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Saturday, July 26, 2008

“I Literally Got Run Over”

posted by on July 26 at 20:42 PM

I just spoke with Tom Braun, one of the cyclists hit by an irate motorist during last night’s Critical Mass ride.

Braun—a 35-year-old attorney who says prior to last night, he hadn’t been on a Critical Mass ride in years—says he was moving with a crowd of cyclists on 15th and Aloha when he says he heard the driver of a white Subaru yelling at his fellow riders. “I didn’t see anyone “surrounding” the guy’s car,” Braun says.”I saw some cyclists nicely asking the guy to wait.” Then, Braun says, the driver “just floored it” into a crowd of cyclists.

As the driver pulled away, Braun—who was not part of the group talking to the driver—was caught under the vehicle, and the car rolled over his leg. “I literally got run over,” Braun says. “I was hanging on the front of [the] car. I’m glad he made a left and tried to take off down the road. If he’d turned right, I would have been crushed.”

Braun was taken to the ER, and although he miraculously avoided breaking any bones during the incident, he may have sustained internal injuries as doctors found blood in his urine.

Braun says he’s been consulting with other attorneys about filing a lawsuit against the driver. Braun says he’s also getting ready to do an interview with King 5 in the hopes of setting the record straight. “I saw the media reports this morning and I was shocked,” Braun says. “Somebody’s got to get out what really happened. This was a vehicular assault that could have killed people.”

RSS icon Comments


If he "literally" got run over, he would have been under the car, not on top of it.

Posted by demo kid | July 26, 2008 8:54 PM

...caught under the vehicle, and the car rolled over his leg.

demo kid, we can conclude he was RUN OVER by the car, ok?

Posted by ellarosa | July 26, 2008 9:00 PM

He's a lawyer and a bike rider - perfect storm

Posted by #$@%%^^%$ | July 26, 2008 9:19 PM

The differing stories have a rashomon effect. The more people you talk to, the closer to the truth you're getting. It's really compelling--thanks for the coverage.

Posted by tabletop_joe | July 26, 2008 9:33 PM

Violence on our streets have taken away all of our kindest words. First we lost *Rebulican* (the party of honest Abe) to the massacre a few years back. Now *Aloha* is smeared with by this. What's next, people beating eachother with branches on *Olive*.

Karma is funnier than Carlin.

Karma is older than John McCain.

Posted by kinaidos | July 26, 2008 9:44 PM

"I saw some cyclists nicely asking the guy to wait.”


"excuse me sir, please wait while the name of freedom, righty-o."

Posted by chet, | July 26, 2008 9:45 PM

@1 "not on top of it.

You seem to be confusing Tom (who had to hang "on the front of [the] car") with the guy who had to jump onto the car to avoid getting run over. That latter guy is supposedly the one who clung to the roof rack while the car tried to speed away.

Posted by stinkbug | July 26, 2008 9:45 PM

@ 6 nearly all of the corkers nicely ask the drivers to wait for a minute or two. often they'll also explain what the ride is, etc. A few times in the past corking signs have been used. Unless you've ridden on CM rides and witnessed how it goes down, please don't translate. Thanks.

Posted by stinkbug | July 26, 2008 9:51 PM

I am annoyed by the Critical Mass riders and everything 'bicycle' at this point. Thanks, fucking hipsters, for ruining everything for everyone.

Posted by Todd in Seattle | July 26, 2008 10:28 PM

@8, unless you've been on several Critical Mass rides, and know all the lingo, please don't try to use your streets for their intended purpose. Is that what you're saying? Sounds like it. It's nothing but a big FUCK YOU to your neighbors, which is the opposite of civilization.

Posted by Fnarf | July 26, 2008 10:49 PM

Do many bike riders carry knives capable of puncturing car tires? Or did this car just happen to piss off some crazed Vietnam vet bicycling dude? Maybe a rider so dedicated he uses his bike for deer hunting? I know: an arborist on his way home from work. Maybe he works at a UPS store and forgot to take off his box cutter. Who the hell suddenly thinks to themself, "Hey, I'd better grab my blade and slash that guys tires."? Why not just carry one of those parking strip barrier things that the cops use.

Posted by ROAG | July 26, 2008 10:58 PM

@10 Fnarf, no, that's not what I was saying. Chet seemed to not believe what the witness was saying and I was just pointing out that the witness quote seemed accurate to me.

Posted by stinkbug | July 26, 2008 11:04 PM

A lawyer? Well if his lips are moving, we know he's lying.

Posted by Suthii | July 26, 2008 11:14 PM

This guy rammed bike riders with his car, so who gives a fuck if some hotheads slashed his tires and busted out his windows. He tried to kill them. And this whole CW meme is getting a little thick. Hard for me to believe most the bullshit printed about them being drunk etc etc. I bet it is a bunch of cops posting this shit, or Fnarf doing sock puppetry. What the fuck is wrong with Fnarf calling for the blood of bicycle riders? What a blood thirsty, fat fucking imbecile Fnarf is. Fnarf’s head is way to fucking big, and I bet it is his fault Slog is losing readership. The Stranger needs to lose this turd.

Posted by Fuck Fnarf | July 26, 2008 11:25 PM

I've never ridden with Critical Mass but have tons of friends who do it often, and I've never heard of the bikers intentionally intimidating drivers. Really, it only happens once a month, people should just chill.

Maybe if people in Seattle didn't save all their passive-aggressive rage for bikers, the bikers wouldn't be so quick to react. Almost being hit by a car as a pedestrian and/or biker is way worse than a driver having to wait for a minute or two, or fucking pay attention for that matter.

I'm pretty sure Tom Braun's injuries would fit the legal definition of "substantial bodily harm":

RCW 46.61.522
Vehicular assault — Penalty

(1) A person is guilty of vehicular assault if he or she operates or drives any vehicle:

(a) In a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or

(b) While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, as defined by RCW 46.61.502, and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or

(c) With disregard for the safety of others and causes substantial bodily harm to another.

(2) Vehicular assault is a class B felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

Posted by asteria | July 26, 2008 11:31 PM
Stupid, stupid blockquote failed me.
Posted by asteria | July 26, 2008 11:33 PM

One night I rode my bike home from work as I have every day for years and years, then set out in the car to pick up my partner. Critical Mass in the road in front of me. I've no beef with making a statement as long as it's an good statement . . . But . . . cyclists were riding down both sides of the road. no helmets . . . open beer. Hard to misconstrue "the real statement"

Posted by abiker | July 26, 2008 11:34 PM

Well it is nice to see that we have many eyewitness reports by the bikers involved. Unfortunately, there are no reports from unbiased eyewitnesses here. As such, there is really no conclusion that can be drawn. The Seattle Police say that he was surrounded and broke free in self defense. The Critical Mass bikers say that the driver attacked first. Who do you believe more?

Let the courts decide. That is the purpose for which they were designed. Let's not make some rash judgment based on only telling one side of the story. There was no doubt plenty of evidence left at the scene that will clearly tell which side started the violence. We should focus on that rather than only telling the bikers' side of the story.

Posted by bzishi | July 26, 2008 11:45 PM

Ugh! Did I just call them all bikers? I should probably clarify that I know that they are cyclists before someone righteously lays the smackdown on me for this mistake.

Posted by bzishi | July 26, 2008 11:49 PM

You think with the problems Critical Mass has had with the police that someone would have had a video camera or camera phone....anyone?

The CM people are being self-serving in their statements, and the driver is obviously lawyering up. The African-American woman interviewed on KING was intimidated by the CM mob, and is the only real neutral party who's been heard so far.

Posted by Aaron | July 27, 2008 12:00 AM

1. Did SPD interview the cyclists who were struck by the car and get statements from them? If not, why not?

2. The driver was not acting in self-defense:
a) He wasn't in any danger of bodily injury before he struck the cyclists; even if he thought he was, the legal definition of self-defense relies on what a reasonable person would do.
b) You are only allowed to use necessary force in self-defense, so unless someone comes forward and says a cyclist was holding a gun to the driver's head him driving into people on bikes was totally unnecessary.
c) The driver hit at least one person who wasn't involved in the initial confrontation; he was in fact acting recklessly and caused harm to that cyclist.

3. The people who broke the windows on the cars were also acting recklessly and just stupid. If they hadn't done that, the driver probably would have gotten arrested and it would have been reported much differently in the news.

4. Someone needs to spike the water with anti-testosterone.

Posted by asteria | July 27, 2008 12:26 AM

The driver of the car should be charged with vehicular assault, plain and simple.

On a separate note, as a cyclist who's been the arbitrary target of car road rage, I'd like to say "fuck you" to Critical Mass. By acting like assholes, you are putting us all at risk.

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

@20: Yes, some riders had cameras, but nearly all the riders had passed the spot of this incident when the craziness broke out. Additionally, it's not that unusual to encounter a motorist becoming a little frustrated at having to wait a minute or two for the mass to pass by. There was nothing unique there to photograph (in the moments prior to the driver over-reacting).

Posted by stinkbug | July 27, 2008 12:28 AM

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 treating their ride 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 seen have been.

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 12:56 AM

It's my understanding that "corking" and other practices used by CM are intentional strategies to obstruct the lawful passage of traffic so that the "mass" can move along without observing red lights, making way for oncoming traffic, or, in this case, letting people pull out of parking spots.

If this guy did initiate violence, he should be prosecuted accordingly if that's what required by the statute, but that doesn't change the fact that CM riders appear to be, based on their own advertisements for the events, deliberately and selfishly breaking the law.

They should be fined, and since they claim to be a leaderless, unplanned event, they should all be fined. Every single of them who is in the wrong lane, running a red light, drinking alcohol, blocking an intersection, should be treated the same as any motorist, every time.

Posted by Aaron | July 27, 2008 12:57 AM

WAAAH! This guy is a douche. Fuck him, and fuck "setting the record straight." The record is that all CM assholes get exactly what they got last night.

Posted by joykiller | July 27, 2008 1:21 AM

How did they slash the tires of the car?

I say all drivers should arm themselves on their way home on the last Friday of every month. If you see a knife making its way toward your tires or a bike lock coming to your car, pull a gun.

Posted by Nick | July 27, 2008 1:40 AM

Aaron, I think you misunderstand corking. Its purpose is not to "obstruct the lawful passage of traffic so that the 'mass' can move along without observing red light." Rather, it's to block traffic from side roads so that the mass can remain a mass. This is safer than if a vehicle tries to driver into the middle of a mass. Yes, sometimes riders will go through red lights in order to maintain the mass, but the purpose isn't to run red lights for the hell of it. It's to keep everyone together.

There are times when the mass will be riding on a main street, crossing the intersection (on a green light), and a vehicle on a side street will attempt to make a right turn into the middle of the mass. This isn't good for anyone. And so a rider might temporarily wait in front of that vehicle, preventing him from turning onto the main street, until the entire mass goes by. Again, that has nothing to do with allowing others to run red lights. That has to do with safety. There have been some Seattle CM rides in the past in which motorcycle cops have actually corked intersections for the riders so that cars and bikes don't get all tangled up.

You also imply that the massers don't make "way for oncoming traffic." I don't quite get this. Rarely will riders block oncoming traffic. For example, when riding up 1st Ave downtown, two lanes might be taken, but not all four. If anything, riders *wave* at oncoming traffic. You might be surprised at the amount of waving and smiles that are returned.

Things may go down a bit differently on smaller streets (like Aloha), perhaps due to the fewer amount of lanes. i.e. some small streets have one lane for both directions, with parked cars on either side. For the most part, mass tends to avoid small streets.

Posted by stinkbug | July 27, 2008 1:40 AM

Nick, "they"? Can you site a source that states that multiple people slashed tires? According to the police spokesman, "One bicyclist punched the driver through his open window, and another used a knife to slash the Subaru's tires." Thanks.

Posted by stinkbug | July 27, 2008 1:45 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 2:03 AM

Where's Fnarf???

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

Y'know if everyone just walked we wouldn't have these problems.

Posted by levide | July 27, 2008 2:15 AM

What is the purpose of Critical Mass? To convince every onlooker that bikers are discourteous, self-righteous, hypocritical, aggressively obnoxious dickheads?

If so, then ... kudos!

Posted by Pat McGroyne | July 27, 2008 2:17 AM

Oh damn, I was going to write an overly-dramatic fictionalization for a made for TV movie but Samantha @30 beat me to it! You just need to work in the bicyclist riding away from the collapsing Space Needle, copyright that shit and sell it girl! Critical Mass will wither away in shame. :)

Posted by asteria | July 27, 2008 2:39 AM

My god, Samantha, you're insane.

The imaginative scenario you painted bears little, if *any*, resemblance to what happened on Friday.

Utter disregard for the people who live there? Blocking off "entire streets for lengthy periods of time"? Ignoring "all" the rules of the road? "REALLY aggressive"? "Yelling at passers by, berating people"?

NONE of those items happened on Friday and none of those items happen on other Critical Mass rides. And your description of what happens to the trapped car doesn't even match what happened on Friday.

You're making up pure bullshit to make some point. Go write a novel, but please don't post piss poor analogies here.

Posted by stinkbug | July 27, 2008 2:44 AM

ps @30: Oh, the irony of a driver knocking down knife-wielding anti-choice zombies to protect his unborn child! I hope you get your own column in the Stranger.

Posted by asteria | July 27, 2008 3:14 AM

Wait, so his was *literally* run over, but it didn't break his leg? I call bullshit. It's a Subaru wagon, not a Geo Tracker.

Posted by J | July 27, 2008 5:32 AM

Two words: Piano wire.

Posted by private24 | July 27, 2008 6:13 AM

Nothing like a front bumper and grill to uncork a big bottleneck of whine.

Posted by Bob | July 27, 2008 6:27 AM


Please do not use this word to describe your banal or slightly improbable events.

Posted by jebus h. xst | July 27, 2008 6:57 AM

I'm not a cyclist - you couldn't pay me to ride a bike in traffic here - but I'm honestly shocked that the majority of the comments I've seen in the posts about the accidents. A guy deals with the aggravation of having to wait several minutes to cross the street by driving into a group of people, and the the overwhelming response "they deserve it"? That's pathetic. I don't think the guy deserved to end up with stitches in his head either, but I'm appalled that the driver has't been cited/arrested for his part in this.

Posted by genevieve | July 27, 2008 7:10 AM

if he was not part of the "group" talking to the car, but riding in a group of riders 100 strong (though there was no group at the car as he says) and he was in front of the car pulling out since it hit him from behind how could he see what was going on?

Its obvious BS, just like witnesses 20 feet away hearing the conversation.he got run over by a man trying to escape a situation in which he was fearful.

the CM site talks about NOT blocking traffic, personally i think that CM is lame, but if this is thier protest, then get permits, block the street on a sunday night or morning for a half hour and ride under the police supervision like any other group protest and event.

the city is at fault for letting these events go on without paid police protection, and permits.

Posted by billy bob | July 27, 2008 8:31 AM

Samantha is most correct. There's no doubt that Critical Mass laid the groundwork to create a provocative situation. Although the driver is culpable to a degree, Critical Mass has nowhere to go with any lawsuit against him. Conversely, the driver has no lawsuit against Critical Mass. BOTH sides got way out of hand.

Posted by raindrop | July 27, 2008 8:31 AM

if he was not part of the "group" talking to the car, but riding in a group of riders 100 strong (though there was no group at the car as he says) and he was in front of the car pulling out since it hit him from behind how could he see what was going on?

Its obvious BS, just like witnesses 20 feet away hearing the conversation.he got run over by a man trying to escape a situation in which he was fearful.

the CM site talks about NOT blocking traffic, personally i think that CM is lame, but if this is thier protest, then get permits, block the street on a sunday night or morning for a half hour and ride under the police supervision like any other group protest and event.

the city is at fault for letting these events go on without paid police protection, and permits.

Posted by billy bob | July 27, 2008 8:31 AM

"Wait, so his was *literally* run over, but it didn't break his leg? I call bullshit. It's a Subaru wagon, not a Geo Tracker."

I've had my foot run over by a mid-size sedan and didn't break anything. It actually hurt less and felt like less pressure than getting my foot stepped on in a crowded concert. I don't think it's impossible.

Posted by Patrick | July 27, 2008 8:46 AM

road rage-amon.

Posted by scary tyler moore | July 27, 2008 8:51 AM

More events like this are inevitable as CM gains popularity. I'm sure all CM groups aren't the same, but many of the riders in my city are overzealous political activists looking for a fight.

Deliberately interrupting traffic flow and (in many states) breaking traffic laws is not the way to win friends. Some of the CM-friendly posters seem convinced all CM rides are courteous and law-abiding. Maybe where you live, but not everywhere.

As for this incident, the driver obviously started the conflict and escalated it, but had a legitimate complaint. Would it have been polite to just wait? Sure, but the fact remains, the riders don't have any right to keep people from using the road for even a few minutes. There is a reason some CM events have police escorts and event permits - to avoid this kind of chaos.

All it takes is one inconvenienced guy with a temper. Considering the possible outcomes, I'd say it turned out pretty well for everyone involved.

Posted by Jim L | July 27, 2008 8:57 AM

Wait a minute? Wasn't there a post earlier on Slog about a hit-and-run with a Subaru? Didn't all of you people loudly proclaim the driver a douchebag? What makes this cyclist-flattening Subaru driver a 'victim' and the other cyclist Subaru driver a 'douche'? This guy was inconvenienced for what, a couple of minutes, and decides to plow into some people who dared make him late for his reservations. The other mystery driver was making a right, probably heading to work, and flattened a cyclist and took off.

Wow, hypocritical much?

p.s. Do they ever find out who did the hit-and-run, because I've got a suspect for the police....

p.p.s. From the amount of bitching & whinning that goes on about traffic and cars, why are you bitching & whining about people who are trying to promote an alternative form of trasportation?

Posted by Pink Floyd | July 27, 2008 9:10 AM

@30 has it about right. Critical Mass is quickly turning into the PETA of bicycles.

Posted by L. Sprague | July 27, 2008 9:20 AM

I agree with #24. Critical Mass is more of a local terrorist group than any sort of "civil" disobedience group and should be treated as such. Your terrorist tactics are made even more dangerous by your mob mentality and lack of leadership. I'm sure you'll ALL come forward in your pot-smoke smelling rags and plead your case as the down-trodden underdogs who pedal for peace instead of drive to fuel the oil companies pockets. But, that doesn't give you the right to beat drivers to death because you don't like them. We don't like you either.

Posted by WestSeattleCyclist | July 27, 2008 9:34 AM

Go OKC Potatoes!

Posted by Ed whitson | July 27, 2008 9:39 AM

Hey, Critical Mass folks: GET A PERMIT. Get a fucking permit for your traffic-obstructing events, like any other large group would be rightly expected to do. But you won't, will you? Because your little joyride isn't about "raising awareness" - it's nothing but a power trip for a bunch of douchebags with unspent aggression. Why should you expect us to show any concern about others breaking the laws if you can't show the same respect for them yourselves?

Posted by tsm | July 27, 2008 9:40 AM

DING DING DING. Is there a Godwin's Law corollary for "terrorist"? If so, we have a winner!

Posted by pox | July 27, 2008 9:45 AM

The driver is the perp. The bicyclists are the victims. Where's Dirty Harry? We need someone to stand up for the innocent bicyclists and put the driver in prison for attempted murder.

Posted by John Bailo | July 27, 2008 10:11 AM
Posted by chet | July 27, 2008 10:17 AM

Cops dont know what they are doing either, they are making the crazy fuck driver the victim, and charging 2 bikers with felony and these are not even the bikers who actually hurt the driver or his windows. One of them just slashed two tires because the dude was driving away with another dude on top of his car after intentionally driving into people, and the biker who got arrested tried to stop him with the best ability he can at the moment. if this makes him a "terrorist" "deuchebag" or whatever the fuck you assholes call them, I lost my faith in humanity!

Posted by ece | July 27, 2008 10:21 AM

Seems to me the CM crowd looks for trouble and unsurprisngly they find it. They seem very much like the far right nut jobs who claim moral superiority because of their religion, with the bicycle as their Jesus. Maybe they can get Sean Hannity or George W. Bush to lead their next ride. Bunch of bike-riding fascists is all they are.

Posted by Disgusted | July 27, 2008 10:27 AM

I think Greg Nichols should pin a medal on Critical Mass and thank them for apprehending a crazed madman who could have driven off and killed other innocent people. Even his knocked up wife was screaming at him? What was his blood alcohol level?

The man maimed several and injured property. If he sped off he could have run over more people in the dense streets of Seattle.

I hearby call upon Seattle and the Puget Sound to thank Critical Mass for preventing this felon from hitting and running and from hurting more children with his deadly vehicle.

Posted by John Bailo | July 27, 2008 10:28 AM


Not only did that driver

accelerate his car into a crowd of cyclists

to make his girlfriend happy for her birthday,

he did it in front of her,

almost causing her to lose his unborn child, I'm sure,

and he ran over a lawyer in front of witnesses.

This man is a roaring success as an adult, husband and father.

Posted by Amelia | July 27, 2008 10:48 AM

Amelia, hahahaha, best thing anybody said about the driver so far!!!

Posted by ece | July 27, 2008 10:52 AM

"and he ran over a lawyer in front of witnesses."

A hero in my eyes. Can I get one too?

Posted by vanderleun | July 27, 2008 11:08 AM

Eat shit and die, Amelia.

Your pathetic holier-than-thou attitude exemplifies everything that is repellent about Critical Mass. You vilify the driver, call him "bridge and tunnel" (when it was the CYCLISTS who were from Bellevue), parrot the obviously coached responses of the attackers, and ignore any possibility that they did, in fact start it.

Fuck you and the bike you rode in on.

Critical Mass has zero credibility. We know what they are like; we know what their tactics are and what their responses to criticism are. Their attempts to characterize the driver are lame and obvious. Their equally lame attempts to exonerate Critical Ass from any responsibility can be totally disregarded; they don't have any credibility to sustain them.

Did anyone sit on his car when he was trying to leave? Did anyone shout at him, slap his doors? Did anyone pull in behind him? The first cyclist he struck was blocking him from behind. I think it's quite reasonable to believe that he feared for his safety. I have feared for mine even from a distance when Amelia and her yahoos were out. So have many, many other people. This confrontation was inevitable, and eagerly sought by Critical Mass riders. Now they've got it.

For the record I am a former cyclist and I freely share the road with cyclists. I give them the room they need and have no problem riding behind them for long distances if they need the lane and can't pull over. But that's cyclists. Critical Mass doesn't represent cyclists; they represent petulance, entitlement and aggression. Fuck them. Fuck you, Amelia.

Posted by Fnarf | July 27, 2008 11:12 AM

Corking is illegal. Seattle Municipal Code 11.58.200 allows corking for funerals, parades and processions that have been authorized by the Chief of Police and, under those circumstances, the corking has to be done by cops or by the military. The corking done during the CM ride doesn't meet any of these criteria, so it's illegal. The CM ride has had two violent incidents in recent memory, and both of them have sprung from confrontations over this illegal corking. Attempts to gloss over this fact are fundamentally disingenuous.

That said, the CM ride highlights a real issue: drivers in Seattle regularly endanger the lives of cyclists by refusing to share the road, or just by being shitty drivers. For example: try crossing the street, corner to corner, on Pike or Pine. Try it during rush hour. Ever driver who blows by you without stopping is breaking the law just as egregiously as CM corkers. And the moral offense is greater, because their refusal to yield the right of way to a pedestrian only endangers the pedestrian. There is no physical risk for the drivers. Refusing to yield to a pedestrian at an unmarked crosswalk is the rule rather than the exception: I've been forced to watch dozens of cars blow past me before one stops. By this metric alone (never mind all the other laws they break on a regular basis), Seattle drivers are a dangerous and lawless lot. I fear for my safety every time I step into the street.

The same issue applies, broadly, to cyclists: drivers regularly violate the law in ways that endanger cyclists, and these violations are the rule rather than the exception.

Critical Mass is petulant, obnoxious and aggressive. But the problem they're addressing is many orders of magnitude more obnoxious and dangerous than anything the CM people are doing and if Fnarf is too stupid to recognize that, I believe he can safely be written off for purposes of this discussion.

Posted by Judah | July 27, 2008 11:41 AM

I don't know anything about CM or the Subaru driver. But clearly different people have different impressions of what happened. I thought the point of journalism is to stitch together the truth from the various independent points of view?

By merely uncritically parroting the views of CM participants (and the one "bystander" who said there was "absolutely no physical confrontation.") you are doing a disservice to your readers and stoking the rage on both sides.

Posted by Big Sven | July 27, 2008 11:45 AM

Critical Mass IS NOT ADDRESSING THAT PROBLEM, you fool. They're hurting their own cause. This notion that you can address things that are wrong in the world by throwing a tantrum went out, for most people, at about age five. Critical Mass is full of shit. They're not attracting attention to bike safety; they're amping up hatred of cyclists.

If I'm stupid, what the hell do you call THAT?

Posted by Fnarf | July 27, 2008 11:47 AM

I was there, nobody sat on his car or touched his car before he ran people over; there were some word exchanges like: driver:I am late to my reservation you fuckers
biker:you should have left 15 minutes ago then you wouldnt have been late.

The driver wasnt afraid of the bikers at any level, in fact he did say "Fuck this" before he ran the bikers over. I think this shows he was more mad than scared. Also, he started crying when the police showed up, before he was fine...

Posted by fuck fnarf | July 27, 2008 11:49 AM

Hey, all you need to do is to see the statistics about pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and you know there's a problem.

But being a douchebag for a cause still means that you're a douchebag. Not to mention that you could rewrite what you've said here about drivers, and replace "driver" for "cyclist", and "cyclist" for "pedestrian". Until these assholes actually decide to "share the road", I have no sympathy for their approach.

Posted by demo kid | July 27, 2008 11:50 AM

Do these bike riders meet at some bar ahead of time and get good and sauced up before the ride?!? If so I'll meet up for the next ride. I love drinking and riding!

Posted by Billie Jo Murray - MS | July 27, 2008 12:06 PM

Respectfully, stinkbug (because I appreciate your honest and reasonable response):

"Its purpose is not to "obstruct the lawful passage of traffic so that the 'mass' can move along without observing red light...Yes, sometimes riders will go through red lights in order to maintain the mass, but the purpose isn't to run red lights for the hell of it. It's to keep everyone together."

Massers insist that they are normal traffic, not an organized group event that requires a permit. If that's true, then their "mass" has no particular standing, and they have no more right to "keep everyone together" by choking traffic for a minute or more than do a group of dozens of motorists. Even funeral processions are supposed to obey the light.

Similarly, while your point about right on red is valid, that doesn't appear to be the purpose for which corking was cooked up, and again, it implies some right to maintain the cohesion of the group. A right-on-red turn is a lawful maneuver, and while it's totally unacceptable to cut off a bicyclist and that should be punished harshly, you surely realize how deliberately jamming the passage of traffic by creating what is, essentially, one gigantic vehicle, is going to lead to serious problems.

"There have been some Seattle CM rides in the past in which motorcycle cops have actually corked intersections for the riders so that cars and bikes don't get all tangled up."

This has happened in Chicago, too. It's been a result of the police being unwilling to ticket and prosecute and wanting to prevent violent encounters like have occurred in other cities (and now in Seattle), not a result of it being a sanctioned activity.

"Rarely will riders block oncoming traffic."

I haven't seen what goes on in Seattle, but at least in certain other cities, Massers frequently consume the oncoming lanes of narrow streets, as well, completely shutting down the passage of traffic until they've cleared out.

I have a hard time swallowing that bicyclists were hapless, pacifistic victims in this incident, especially since, even by their own accounts, the Massers' immediate response to a traffic accident was to resort to mob violence. My suspicion is that many, many people involved were acting like asses, and this is just what happens when assholes collide.

Of course, none of this is intended to argue that there isn't a serious safety problem for bicyclists. There is, but that doesn't mean you get to do whatever you want because you don't like the way traffic laws and bike paths are set up or the way drivers act. "Keeping the mass together" is not a legitimate reason to impede other traffic, whether you're in a car or on a bicycle. Nobody would tolerate it for a second if people were "corking" on motorcycles.

Posted by Aaron | July 27, 2008 2:01 PM

Wow, Fnarf, over-react much?

And uh, hey, isn't this pretty much the perfect illustration that we need to work on biker/driver relations in this city, and that maybe there's a lot of pent-up frustration in both directions?

What I think is going unmentioned is how cars seems to make their drivers more impatient, where waiting for 30 seconds or a minute at a light is ungodly annoying and a reason to get violent. Don't really ever see that in a cyclist...

Posted by NaFun | July 27, 2008 3:36 PM


No way. Drivers don't get pissed off about waiting at red lights. They get pissed off when they have to wait for pedestrians or when they have to wait for bicyclists. Occasionally, heavy traffic might piss them off, a rare instance of their getting pissed off at other drivers. But this thread is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. By far, drivers fuck each other over, hold each other up, and put each other in more danger than pedestrians or bicyclists ever could. But do you see drivers getting enraged over that? No. They save their rage for peds and bicyclists -- the people who can get killed by that rage.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 27, 2008 3:53 PM

@63, Thank you for pointing out that corking is illegal in Seattle without police assistance. Hopefully that will stop people from claiming the riders are entirely blameless.

While most of us will never know exactly what happened here, there really isn't any legitimate explanation for why his windows were knocked out and his tires slashed. That is hardly a sign of defensive behavior, but rather anger and retaliation. You can't slash the tires of a moving vehicle and you definitely can't stop an enraged driver by knocking his windows out. If the riders were in fear for their lives, they would be hauling ass, not clumsily beating on the side of his car. If the slashing happened afterwards as some said, then it is still illegal and would never be justifiable as "stopping him from fleeing." The riders who were arrested got what they so justly deserved.

Now look at it from the driver's perspective. He claims he accidentally bumped a stubborn rider who wouldn't move and then was attacked. A quick look at youtube will show you just how aggressive CM riders can be if one gets hit, intentionally or not. If a mob of people did suddenly attack your car, might you get a little panicked and hit more in the chaos? Whether he started the physical conflict or not, attacking his vehicle was a terrible idea that was only going to make things worse.

Posted by Lifogren | July 27, 2008 4:03 PM

So you mean I can run over you bike riding CM fags and road-rash some lawyers at the same time?? - WOW!! - What a great State we live in!! - I'll be there next month!!

"Corking" as you call it is nothing but a way of you assholes detaining a vehicle so that the occupants can be attacked by the gang. Just like a street gang surrounding and taunting someone on the street . . Will they attack them or let them go? . . who knows? . .

You think that because you ride a bike or claim some status of moral superiority that you can engage in illegal behavior? Well guess what? People have had enough of you dickheads and hairy-pitted cunts trying to force yourselves onto the rest of us.

Sounds like you've made some new friends this week who are going to be "attending" your next CM "rally," and who will most likely change your mind about how intelligent it is for you to try to block vehicles . . We'll see how you bike-homo's in your tight pants square up when you're explaining your "corking" to a couple of SUV's full of skins from Renton and Kent . .

And the best part is that now that you've proven yourselves to be punk-asses, we'll get to watch the SPD pepper-spray your asses too!!

Keep up the good work Critical Mass!!!

As is the normally the case when a group consists of a bunch of whiny, holier-than-thou Seattle dickhead individuals, when you form into a group you're your own worst enemy!! - LOL

Can you say "Crash and Burn" . . .

Posted by Dead Bike Riders | July 27, 2008 4:50 PM

It is time for the Seattle Police Department to dramatically step up its enforcement of the traffic laws at these Critical Mass rides. Someone is going to get killed. That's obviously what Critical Mass is looking for, and it's time that someone put them in their place.

Posted by Seattle Resident | July 27, 2008 10:15 PM

We just had a Critical Mass ride in Chicago. To my knowledge, it was a peaceful event.

While I am an ardent bicyclist and support efforts to make cycling safer and more popular, I have to say that Critical Mass is contentious and hostile to motorists. Their huge mass of people were riding through the streets, completely blocking traffic (they weren't riding single file, and they were riding quite slowly). Worse, they were ignoring traffic lights and signs, simply riding through red lights and stop signs without regard for motorists waiting their turn.

This is wrong. It does nothing to advance the cause of bicycling. It simply creates additional hostility between cyclists and motorists, and guess what? In any argument, the cyclist always loses.

We need to help motorists to understand that cyclists have as much right to the streets as motorists. We need to ensure that motorists regard cyclists as traffic, and not as nuisances that can safely be ignored. This isn't going to happen if we continue to alienate motorists by subjecting them to arrogant mistreatment.

We need to obey the traffic laws, and not flout them. We need to respect motorists as we hope they'll respect us. We need to foster an attitude of mutual understanding so that we all can share the roads together, and everyone gets where they're going safely and without inconvenience.

Noisy rallies and clogging the streets isn't going to accomplish this. It gets attention, but not respect.

Posted by Chiron613 | July 27, 2008 11:05 PM

I've never ridden in CM before, but have always enjoyed seeing the mass go by (its nice to see kids out riding with their parents too, CM isn't strictly for Seattle hipsters).

There are going to be people that are aggressive whether they're riding a bike or driving a car. Hopefully people will actually understand that not ALL cyclists/participants of CM would react the same way. Which works vice versa - I'm sure we don't normally aim to hit cyclists when we take to the road in our cars.

@75 above, nicely said.

Posted by e | July 28, 2008 1:27 PM

This story is getting lots of air play on local Seattle radio stations. Of course there are two sides to every story, but it really sounds like the cyclists were out to intimidate. They demonstrated physical violence and intentionally caused damage by breaking glass and denting cars.

I ride and have been hit with eggs by passing motorists. I am all for sharing the road, but I’d never indorse hostility. I’ve read their web site, sound like Critical Mass is ok with picking fights. Not a group for me!

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

Given the aggression and hostility prevalent on our streets and highways between motorists, it doesn't seem very remarkable that CM would absorb and display some of it, but it's something they need to guard against and shuck off, not pass along. Driving, motorcycling, bicycling or walking, one encounters assholes, they're just a fact of life (as this discussion shows); they need to be ignored or if necessary resisted, but not imitated.

Posted by J. X. Rodriguez | July 29, 2008 11:11 AM

Why don't these bike riders start paying vehicle licensing taxes to use the roads before they start complaining about their rights?

Posted by rf | July 29, 2008 4:12 PM

Maybe they should also have to pass a test and receive a riders license. This test could include such difficult maneuvers as:

1. Stopping at posted signs and red lights.
2. Staying on your side of the road.
3. Wearing a helmet.

From the CM rallies I've seen, this simple criteria would take many of these morons of the road!

Posted by rf | July 29, 2008 4:15 PM

Maybe they should also have to pass a test and receive a riders license. This test could include such difficult maneuvers as:

1. Stopping at posted signs and red lights.
2. Staying on your side of the road.
3. Wearing a helmet.

From the CM rallies I've seen, this simple criteria would take many of these morons of the road!

Posted by rf | July 29, 2008 4:15 PM

Maybe they should also have to pass a test and receive a riders license. This test could include such difficult maneuvers as:

1. Stopping at posted signs and red lights.
2. Staying on your side of the road.
3. Wearing a helmet.

From the CM rallies I've seen, this simple criteria would take many of these morons off the road!

Posted by rf | July 29, 2008 4:17 PM

Wait wait wait... I started reading some of these comments while trying to find out more about CM, and this has to be the most outrageous flame-fest I've ever seen. Come on people, let's calm this down and talk about a few facts.

And yes, I saw the news reports. Sounds like road rage to me. Maybe he thought he would intimidate the cyclist enough to stop but it got out of control. Maybe he's a homicidal maniac. That's for the law to decide.

What I'm missing is this... when did the laws and "rules of the road" get set aside so that once a month cyclists could completely take over a road and basically have a cruising party? Now, I know, it's not like that everywhere, and I'm generalizing here. But all the news videos I've seen so far have portrayed it that way.

I cycle frequently for fitness. I also ride a motorcycle as a commuting vehicle, so I'm very familiar with the risks of the road. I also drive a SUV, because winters here in Minnesota can be a bit harsh.

But cyclists have to follow the laws that govern public streets. They have to stay to the right side of the right-most lane, obey all traffic signals and signs, and move with the flow of traffic. They are NOT allowed to impede the flow of traffic in any way, which is why the law requires that they stay to the right, so that automobiles which travel at much higher speeds can pass them safely.

Now, if it was me on a cycle on a CM ride, and a car was trying to turn into traffic but couldn't because we had a parade of cycles 100 yards long, I would probably stop and get those around me to stop to allow the car or cars that were waiting to enter the flow of traffic, and then continue the ride. As a single cyclist, I'm not required to do so - they have to yield the right of way to me as I'm already in the flow of traffic. But you don't make someone wait 30 minutes at an intersection. Common courtesy. Let them in, give them a wave, and I BET you get one back, and that driver gets a much better feel as for what CM is and what it's trying to accomplish.

If you have to flame me, feel free. These are just my two cents worth. Think about it.

Posted by JM | July 29, 2008 4:35 PM

Nothing a couple handfuls of nails on the road won't fix!

Posted by the watcher | July 29, 2008 4:46 PM

The CM people are thugs. The whole group was a mob that placed themselves in a position to create a violent act while breaking many laws. Every single one of them is guilty. None of them should be allowed to bike in the city. Since the police and mayor in Seattle can't respond. I would suggest throwing some rotten eggs at the the CM riders next time. Probably more confrontations are needed to wake up the police. The driver could have been killed. He was lucky. If he had been attending a traffic circle he would have been dead. And the bike perps names would be all over the media. Fortunately they were white and green.

Posted by john | July 30, 2008 2:13 AM

Nails on the road, water balloons and eggs in the air.

Posted by blah | July 30, 2008 10:27 AM

This was not the first time that seattle CM caused problems. They are a bunch of thugs who disrupt traffic and cause problems EVERY TIME. They believe that the sole purpose is to cause as much problems for car drivers as they possibly can. They do NOT want to SHARE the road with cars - they want to TAKE OVER the road. They are the reason I will not ride my bike in the city- I do not want to be associated with the cycle nazis.

I do not mind SHARING the road with bicycles - but when you see on the news that bikes cut people off then chase their car to key it when the driver honks at them (as what happened in Portland, OR) -- and then chase this guy in seattle and slash his tires and assault him after they surrounded him making him feel threatened and wanting to get out of there before he was murdered (obviously his feeling threatened was correct since they chased him and destroyed his car and assaulted him) then you want to share a little less. After what the cycle nazis did - if I was ever surrounded by them I would get out of there as fast as I could no matter how many of them I ran over in order to escape from them. You can bet this incident would be enough defense that people need to escape from them in fear of their lives. Next time, someone will get killed because the driver will (rightfully) fear for their life and get out of there no matter what happens.

If I felt ganged up on and threatened I would get out of there too - and if someone does not move out of the way and I feel threatened and need to escape, then they are to blame if they get hurt. I can't believe the cycle nazis think they had the right to destroy the guys car and assault him and then whine because he was not arrested. It give the impression they believe they were in the right to chase the guy and destroy his car. If this is what critical mass is all about then it needs to be banned because they will end up murdering someone if a driver wants to use the road they have taken over.

I hope these cycle nazis are thrown in jail for a long time. I know many people who will be carrying guns and pepper spray when the cycle nazis (critical mass) is out in seattle. Nobody will allow themselves to be ganged up on or bullied like this guy was. They showed that if you are surrounded by them - run them down to escape otherwise they will kill you. If one of the cycle nazis is killed by a car or a gun, then this incident shows the one who ran them over or shot them had every reason to fear for their lives.

Critical Mass should self destruct - they are nothing but thugs and criminals.

Many people have posted online that they will be counter protesting critical mass - and they will be carrying guns and pepper spray (fortunately I will not be there - although I hope if anyone is hurt or killed, it's the cycle nazis)

Posted by Nicholas | July 31, 2008 1:31 AM

seems like no one gives a shit about these bikers. i feel the same way. fuck em.

Posted by RK | July 31, 2008 5:18 PM

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