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Late Friday night protest run ends in injury and disarray

 

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."


After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

76 comments

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jollyselfrighteous [3 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm not defending this driver for one minute. But the police really do need to deal with these cycling extremists. Critical mass does nothing for cycling. It just seems like an excuse for students and jobless hippies to run amok through our towns and cities. What's the point in blocking the road and annoying innocent people on their way home from work. The police should arrest anyone participating in these extremist protests, they're quick enough arresting EDL or BMP protesters... So why not these thugs..
#DRIVERS

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ilovemytinbred [161 posts] 3 years ago
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I am not a fan of critical mass rides, but this is awful and the controversial aspect of these rides should not be considered a mitigating factor when punishing people who choose to use their cars as a weapon.

However, back in the real world we all know killing cyclists is decriminalised in this country, so I doubt running someone over a bit is going to get more than a £30 fine and a couple of points on their licence.

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ilovemytinbred [161 posts] 3 years ago
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@jollyselfrighteous
Yours are my favourite troll posts  1

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dp24 [201 posts] 3 years ago
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If this incident happened as reported, then I look forward to the police explaining why this idiot driver won't be charged with something more serious than can be dealt with by a few points on their licence and a fine.

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Whirlio [14 posts] 3 years ago
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I really enjoy Critical Mass rides as a fun way to chat to people and relax sfter work (not unemployed or a hippy) but there is predictable aggro both ways which I wish we could do without. I've hardly ever been as scared on a bike as when I went to help out 2 female cyclists / ushers at Hyde park corner who had a BMW literally trying to shovel them out the way and push through as the ride was thinning out.

I'm a driver too and i'd hate being further delayed on a friday night but there's never an excuse for using a car as a weapon like that, never mind running someone over as happened last night.

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nowasps [434 posts] 3 years ago
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ilovemytinbred – Do you not think he overdoes it? He strays too far into comedy-prat mode to let you start believing he's real.

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northstar [1108 posts] 3 years ago
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Not sure of what relevance the bottom half of the article is to what happened (by a motorist)...oh yeah it isn't relevant at all.

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captain_slog [340 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm surprised road.cc isn't more supportive. Critical Mass, in itself, is "controversial" in the same sense the smoking ban was controversial. People from FOREST could always be found to witter on about how it infringed their liberty, and in the same way motorists with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement will protest (sometimes criminally, as we see) at being inconvenienced by other road users asserting their rights.

Just because something incoveniences or annoys somebody doesn't make it any more controversial than road works, traffic lights or next door's baby.

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solkanofastera [24 posts] 3 years ago
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Passive aggressive, aggressive, the world is in balance again. If you poke a bear it will attack you.

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gazzaputt [216 posts] 3 years ago
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jollyselfrighteous wrote:

I'm not defending this driver for one minute. But the police really do need to deal with these cycling extremists. Critical mass does nothing for cycling. It just seems like an excuse for students and jobless hippies to run amok through our towns and cities. What's the point in blocking the road and annoying innocent people on their way home from work. The police should arrest anyone participating in these extremist protests, they're quick enough arresting EDL or BMP protesters... So why not these thugs..
#DRIVERS

You are an idiot.

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londonplayer [620 posts] 3 years ago
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Critical Mass may hold up the traffic a bit but then cars, lorries, buses and taxis hold up cyclists every day of the week.

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velobetty [71 posts] 3 years ago
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It's all very well talking about 'extremists' of which there are many in all groups 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. Saying that all cyclists on CM are like this is like saying every football fan is a violent hooligan. It helps nobody, isn't true and only serves to foster the kind of culture where victims are blamed for being injured or killed.

This woman was not one of these people 'running amok' and was simply waiting at lights facing in the opposite direction when a driver decided to drive his vehicle *at* her. Although this entire point is moot anyway as there is never any justification in any situation whatsoever to purposely run somebody over. None whatsoever.

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AndrewRH [56 posts] 3 years ago
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How do critical mass rides differ between London (etc) and a place that makes space for cycling?
That is, if a government made segregated routes for the scary roads, thus making everyday cycling more welcoming and safe, then would a critical mass ride there be hardly noticed?

Genuinely interested as I haven't been on a CM ride, and wonder if the roads infrastructure design affects how people interact with one another.

Best wishes to the woman who was targeted and injured. Sounds like attempted murder to me.

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fluffy_mike [99 posts] 3 years ago
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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?

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LegalFun [57 posts] 3 years ago
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Typical londoners having demonstrations and drivers getting aggressive

just move to the countryside where people are nicer and the pace of life is slower...

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paulbrock [12 posts] 3 years ago
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I was there last night, it was horrific. I'd already gone round the corner so wasn't in the path of the violent driver, but I heard a shout go up and turned round to see a bicycle thrown into the air and the driver speed off. Utterly appalling.

There were in fact 3 intentional collisions in a short space of time, a BMW (in the video) which carried a male rider for several seconds on its bonnet, the Astra, by far the worst collision which knocked down a female rider, and then the bus, which intentionally drove into cyclists that were corking it. The police pulled the bus driver over, cleared it of passengers and spent several minutes talking to him, unsure of outcome. - photo https://plus.google.com/104859346014137939134/posts/ZyqRFtLJRKF

Thankfully, no life-changing injuries reported. Woman hit by Astra spent 7 hours in hospital but has since been discharged and is keen to get back on her bike.

Critical Mass is not a fringe of anarchic extremists. Last night there were 900 riders, and even London Cycling Campaign is (cautiously) offering support. Greenpeace had a presence on the ride. It is cyclists, that's all. We ride around town together rather than individually and have cool sound systems. Drivers get annoyed with us, in the same way that they get annoyed with you when you cycle round on your own.

PS The Olympics quote attributed to criticalmasslondon.org.uk is incorrect. In fact it came from the wholly separate counterolympicsnetwork.wordpress.com. Most media made that mistake though so I'll let you off!

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IanW1968 [273 posts] 3 years ago
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jollywhatsisface- everything you ever write before the word "but" is pointless.

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zanf [850 posts] 3 years ago
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I was on this ride last night and was chatting to a friend when a driver (after this clip) rammed through us and ran over his friends bike, trapping her underneath it and injuring her leg that required a hospital visit.

Its annoying to have to point this out but Critical Mass is not a demonstration, nor any kind of protest, so please change the byline and remove the word. It is a 'ride' where people meet underneath Waterloo Bridge on the last Friday of every month then ride around until each individual decides they have had enough.

LegalFun wrote:

Typical londoners having demonstrations and drivers getting aggressive

just move to the countryside where people are nicer and the pace of life is slower...

As I said above, its not a demonstration and if everyone from the cities moved to your precious countryside, I bet you'd be moaning like those nimbys down in the New Forest faster than their eyes swivel.

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NWLondoner [3 posts] 3 years ago
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Disgusting behaviour

Motrorists running over fellow humans.

Taxi Driver threatening to rape and murder female cyclist

Moped rider hitting cyclists with a baseball bat

London Bus Driver trying to drive his bus thru a group of cyclists

AND WHY??

All because their journey is held up for 10 minutes at a junction.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 3 years ago
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More of this horrible cyclists-are-not-real-human-beings stuff. Very depressing, worrying and saddening to read.

The politics or employment status of the victims are not relevant in the slightest.

People were f***ing driving into them and running over them. With intent.

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 3 years ago
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zanf wrote:

I was on this ride last night and was chatting to a friend when a driver (after this clip) rammed through us and ran over his friends bike, trapping her underneath it and injuring her leg that required a hospital visit.

Its annoying to have to point this out but Critical Mass is not a demonstration, nor any kind of protest, so please change the byline and remove the word. It is a 'ride' where people meet underneath Waterloo Bridge on the last Friday of every month then ride around until each individual decides they have had enough.

It is NOT a 'ride" as you say, Its a 'Movement'

It it were a 'ride', then all those blocking junctions would be arrested on the spot for obstructing the flow of traffic. This does not happen....does it? Any other day of the week, get a group together and try blocking the junctions, see what happens.

If it were a 'ride' where people cycling around London until they have had enough and go home, there is NO need to block the junctions.

I am not for or against the critical mass.

I am against what this driver did.

But I am also against cyclists breaking and bending the law to please their needs above all others.

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paulbrock [12 posts] 3 years ago
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Legally, it's a procession under the 1986 public order act, which is why once the front of the mass has gone through lights the rest can follow even after the lights have changed.

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 3 years ago
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Technically I could be a procession, BUT, it would require certain things to be done. Have they??

Section 11 -

Advance notice of public processions requires at least 6 clear days' written notice to be given to the police before most public processions, including details of the intended time and route, and giving the name and address of at least one person proposing to organise it; creates offences for the organisers of a procession if they do not give sufficient notice, or if the procession diverges from the notified time or route

Section 14 -

Imposing conditions on public assemblies
provides police the power to impose conditions on assemblies "to prevent serious public disorder, serious criminal damage or serious disruption to the life of the community".

The conditions are limited to the specifying of:
the number of people who may take part,
the location of the assembly, and its maximum duration.

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paulbrock [12 posts] 3 years ago
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Yes the conditions are met. House of lords ruled it met the commonly or customarily held condition of subsection 2 negating the impossible requirement to give details of organisers and routes.http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldjudgmt/jd081126/metr...

And the police have imposed conditions on the mass per section 12,but that was last done a year ago when it coincided with the Olympic opening ceremony. Most months there are no conditions applied.

( A 5-10 minute delay for road users does not constitute serious disruption IMHO)

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A V Lowe [576 posts] 3 years ago
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Suggest those who feel appropriately qualified to do so write to Arriva (either CEO David Martin in Sunderland or Tottenham Depot where 243 fleet is based) asking for their report on the incident and action taken to prevent any recurrence of such driving by the holder of a vocational licence who, for driving on a TfL London Buses contract, should have been through CPC training which includes a module on safe operation of buses and cycles on the carriageway.

Occasionally, heaven forefend that I would advocate this, but in an interaction with a motor vehicle likely to depart the scene, it may be beneficial to 'mark' the vehicle as severely as sensible contact may permit.

NB Arriva are a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 3 years ago
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In your opinion, maybe not, but in mine (remember I do NOT drive, only cycle and use public transport and RARELY in London)

So having said that, my opinion on it is, at 6pm, more likely later once everyone gets going. There will still be quite alot of people trying to get home from the city after a day of work, by holding the mass at this time, it DOES cause some serious disruption to those travelling home, whether in car's, vans OR on public transport.

The other factor, I have seen it in most of the mass video's I've watched and I have seen many, they are all pinging bells and blasting horns on a constant and regular rate. Thats a nuisance in itself to the communities they travel through. Those devices are there to make yourself know and for safety, NOT just to make a noise because there is a massive group of you. The other thing, noise pollution, there is almost always some person on a bike with a trailer carrying a sound system.

By all means, go for a ride, but why all the noise and disruption, you don't see this in normal rides that people go on in groups, for instance, sportives.

It DOES get on my nerves that the CM seem to think they are above the law and do cause a nuisance on a regular basis.

There is no right for one group to infringe the right of others to use the road, which happens with frequency on the mass.

There is also NO justification for drivers to mow down cyclists. But as we keep seeing, this is not just happening at the mass. Just because this happened to be caught on camera does not make it any worse than what is happening on a daily basis though-out the country.

By blocking junctions and using the tactics of the mass, it DOES put cyclists in a bad light to those that your are inconveniencing, whether just for 5-10 minutes does not matter. You are not going to convince me anything else.

If you want to block traffic, get the police to ride with you for safety, as they HAVE the right to control traffic, a normal member of society does not.

Also, let buses past for crying out loud, we are looking to get people out of their cars....right? So if they do not want to cycle, they could use public transport, if they are going to be held up, they might aswell just use their car.

I am really hoping to get down to London at some point in the future to be part of the mass for myself and witness just exactly what goes on, for no other reason than personal experience. Because it does look interesting.

This may sound like a ranting troll post. It is not that, just my personal opinion, everyone is entitled to that at least  3

BREATH.....peace out  26

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ron611087 [345 posts] 3 years ago
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Never attended the critical mass protests but I fully support them. Critical mass has its roots in the "stop de kindermoord" campaign in the Netherlands and was instrumental in the development of the Dutch cycle infrastructure. They compliment the other pressure on the authorities to accommodate cyclists on the road.

Without protest of this nature (and the bigger the better) the politicians would do buggerall.

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miffed [162 posts] 3 years ago
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I never understand why one car driver being held up by 5-10 mins has more rights to get where they're going than 900 cyclists. It's the same as when a bunch of cyclist on a country road gets abused by a single occupied car for holding them up. Why do the rights of the few trump the rights of the many?

Why motorists think its there god given right to travel at or above the speed limit always baffles me.

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bashthebox [751 posts] 3 years ago
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Gkam, you can't really judge people cycling in London until you cycle in London on a regular basis. Parts are good, parts are abysmal. And you can't say it's the fault of the motorist, or the #bloodycyclists, or the busses, or the lorry drivers. It's the infrastructure of the city that makes us face danger everyday as routinely as we do.
The purpose of Critical Mass is to draw attention to this, and get it fixed. A critical mass ride on adequate infrastructure wouldn't affect motorists at all, just like their movements wouldn't affect cyclists.

As for the hit and run driver, the fact that he ran a series of red lights means he'll have been caught on cctv. Hopefully the courts will hand him down an appropriate punishment for using his car as a weapon too.

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paulbrock [12 posts] 3 years ago
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Well in my opinion, and evidently in the Mets opinion too given the lack of conditions.

Making noise in the west end is hardly a significant disruption to the community. Its not like we're going into some serene little village in the sticks where you can hear birds tweeting.

You seen to have gone from "I'm not sure this is legal" to "it doesn't matter if it's legal, because I don't like it".I've shown you that what cm does is legal, but you still insist on characterising it as being "above the law"

We can neither request nor prevent the police from escorting us round but I suspect there are better uses of police resources on a busy Friday night in Westminster than babysitting some cyclists.

I agree with you on the buses though.  16

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