Monday, July 28, 2008

Lazy Reportage


"Critical Mass is a group of cyclists that takes to the streets the last Friday of every month to promote cyclists' right to the road.
It's wasn't clear what sparked the confrontation at 15th and Aloha, but witnesses say they saw about a dozen cyclists surround a white Subaru, blocking in the driver.
"There was some screaming and yelling and crunching as he pulled out into the street," described witness Mark Pedersen.
Apparently, the driver felt intimidated and tried to back up to get away, but he backed into at least two cyclists.
He then tried to take off, but cyclists chased after him, bashed in his car window and assaulted the driver.
"There was a giant hole in the windshield... and blood around his neck," said witness Barbara Rockey.
The driver was taken to an area hospital.
The two bicyclists suffered minor injuries in the melee.
KING 5 was told there were two passengers in the Subaru. One appeared to be a pregnant woman. It was not immediately known if the passengers were injured.
It was not clear how many cyclists were arrested."


"I was just looking up news information about an event that I witnessed tonight and found a frighteningly misinformed article on the event on the King 5 news website. Their “Bicycle demonstration turns violent” article paints a picture of cyclist brutality committed on a vehicle, injuring the driver and scaring the passenger, who they describe as a pregnant woman. While there is no denying that the cyclists circled the car and trashed it, this was all an attempt to stop the car and driver from possibly hurting anyone else, as the scene they describe in their newscast takes place about 200 ft from the scene where the motorist accelerated from 0 to 40 THROUGH a standing line of cyclists at Aloha and 14th, luckily only injuring two of them as his car was pointed at a group of six.
I was standing about 20 feet from the scene and saw the entire altercation. I honestly cannot believe what I saw. Originally, the vehicle was trying to inch (westward on Aloha) into an oncoming mass of cyclists on a narrow road, where he had to pull into the oncoming traffic lane in order to get around the cars parked in his lane. About 6 cyclists peeled off to park themselves in front of the vehicle, explaining that he needed to wait and they would all be out of his way in a minute. The driver, however, remained agitated and expressed that they were “in a rush” and “would be late”. When the cyclists asked what they were going to be late for, the driver responded, “We have reservations!”, which left the group largely speechless until one of the cyclists again explained that he would save a lot of time and trouble if he just waited another 30 seconds for the rest of the cyclists to pass. At that moment, the driver suddenly put his car in reverse and backed up—5 feet into the sidewalk (now the car is parallel to Aloha—thank goodness there were no pedestrians behind him!)—and stopped. This strange behavior panicked everyone and no one moved except to shout “Stop.” This is when his passenger started yelling for him to “Calm down and stop” as well. After staying put for about 10 seconds, the driver then said “fuck this” and accelerated into the line of standing cyclists. When he hit the first ones, he continued to accelerate, but steered into the larger mass of cyclists before turning the wheel and tearing off in the opposite direction (east on Aloha) with one of the hit cyclists still on the roof of his car.
The driver sped down Aloha with a mess of bicycles and cyclists in his wake, a cyclist on his roof, and everyone, including his pregnant passenger, yelling for him to “Just stop!” At the bottom of the hill, the driver stopped at a stop sign and the cyclists swarmed the car, slashing his tires and breaking the windows in order to make sure that he did not continue operating his vehicle through the city like a madman. His door was opened, the driver got out of the car in tears and walked, unmolested back up to where the cyclists were splayed out in the street apologizing to everyone. His passenger was relatively calm, also walked up the street unmolested, and explained that her friend had made a mistake and that she had been yelling for him to calm down and stop the car. While there was a little hysterical yelling by the freightened bicyclists, there was absolutely no physical confrontation."
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