all of CM into this - some ARE just out for a good time and to raise awareness in a positive way) think that by breaking traffic laws, obstructing traffic or threatening those they believe are not kowtowing to their bikey message, that they are somehow NOT still on the losing end of the bike v. car equation, they are fools. They don't deserve to be hit, but they shouldn't be surprised if they are.

Posted by Dipstick | July 29, 2008 7:01 AM

LOL - Don't run them down with your car, that can scratch yoru bumber . . Go to Home Depot and get a 3-pack of dry chem fire extinguishers for $12 like I just did . . It blows them right off their bikes and leaves them nicely powdered up and crying like the whiney little bike-pussies they are . . And you don't even have to really directly shoot them . . Just blast the cloud of dry-chem right in front of them as they ride along and watch them eat shit as they frantically try to avoid it . . HAHAHAHAHA ..

Posted by Dead Bike Riders | July 29, 2008 9:38 AM
Tell me again, who are the assholes here?

Sweetiepie told me that I'm supposed to be afraid of bikes. I think I did a public service by reminding Sweetiepie of the laws of physics. Sweetiepie better stay out of my path, or Sweetiepie will be crushed.

Posted by Sick of It | July 29, 2008 10:39 AM

Dominic, you are right. Now all you have to do is limit the CM rides to riders aged 40 and up, and you can drastically cut down on the hothead factor. Er...

Posted by CP | July 29, 2008 6:13 PM

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