SFBC Condemns Violence at Critical Mass

Following media reports of trouble at last Friday’s Critical Mass bike ride, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) condemned violence on the roads by anyone, whether they be driving or bicycling.

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Released April 4, 2007 by The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition 

San Francisco — Following media reports of trouble at last Friday’s Critical Mass bike ride, the
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) condemned violence on the roads by anyone, whether
they be driving or bicycling. An incendiary story appearing in the April 11th San Francisco
Chronicle about a bicyclist on the ride breaking the window of a minivan, but the story
neglected to mention reports that the minivan driver had committed a hit-and-run violation
on a bicyclist moments before.

“The SFBC condemns violence in any situation. No one should resort to using violence,
whether they are driving or bicycling,” says Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San
Francisco Bicycle Coalition, a 6,100-member nonprofit advocacy group.

Witnesses report that the motorist drove recklessly through a group of bicyclists, hitting one
and sending him flying off of his bike. A group of bicyclists caught up with the motorist, who
had sped away from the scene of the collision, to ensure that police could talk with her. In
apparent retaliation for the hit-and-run incident, someone broke the van’s window.

“It sounds like there are two sides to blame here: first, the motorist reportedly committed a
serious crime of hit-and-run. Then, reportedly, a bicyclist vandalized the car. Both sides
resorted to violence and both acted inappropriately.”

The SFBC does not organize or control Critical Mass, which is an unorganized monthly bike
ride. Instead, the SFBC works to promote bicycling for everyday transportation. An example
of the SFBC’s activities include an outreach events, such as one this week — co-sponsored by
the SF Police Department and other City agencies — where volunteers distributed safety
information to hundreds of bicyclists during the morning rush hour at the corner of Market
St. & Van Ness Ave. The SFBC also sponsors the annual, local Bike to Work Day, coming up
on May 17th.

“Aggressive driving is a serious problem, unfortunately, every day in San Francisco,” says the
SFBC’s Shahum. “We urge the City’s leaders, including the Mayor and the Police, to prioritize
improving the safety of our streets every day, not to focus exceedingly on one incident one
day of the month. And, of course, we all share the responsibility — motorists and bicyclists
both — to behave with civility and respect on our shared streets.”