California residents and cyclists may be aware of the Critical Mass movement, which takes place on the last Friday of every month in roughly 300 cities across the globe. The movement, which promotes bike awareness and equality on the streets for bikers, started in San Francisco in the early 90’s and has taken root in San Diego and Los Angeles as well. Last weekend, though, Critical Mass made the wrong kind of headlines in both of those cities.
In Los Angeles, an 18-year-old was killed in a bike accident when he slammed into a wall after reportedly going wide on a downhill curve. The man was taken to the hospital, but was reported dead shortly before 10 p.m. on Friday night. There were several other minor crashes during the ride, but all of the riders escaped serious injury.
In San Diego a police officer was hit in the head with a screwdriver, which was allegedly thrown by a cyclist. He was taken to the hospital with wounds to his head, and the perpetrator was never caught.
Critical Mass, viewed by some participants as a protest for cyclists’ rights, has had its share of controversy, especially when some bikers fail to follow the rules of the road. For example, oftentimes bikers block off the intersections to allow other cyclists to cross, all the while irking delayed motorists and police enforcing traffic laws.
Bike riding in San Diego should be an enjoyable and safe means of transportation, but unfortunately many cyclists are injured or killed every year by motorists who lack the necessary bike awareness. Although Critical Mass remains a largely peaceful display incidents like these sometimes occur.
Source: dailynews.com “18-year-old man dies in bike accident during Critical Mass ride at UCLA,” September 1, 2012