Hit and runs reported at London Critical Mass ride + VIDEO

Late Friday night protest run ends in injury and disarray

by Sarah Barth   July 27, 2013  

Critical Mass pic credit Lap Fung Chan Flickr Creative Commons

 

A series of hit and run incidents has been reported by cyclists attending a Critical Mass ride last night in London.

Road.cc has been made aware of a number of eyewitness accounts and videos of disturbing events including at least one female rider ‘run over like a speed bump’.

The cameraman wrote on YouTube: “Unfortunately my video doesn't capture what happened just before. But from what I saw and what I pieced together, the driver of this BWM pushed forwards into someone holding traffic at the junction in the background, they went over onto the hood of the car, their bike went under the wheels.



“He seemed to walk away from that without being hurt. Car then accelerated through and was aggressively weaving though and past other cyclists and then that's when the video picks up. He clips the cyclist next to me, who then falls backwards onto me. 

“The details then get sketchy here, but another silver car (astra maybe?) also accelerates across the junction further up the road and literally runs over a female cyclist, she was then taken to hospital to check her over.

"It looked like the car had driven over her leg.

“Then while everyone is recovering from this and we're talking to the Police a 243 bus then knocks another cyclist over. No details on that one though.”


A road.cc reader, Elisabeth Anderson, contacted us with her eyewitness report of the incident. She said:

We'd cycled past Russell Square and were waiting at the lights to turn left into Theobald's Road and CM was pretty much finishing but there was a short hold-up so we stopped at the lights behind some cyclists on the left of the road.

I was standing next to a friend chatting waiting to move off and noticed a silver Astra in the right-hand lane as the passenger was talking to some cyclists. Initially I thought she was just chatting but after a while I realised she was shouting at cyclists. A couple of people talked to her but then started to just ignore her and she stopped shouting.

A few seconds later I heard a revving engine and the Astra lurched forwards hitting a group of cyclists and knocking them out of the way.

People started to shout to stop but the car accelerated through more cyclists, knocking them to the ground until the driver hit a woman from behind who was waiting at the lights at the junction.

The driver just knocked her over and drove right over the top of her and her bicycle. We were a few feet away and I don't think I'll ever forget the sight of a car driving over a person like she were a speed bump.

The car then accelerated down Kingsway, leaving the woman injured and lying in the road. A number of of went after the driver, although not sure what we would have done if we caught him, but at least managed to get the registration number and description of the vehicle.

The driver ran straight through a series of red lights and after a few miles chase through London,  we lost him. A guy that was trying to catch him up realised we'd lost the car.

He got off his bike and doubled up and broke down that we'd not managed to catch the driver.

I phoned my friend and he was still at the ride so I went back, fully expecting to find a dead body, but the woman was miraculously not severely injured. She had scrapes and bruises and was being taken off to hospital as the police took details.

Maybe some people feel that they are held up by cyclists but whatever the reason they justify this to themselves, this person decided to use a vehicle as a weapon against an entirely innocent person but this driver will be going to prison now. There are many witnesses and all of whom will not let this rest until this driver faces the consequences of this violent act.

Critical Mass rides are controversial both within and outside the cycling community.

Five cyclists arrested during Critical Mass on the night of the Olympic Games opening ceremony last July were found guilty at Westminster Magistrates' Court of offences relating to a breach of section 12 of the Public Order Act.
Nine people originally went on trial earlier this month from a total of 182 people originally arrested, but three were discharged earlier on during the proceedings.

In common with most Critical Mass rides around the world, the one in London, which began in April 1994, does not have organisers and is viewed by participants not as a protest but as a celebration of cycling.

It gathers at the South Bank on the last Friday of each month and heads off on an undefined route that will often take in locations such as Parliament Square.

In 2005, the Metropolitan Police sought to have ‘organisers’ submit a route for authorisation six days before each Critical Mass in London in line with Section 11 of the Public Order Act 1986.

One participant sought and obtained a declaration from the High Court that Critical Mass should be exempt from those requirements, and while the police successfully appealed to the Court of Appeal, the House of Lords upheld the original decision that no notification is required.

On the night of the Olympic opening ceremony on 27 July, police had warned participants to stay on the south side of the Thames and away from the Olympic Park.

A message on the London Critical Mass website at the time said: "Most London cyclists will know about the regular monthly Critical Mass ride this evening.

“Many will also know that the police seem concerned about it, because of all the Olympic traffic.

"It might be assumed that, as usual, the mood of Critical Mass will be to peacefully assert the right of cyclists to travel safely wherever they want in London.

"But in case the police – who normally leave Critical Mass alone – were to decide to intervene this month, it would be good to have lots of people prepared to be peacefully assertive."

Following the events on the night of the Olympic opening ceremony, the website stated: "It appears the ride was joined by some other groups and it became considerably fragmented, though London CM itself is being given all the credit for what took place."


76 user comments

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Wow, I left a comment that was MY opinion, come back today and its gone mad. I may well reply to some of the comments that quoted me, but as it was MY opinion....how can you tell me I'm wrong....

As for farrell.... Devil

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9006 posts]
28th July 2013 - 12:34

16 Likes

Can motorists not chill out, even on a Friday night? I've often wondered what these idiots do with the precious 5 or 10 minutes that they save by speeding, harassing or threatening other road users etc.

posted by paulfg42 [379 posts]
28th July 2013 - 12:40

9 Likes

Scary how alive and well the idea is that if a driver does something aggressive to you, you must have brought it upon yourself.

Last weekend I led a fancy dress bicycle procession round Bristol, as part of Bristol Cycle Festival. It was a traffic free Sunday and pretty much all the roads we used were closed, dead ends, or separate bike paths, but we still had some appalling behaviour from drivers.

One taxi driver tried to force his way through a group of families in fancy dress, while a woman in a car (with her kids in the back) deluged us with verbal abuse. Afterwards I asked if people wanted to take these incidents any further and sadly no-one did. One bloke even told me that he felt what we were doing was antagonising motorists.

I've had similar experiences when training as a Sky Ride leader. In the space of one afternoon we had three or four dangerous overtakes, honking of horns, and "punishment passes". This is despite being in a small orderly group of about ten riders, all riding sensibly, wearing helmets, etc.

It's time to stop making excuses for these people and start encouraging people to crack down on them, before more serious incidents happen.

posted by Mr Agreeable [145 posts]
28th July 2013 - 13:19

11 Likes

I went on a Mass ride once. The group headed to parliament square and then just stopped. I didn't find it particularly celebratory to be honest, more like just being stuck in traffic in central London. After 10 minutes of waiting a cabbie hurled some verbal abuse and for once I agreed. Maybe I was doing it wrong but I left as soon as I could get away from the crowd.

I prefer to celebrate cycling like I did this morning, on a club ride taking in the views and roads that Hertfordshire offers without a load of people constantly parking in front of me.

posted by Nick T [838 posts]
28th July 2013 - 14:00

12 Likes

Indeed. I am in favour of CM if only for the reason that it challenges the status quo, where cyclists are treated as second class citizens. Drivers have got to learn that cycling isn't going to disappear any time soon and that we have equal rights on the road. I'm sick of being bullied & harassed simply for riding a bike. Here's one I suffered earlier this week. Ignorant Neanderthal meets token gesture cycling infrastructure. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHQupg9-XKI&feature=share&list=UUatqk5A4g...

posted by tradescant [14 posts]
28th July 2013 - 17:02

9 Likes

tradescant wrote:
Here's one I suffered earlier this week. Ignorant Neanderthal meets token gesture cycling infrastructure. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHQupg9-XKI&feature=share&list=UUatqk5A4gOWU81xBx47AdxA

Agree with at least on of the Youtube comments. That's one for the police, not for TfL or the bus company. Deliberate dangerous driving.

posted by Malaconotus [47 posts]
28th July 2013 - 21:19

9 Likes

If anyone's interested, that's a BMW 3-series 'compact', E46 model.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [928 posts]
28th July 2013 - 22:18

10 Likes

Gizmo_ wrote:
If anyone's interested, that's a BMW 3-series 'compact', E46 model.

The other car that hit the friend I was talking to, and laid out his friend, was a silver Vauxhall Astra. Various people including myself got the reg but I wont publish it here as its in the hands of the police.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [591 posts]
28th July 2013 - 23:27

8 Likes

captain_slog wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
motorists don't react particularly well when people are dictating terms

Whatever we do, we must make sure we don't annoy the motorists.

You are quite the dickhead if you think for a second that we don't SHARE the roads with other road users, especially heavier and more powerful in their capabilities. Gandhi didn't make his point by antagonising the British by stopping them doing what they did, he did it by effective political demonstration. CM seem wide of the mark and they certainly don't represent myself and many other club riders who know the need to exist with other road users.

You can still work the system to get what you want (and I certainly don't think you should tow the line if they are being objurate). But you have to consider the effects of your actions. A controlled protest will seemingly have the establishment support and not wind up the four wheel army.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1186 posts]
29th July 2013 - 0:35

10 Likes

paulbrock, sorry mate should have made it a bit clearer. When in custody, if the offence is suitable and your record is suitable you can get a caution for certain offences.

You can also be given a ticket in custody for offences rather than go to court or you can be reported for the offence and a summons is issued for you to attend court at a later date.

Zanf - again apologies if i have misconstrued your comment of "If you dont like that then stop any claims you might make to being a supporter of human rights" i assumed meant human rights act unless of course there is a different human rights.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2825 posts]
29th July 2013 - 5:02

13 Likes

2000 killed, 20,000 seriously injured every year, everyone's communities made little worse by roads dominated by vehicles.

Disrupting the flow of traffic for a few minutes is hardly a disproportionate response.

posted by IanW1968 [194 posts]
29th July 2013 - 7:17

7 Likes

That's like saying thousands every year are killed or injured by violent crimes so going round giving Chinese burns to everyone you see for 30 minutes a week is hardly a disproportionate response.

posted by Nick T [838 posts]
29th July 2013 - 7:30

7 Likes

Whether or not CM are right wrong, good or bad should not be the issue here. These incidents add proof that;

1. Patience is pathetically low. Ok, drivers are held up. I've been held stationary for two hours on a motorway. Did I force my through to the front, ramming any vechile out of the way. No I waited until traffic moved! When there's roadworks do you drive on the wrong side of the road to be at the front or to make progress?
2. Cyclist are still seen as second class not human beings by those in the metal boxes. I love the look drivers faces when I tell them my bike is worth more than their car. Or when asked was 10 second of their time really worth my life?
3. Vehicles are (seemingly) increasingly being used as 1 ton plus weapons and the police are too stretched do anything about it.

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [309 posts]
29th July 2013 - 7:49

10 Likes

Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Gandhi didn't make his point by antagonising the British by stopping them doing what they did, he did it by effective political demonstration.

It has been argued that Gandhi and his methods actually slowed down the process of Indian independence from British colonial rule.

Limiting a campaign to only one form of action is incredibly emasculating and just plain stupid. Non-violence has its place but it is not the only form, or method of protest.

Also, using Gandhi as an icon of protest should come with the knowledge that he had correspondence with Hitler addressing his as "Dear Friend" and was incredibly racist towards Africans when he worked in South Africa.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [591 posts]
29th July 2013 - 8:18

11 Likes

solkanofastera wrote:
Passive aggressive, aggressive, the world is in balance again. If you poke a bear it will attack you.

You know what you do with a bear that attacks you, right? You shoot it in the head. Because it's a wild animal and won't stop attacking you. Doesn't really matter why it's attacking you, either.

Either we accept that a minority of drivers are going to have serious control issues and need to be arrested and brought to justice, like rational and reasonable human beings...

Or by your own argument, such drivers are just wild animals which should be put down when they run rampant and endanger people.

I know which one of those is emotionally more satisfying, but I also know which is the correct course.
These events are not an act of nature, but a calculated course of action by those who are privileged against those who are not.

posted by Not KOM [79 posts]
29th July 2013 - 9:51

7 Likes

"this person decided to use a vehicle as a weapon against an entirely innocent person but this driver will be going to prison now."

No they won't. Using a car as a weapon with deliberate intent to injure someone will be classed as 'careless driving' and they'll get away with a fine, at worst. That's because cyclists are considered to be second class citizens whose lives and health are unworthy of protection by the law.

I bet if the driver had been stopped and punched, the law would have taken that far more seriously.

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [137 posts]
29th July 2013 - 11:29

9 Likes

Carl wrote:
"this person decided to use a vehicle as a weapon against an entirely innocent person but this driver will be going to prison now."

No they won't.

You're right, they're much more likely to get a reachround from the judge than a cellmate unfortunately.

posted by farrell [1559 posts]
29th July 2013 - 12:13

8 Likes

farrell wrote:
Carl wrote:
"this person decided to use a vehicle as a weapon against an entirely innocent person but this driver will be going to prison now."

No they won't.

You're right, they're much more likely to get a reachround from the judge than a cellmate unfortunately.


Er, Lee... What's a "reacharound"?
Stanley Kubrick.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
29th July 2013 - 15:38

11 Likes

zanf wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Gandhi didn't make his point by antagonising the British by stopping them doing what they did, he did it by effective political demonstration.

It has been argued that Gandhi and his methods actually slowed down the process of Indian independence from British colonial rule.

Limiting a campaign to only one form of action is incredibly emasculating and just plain stupid. Non-violence has its place but it is not the only form, or method of protest.

Also, using Gandhi as an icon of protest should come with the knowledge that he had correspondence with Hitler addressing his as "Dear Friend" and was incredibly racist towards Africans when he worked in South Africa.

Have you tried the other route of political action? You adherence to a rather singular approach appears to belie your intelligence....

Thinking

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1186 posts]
29th July 2013 - 16:42

7 Likes

Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Have you tried the other route of political action? You adherence to a rather singular approach appears to belie your intelligence....

Thinking

You ask if I have tried other methods and then smugly make a judgement about my intelligence because you have preemptively answered your own question?

I commented about your insistence (as lots of sopping wet liberal cycle advocates seem to do) that the only way to affect change is by "being like Gandhi" and doing nothing.

I have a plethora of tools at my disposal. I just dont swear off any or pledge a blind allegiance to only one. Nor do I go around telling people what forms of their activism are acceptable in my eyes.

Unlike you.

What a wanker.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [591 posts]
29th July 2013 - 21:41

7 Likes

Unfortunately whilst CM rides might create a highly visible demonstration (let's face it a ride designed to pressure and already stretched transport infrastructure is not simply a "ride") they also increase/fuel the negative views of cyclists from others who are simply trying to drive home from work.

I am with Mr Whippet on the lack of care and recognition from drivers of vehicles towards cyclists generally.

Too often and I am sorry it is most often black cabs, I am passed with only millimetres to spare between my elbow and the vehicle. Many times I am overtaken even when I am travelling at the same speed as the traffic.

What I can't support though is those cyclists who ride with reckless abandon endangering people at pedestrian crossings and ignoring substantial road junctions. They are also giving cyclists a bad name. Confused

London has become more and more congested every year and will continue to be - the only certainty is that it will get worse.

What we need is for people to take notice of others around them and behave with care and consideration - treat others as you would like to be treated. Cool

Bigcog's picture

posted by Bigcog [20 posts]
30th July 2013 - 8:48

9 Likes

Bigcog wrote:
What we need is for people to take notice of others around them and behave with care and consideration - treat others as you would like to be treated. Cool

Were you involved with writing up the Cycle Scotlands 'Nice Way Code' campaign?

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [591 posts]
30th July 2013 - 11:35

10 Likes

Never been on a Critical Mass event but it looks like the sort of assertive protest activity the authorities really hate. No one is doing anything wrong, no one is organising, no one is leading, people just turn up and cycle about a bit.

It must infuriate the Establishment. In my book keeping the powers-that-be on their toes is a good thing so the more this happens the better.

I am dead set against agressive protests, especially where violence may kick off, but the idea of just turning up to lend support to an issue seems to be brilliant.

I have no doubt the authorities will try to spin these events as hotbeds of crime and disorder and so must be stamped out at all costs. They do not like large impromptu public gatherings. It smacks of sedition. They did the same with Raves in the early 90's. If they don't understand it they want to stop it.

posted by BigBear63 [72 posts]
30th July 2013 - 18:21

7 Likes

quite like that "londonplayer".
id never thought of it that way! but yes, cars do hold us up, and we "we being cyclists) dont often try to ram them out the way, reason being? we cant (normally) use our bike as a weapon.....
isnt there a criminal charge for using a weapon to attack someone, assault and battery, going equipped?
wjhat is the lesser charge to armed robbery?
im exagerating obviously, but using a vehicle as a weapon, to threaten someone or bully them with pain or death if they dont move is actually quite common on the roads!

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
31st July 2013 - 7:44

10 Likes

Bigcog wrote:
Many times I am overtaken even when I am travelling at the same speed as the traffic. Cool

how is this possible? they must be moving faster to overtake?

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
31st July 2013 - 7:47

8 Likes

I was stuck at a junction the other evening, watching as an endless stream of people on wheels flowed across in front of me. It was great to see people occupying a street under their own steam and displacing the vehicles. Unfortunately, these were the speed skaters, who do a similar thing to CM, but make it look fun and exciting, unlike the dismal spectacle that CM presents.

"I really enjoy Critical Mass rides as a fun way to chat to people and relax after work"

What you need is a bar.

"but the absolute vast majority of people on CM are simply cyclists who want to ride with other people in a friendly and celebratory way"

Me too! Perhaps you should have come on the Dunwich Dynamo, rather than standing in the middle of a junction with a silly hat, blowing a whistle.

It's interesting that so much of the focus is on the suffering of car and taxi drivers. At least they mostly have the option of turning round and avoiding CM, unlike all the poor sods stuck on buses unable to cross blocked junctions, or pedestrians trying to use the crossings that CM ignores. Or even the cyclists I saw on Clerkenwell Road commuting home (imagine!) having to avoid the CMers weaving up the wrong side of the road.
CM was a great idea when there were so few cyclists they were effectively invisible. With all the work that remains to make London a safe, convenient and pleasant place to ride, that's no longer the case. CM should stop before they deter too many more people from cycling.
And yes, anyone who uses a vehicle as a weapon should be prosecuted, face severe sentences and lose their licence.

Sven Ellis's picture

posted by Sven Ellis [31 posts]
31st July 2013 - 10:32

6 Likes

fluffy_mike wrote:
imagine if car, taxi and lorry drivers flocked into to central London and blocked up the streets so no-one else could move... I'm sure the police would move in then in force

oh, that happens twice a day, doesn't it?

when petrol and diesel prices go up lorries bring motorways to a gridlock and close down ports. i'd say that was a bit more extreme than critical mass slowing traffic down for half an hour....
the lorries sometimes get the results they want too - cheaper fuel.

so based on this past success, why dont cyclists hold a critical mass that brings london traffic to a halt for a few days... maybe chose a particular spot that is known as having a bad cycle superhighway, where people often die.
a mojor roundabout for example....
obviously its more difficult for cyclists to blockade a road like a lorry does. but based on precedent it CAN get results.

just a crazy idea i dreamt up

(the campsite at st pauls also caused a lot of attention to an issue)

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
31st July 2013 - 10:44

5 Likes

captain_slog wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
motorists don't react particularly well when people are dictating terms

Whatever we do, we must make sure we don't annoy the motorists.

because they are in metal boxes and with the push of their foot they can kill us

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
31st July 2013 - 15:18

8 Likes

Sven Ellis wrote:
"I really enjoy Critical Mass rides as a fun way to chat to people and relax after work"

What you need is a bar.

No, what they need is for you to get a grip on yourself.

Sven Ellis wrote:
"but the absolute vast majority of people on CM are simply cyclists who want to ride with other people in a friendly and celebratory way"

Me too! Perhaps you should have come on the Dunwich Dynamo, rather than standing in the middle of a junction with a silly hat, blowing a whistle.

Again, get a f'king grip on yourself.

Not everyone wants to do an annual overnight 120 mile ride to the coast. Maybe people want a gentle ride around town every month where it is not dependent on peoples stamina to ride +100 miles

Your comment goes some way to proving that people do not like the social aspect of cycling. Its ok for you to go out and ride on your own but be dammed if you ride in a group. As BigBear63 said:

BigBear63 wrote:
I have no doubt the authorities will try to spin these events as hotbeds of crime and disorder and so must be stamped out at all costs. They do not like large impromptu public gatherings. It smacks of sedition. They did the same with Raves in the early 90's. If they don't understand it they want to stop it.

With the attitude of quite a few so called 'cyclists' on here, it seems like quite a few on here do not realise how plugged into the matrix they are.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [591 posts]
1st August 2013 - 13:51

5 Likes

I think the attitude comes because CM are trying to make out they represent cyclists....They don't represent me, I want to do ONE CM, just so I can see it, in general I do NOT agree with it and they give cyclists a bad name.

It should be STOPPED and use the time you spend holding up junctions and cycling slowly without letting people past, to make an actual difference, sit down and set out an agenda to take to someone like TFL, instead of just clowning around in a group.

What would people say if 700 "hoodies" got together once a month and blocked the entrance to a train station and stopped people going home....

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9006 posts]
3rd August 2013 - 0:02

8 Likes