One Crazed Driver Plows Through Critical Mass in Brazil

(There’s a graphic video of the actual attack available here.)

A lot of critics of group bicycle rides, especially Critical Mass, like to claim that they’d like nothing more than to drive through it in their SUV’s.  Apparently one maniac in Brazil decided to give that a try.

At last Friday’s Porto Alegre Critical Mass, the driver of a Black Volkswagon Gulf plowed through a group of 130 masser.  Fifty cyclists were hit.  Two are in critical condition as of Saturday night.  Following the assault, the driver of the Golf ditched the weapon and fled on foot from the unmarked car.  The police identified Ricardo José Neis as the lead suspect.

The above video shows the aftermath of the attack.  The translation of what the narrator says can be found on the You Tube website:

“I am here at the Critical Mass ride. A car just ran over with the entire critical mass ride. At full speed! A black VW Golf. He hit everybody!! Are you seeing this?!

What a horrible thing… oh my GOD. Someone call the police, call the ambulance

Police! Call the Police!! The Ambulance!

Everyone is scared, son.

A car hit the whole, entire Critical Mass ride!! At full speed.

Voice: What’s going on?

This is the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen! I cannot believe”

Say what you want about the LAPD’s role in Critical Mass, but such an attack here on the 4th Friday of the month is unthinkable. There were no major incidents reported at Friday’s ride in Los Angeles.

28 thoughts on One Crazed Driver Plows Through Critical Mass in Brazil

  1. My reality was shattered yesterday when I read about the incident via a thread on Reddit. The commenters over there are normally a progressive, tech-savvy, forward thinking, nerdy bunch. My kind of people. But I was shocked to see that an overwhelming number of comments along the lines of “Well, the cyclists certainly didn’t deserve to be hit, but really…what did they think would happen if they keep blocking traffic? Someone’s going to snap.”

    Just goes to show how far we still need to go, when an otherwise progressive group still suffers from windshield perspective.

  2. Unbelievable. This made me sick to my stomach–partly because its such an extreme reminder of how vulnerable cyclists can be vs. even a small automobile. My heart goes out to those injured riders, as well as the others that witnessed this tragedy.

    Looking forward to the authorities finding the driver.

  3. Someone is going to snap in the US. I don’t know how they do it in Brazil, but here’s cyclists harassing drivers in the US.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyJWXWr7YCg

    Alcohol is a common element at these events.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJL8hPrHqNg&feature=related

    I have read reports that calling 911 won’t really help in these situations. Less enlightened individuals will respond with force if they feel threatened. In the first video, you can see a pedestrian throw a punch as one driver attempts to escape.

  4. Neither the video evidence, not eyewitness reports, seem to jibe with what the driver is saying…seems he’s just hoping someone in a jury takes pity on him:

    “Indeed one witness had already come forward to say that he had seen the driver of the car acting aggressively towards the riders in from of him before he drove his car through them. Camilo Colling, told the Brazilian website Terra Brasil that he spoke to the driver just before the incident, asking him to be patient and stop behaving aggressively towards the riders in his path and warning him that there were children and older people taking part in the ride ahead. The driver allegedly replied "Yes but I’m in a hurry" before ploughing his car in to the group of cyclists in front of him.”

  5. The driver is full of shit, definitely.

    However, if someone was throwing a punch at me through my window (as in the video I posted above), I would definitely try to escape without hitting anybody, not at full speed, but trying to inch away as safely as possible. Others may reach for their knife or firearm.

  6. @ChrisL

    I noticed the same thing at reddit. Very sad how much people hate cyclists. I still don’t see the difference between a group of 50 cars commuting, and a group of 50 cyclists, but lots of people find this to be obnoxious. (even though we all know bikes can go as fast or faster than cars in the city…)

  7. I couldn’t watch this. Had to turn it off halfway through.

    The way that the press, politicians and NYPD are jacking up animosity toward cyclists in New York City, I’m quite certain that something like this is going to happen here as well.

  8. There is little difference between the potential violence and carnage that can be perpetrated using an assault weapon and an automobile. These videos are proof of that.

    It is time that our laws acknowledge this fact!

  9. Politicians and the Andrea Peysers of NYC have a choice: dial back the rhetoric or be indelibly linked to this kind of violence when it happens here. Because it will happen.

    They won’t be directly responsible, of course, since no one can control all the nutcases out there. That being said, Marty Markowitz, Marcia Kramer, Tony “Bike Bedlam” Aiello, CBS2, NBBL, and all the rest who are stoking the hysteria should ask how the whole “I didn’t mean anything by it” excuse worked out for Sarah Palin.

  10. @LOLCat – Yeah I was shocked. One of the first times I found myself wholeheartedly disagreeing with the hivemind.

  11. @Spokker

    oh yeah, that video you posted shows some serious violence on the part of those darned critical massers! not. notice how that “punch” is between someone in a car trying to drive thru the bike parade…. if the cars would just wait for the parade to pass…. things wouldnt get heated.

    when a funeral passes most impatient drivers wait, when a regular parade passes, driver dont usually try to drive into them… critical mass is a parade. sure, it might not be permitted but it is still a parade. drivers need to get over it like they do for all other parades. sorry. you are 5 minutes late. boo hoo.

  12. “notice how that “punch” is between someone in a car trying to drive thru the bike parade…. if the cars would just wait for the parade to pass…. things wouldnt get heated.”

    The cyclists in the San Francisco video were sitting on hoods of cars and harassing drivers. They were not passing. They were loitering and intimidating.

    “when a funeral passes most impatient drivers wait”

    They are usually escorted by police and do not take as long. The intention of the cyclists is tie up an intersection without regard to normal traffic flow. This is the antithesis of being just another vehicle operator on the road. Fortunately there are other advocacy organizations that do follow the law. Unfortunately Critical Mass and Midnight Riders are more popular.

  13. @spokker,

    I have never seen a funeral procession with a police escort (unless it is for some kind of public servant that died in the line of duty). Usually people just turn their hazards on and drive on the right when able to.

  14. You call it loitering I call it preventing someone from ramming their car through a parade. Most of the time this doesn’t happen since most of the time car drivers are pretty civilized and patient about letting the parade through….

    In SF there is a police escort with a parade route set. I know, I’ve been on a few and even with the parade escort there are still people who just try to drive through.

    As for Midnight Ridazz when our rides hit 1500-2000 the caretakers took it upon ourselves to break it up and encourage people to start their own rides so that our parade wasn’t as much of an antagonistic experience for car drivers who were having to wait, we felt, too long for our parade to pass. It worked! Rarely are rides longer than a typical funeral procession.

    CM in Los Angeles is a different story. It has grown due to the police escort to 1500ish. I think it’s an awesome institution in LA. Consider the traffic nightmare everytime a dodger game let’s out. That’s at least 10,000 cars in their lot per home game. There are only 12 CMs in a year comparatively speaking.

    Parades are an institution of the world. Deal with them in fact join in them.

  15. And funeral processions are NEVER escorted by police unless as LOL said, it’s a goverment figure or perhaps someone of Michael jackson’s stature. They are escorted by private security from what I’ve ever seen.

  16. “Parades are an institution of the world. Deal with them in fact join in them.”

    Parades bring out the worst in people whether you are talking about cyclists, the St. Patty’s Day Parade or the Puerto Rican Day parade. I stay far away from parades.

    However, if Critical Mass or Midnight Riders plan their event during rush hour, that I’ll want to see. I mean, isn’t that the goal anyway? To have more people commuting to work on their bikes? Why are we cycling around in the middle of the night when you could be showing those stuck in traffic what it really means to be a cyclist. Doubt I’ll see it happen though.

  17. Being behind the wheel of a car turns decent people into greedy, aggressive, hyper-competitive assholes. It happens to me and I’ll bet it happens to you, too.
    The only sensation of power most luckless people are allowed under the groaning weight of our collapsing empire is what they get when driving — and when something gets in their way? Forces them to shift their feet a little and slow down? They get irrationally angry. And it’s going to get worse as life gets weirder.

  18. @spokker

    Critical Mass was designed to occur during traffic and I think it has had it’s successes and failures in getting people out of their cars. In LA critical mass never more popular that 30-50 riders that I know of…. What Midnight Ridazz did was instead of holding the event during rush hour, it began at 10pm when most people were able to drive home from work, eat and then go out for the night with a whole new fun activity. It was pretty much the only way the cycling craze was going to get jump started in the car capital of the world. In 7 years we went from 8 people once a month to thousands of people across across LA 3-5 times a night every single day of the week. By not staging the rides during rush hour and by explicitly inviting people in their cars to ride with us I think we won over a lot more people… Does it go sour from time to time? yes. It’s an open invite ride and sometimes people join in that use the power of the mass to push their own agenda or harass car drivers…. but for the most part the belief is strong that car drivers are our friends and we want them to join in.

  19. “Parades bring out the worst in people whether you are talking about cyclists, the St. Patty’s Day Parade or the Puerto Rican Day parade. I stay far away from parades.”

    bah humbug.

  20. Time for cyclists to arm themselves. I’ve been run off the road on purpose when riding alone; one of my friends was deliberately run down and seriously injured. In the SF bay area, riders have been deliberately targeted by drivers. Cars are deadly weapons and everyone has the right to use lethal force when threatened with lethal force.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Seattle Critical Mass Assault a Flashpoint in Bike v Car Culture

|
Riders from This May’s Seattle Critical Mass Last Friday, during Seattle’s Critical Mass ride, a Subaru station wagon ran over some cyclists.  The reasons for the incident are up for debate as cyclists claim the driver acted irrationally and plowed into the cyclists without provocation.  The driver claims that cyclists were attacking his car and […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Critical Mass: Good for Cycling or Bad PR?

|
(Editor’s note – Critical Mass meets tonight at Wilshire/Western, ride leaves at 7:00 P.M. – DN) There’s been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere lately about the merits of Critical Mass, the long-running, monthly group ride that has taken hold in cities around the world since its debut in San Francisco nearly 20 years […]

The “New” Critical Mass: Evolving, Not Dying

|
When I rolled up to Wilshire and Western at 7:00 P.M. last Friday, there were already close to 750 cyclists present, everyone was in a good mood, and there was still a half hour before the ride was even supposed to start.  Ridecards were being handed out urging cyclists to follow the rules of the […]

A Brief History of San Francisco Critical Mass

|
(I figured some of you would enjoy this.  Originally posted as "A Lost Decade for San Francisco’s Critical Mass?" at SF Streetsblog – DN) Critical Mass rolls down Lombard Street, July 2007. Photo by Chris Carlsson Well, no. We’ve had a great run in the 2000s. Averaging between 750 and 3000 riders on any given […]

What to Expect at Friday’s Critical Mass

|
Believe it or not, this was done with the officer’s consent. Photo: Digable Soul/Flickr Critical Mass has gone mainstream.  Following last month’s "Critical Mass Attack," where an officer was caught on tape kicking at cyclists’ bikes before the cameraman was tackled to the ground, it seems you can’t go anywhere without reading or discussing Critical […]