Chicago Police were forced to disarm a motorist on Friday after he pulled a gun on cyclists taking part in a Critical Mass protest ride.
Chicagoist reports that Alexander Doty had pulled up at a junction in the Greektown area of the city when some Critical Mass participants sat on the bonnet of his car.
Doty got out, opened the boot, pulled out a handgun and walked back to the front of the vehicle. According to one witness, police were behind Doty's vehicle when this happened and immediately moved to disarm him.
He faces one felony count of aggravated unlawful use of a loaded weapon without firearm owner’s identification.
Critical Mass is a regular protest ride about infrastructure and cyclist safety that takes place in many cities around the world. It has however at times drawn criticism for conflict between participants and motorists.
In 2015, a San Francisco cyclist was caught on film smashing a car window with a bike lock and several participants in the Chicago ride said that a small group had been ‘out of control’ on the day of the incident.
In a statement, organisers made it clear that cyclists should do whatever they could to ensure rides remained peaceful.
“We learned a lot this weekend. Hopefully the biggest take away is that everyone's personal actions on a Critical Mass ride can have an enormous impact on our collective reputation. It should not be a surprise that you are called out for what you have done. If you are not willing to publicly defend your actions on the ride, you should not be participating in a public demonstration.
“We also need to work harder to structure the ride in a way that is safer for everyone. Swarming cars always leads to freak outs, and we are living in a new reality where more and more people are carrying weapons.
“Critical Mass succeeds when we are the Happy Friday people. When we diffuse and deescalate road rage, we prove we are better. When we devolve into swearing, spitting, and fighting, we are written off as part of the problem and not the solution.”