Saturday, July 26, 2008

Critical Mass - Cool Idea But Lousy Execution

Critical Mass is a group that organizes a large bicycle rides to assert bicycle riders rights to use the roads. In theory this is a great idea but in practice I think it does little but inspire irritation and hatred for bicycle riders in general. Today in Seattle, it even sparked an avoidable incident.
For years, bicyclists involved with Critical Mass have gathered monthly to ride through Seattle streets in a show of support for the rights of bicyclists. For the most part, Seattle police have taken a hands-off approach to the riders, although the protest tactics include filling the streets with bikes, putting a stop to vehicular traffic.

The riders were employing such a tactic just as the motorist and his companion were about to drive off, Jamieson said.

"The bicyclists were using both sides of the roadway, effectively blocking traffic," he said.

An altercation with the driver ensued and some of those on bikes began sitting on his car and hitting the vehicle, Jamieson said.

The driver tried to back up, he said, and struck a bike.

Bicyclists began attacking the vehicle.

"They broke his windshield and they broke the rear window and did some additional body damage," Jamieson said.

The article doesn't say the bicycle rider that was backed into was seriously hurt so I imagine it was just scrapes and bruises. The surrounding bicyclists could have done the responsible thing and written down the license plate number of the car, help their fellow bicyclist and maybe even block the car in so he couldn't leave until they could get Seattle PD to come. Instead, they decided to become a mob and assault the driver and damage his car.

The driver needs to be held accountable for his actions but the militant bike riders should also be held accountable for theirs. This is the kind of incident that damages the reputation of Critical Mass and the cause they are fighting for. It's similar to the eco-terrorists (I do hate that term) that do more harm than good for environmentalist causes.

No comments: