Critical Mass: Easy Target for Violence?
Warning:the above video is fairly graphic, and will most likely infuriate any cyclist, and should anger any non-cyclist with any modicum of common sense.
Critical mass rides have long been a hotbed of discussion among many as to whether they are actually beneficial to the riding community at large, and horrific scenes such as this only serve to further polarize the competing sides of the argument. What is widely seen as a peaceful demonstration by cyclists who wish to bring attention to individual riders safety by taking to the streets in large numbers, the practice seems to draw more anger than the attention of many motorists, and even police officers.
The carnage shown above was from a recent Critical Mass Ride in Brazil, which clearly seemed to be a peaceful affair until the driver of a VW Golf plowed through about 130 riders, injuring 20, 9 of which were badly injured and had to be sent to the hospital. According to Brazilian news, authorities have recovered the car, but have not yet found the driver who is presumed to be the registered owner of the car, Ricardo José Neis (Not Neif, as it states in the video).
While the intentions of the ride are good natured, it seems that Critical Mass rides and group rides have now turned into a type of bicycle shooting gallery, where the irritated public is able to take aim at defenseless cyclists. Whatever your feelings on the matter, I think we can all agree that behavior such as this is completely unacceptable, and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law (even though it never is).
Be safe out there people!