San Francisco police have said they are aware of a YouTube video which shows a cyclist apparently smashing a car window following a dispute during a protest ride on Friday. While police initially said that they were not looking for the man responsible because no report had been filed, ABC7 reports that they have now issued a statement saying they will be assigning an investigator to the case.
The incident took place during the monthly San Francisco Critical Mass protest ride. A group of riders are seen in the video cycling against traffic when one stops directly in front of a car, apparently daring the driver to continue. When she does, there seems to be a very slow speed collision and the man leaves his bike leaning against the front bumper.
As other cyclists gather around the car, several shout and lecture the woman. When she reverses to try and manoeuvre past them, the bike falls and at that point things become even more heated. One cyclist hits the car with his bike, while another repeatedly swings at it with a U-lock. The latter is said to have smashed the driver’s side window.
Critical Mass is a monthly protest ride that happens on the last Friday of every month in San Francisco with similar events now also taking place in nearly 300 cities around the world.
On its FAQ page, Critical Mass organisers say: “We oppose anti-social behaviour of all kinds, and when we see bicyclists harassing motorists or picking fights we confront them. We promote an open approach that invites motorists to join us and does not assume the worst about people we don’t know.”
Last month San Francisco cyclists brought traffic to a halt by stopping at every red light and crossing in response to a police crackdown on red light jumping. Riders approached every stop line as cars must do, coming to a complete halt and only moving forward when they had the right of way, rather than making a 'rolling stop' as many cyclists currently do.
The protestors were calling for the city and California to adopt the Idaho Stop law, which allows cyclists to treat stop signs as give way signs, and red lights as stop signs, allowing them to proceed if the junction is clear.