Freewheeling Terrorism

It seems that in San Francisco (a city whose namesake must be mightily displeased by now) there is an event called "Critical Mass." This involves thousands of people on bicycles wheeling through the streets in defiance of both common decency and traffic regulations. The police are apparently powerless to do anything about it.

So an unwitting young family recently drove their minivan into this maelstrom. The socially-conscious bikers were not pleased.

Susan Ferrando, her husband, their two children and three preteens had come to San Francisco from Redwood City to celebrate the birthday of Ferrando's 11-year-old daughter. They went to Japantown, where they enjoyed shopping and taking in the blooming cherry blossoms.

Things took a turn for the worse at about 9 p.m., when the family was leaving Japantown -- just as the party of about 3,000 bikers was winding down its monthly red-lights-be-damned ride through the city.

Suddenly, Ferrando said, her car was surrounded by hundreds of cyclists.

Not being from San Francisco, Ferrando thought she might have inadvertently crossed paths with a bicycle race and couldn't figure out why the police, who she had just passed, hadn't warned her.

Confusion, however, quickly turned to terror, she said, when the swarming cyclists began wildly circling around and then running into the sides of her Toyota van.

Filled with panic, Ferrando said, she started inching forward until coming to a stop at Post and Gough streets, where she was surrounded by bikers on all sides.

A biker in front blocked her as another biker began pounding on the windshield. Another was pounding on her window. Another pounded the other side.

"It seemed like they were using their bikes as weapons,'' Ferrando said. One of the bikers then threw his bike -- shattering the rear window and terrifying the young girls inside.

All the while, Ferrando was screaming, "There are children in this car! There are children in this car!" MORE

Police finally arrived and rescued the family, but no one in the crowd of thugs was arrested. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $5,300. The children were unharmed, at least physically.

The Anchoress has a good post about this event. I'm actually not very surprised. We have loads of cyclists here in Austin, and they are militant about their "rights" to the road. It's true that the law considers a bicycle to be a "vehicle" just like a car, and they are entitled to use the roads. Many bikers take this to extremes and believe they are entitled to ignore the laws that other vehicles must obey. You know, little things like coming to a complete halt when you encounter a stop sign.

I don't have any statistics, but my observations lead me to believe that most of the adults you see riding bicycles fall into one of two categories: they are either 1) homosexual or 2) DINKs. A few may be both. I suspect this is because those who have young children rarely have the spare time, energy, or money for things like cycling.

Looking at it this way, the San Francisco attack makes more sense. If most cyclists are people whose lifestyles do not include children, and indeed have rejected the whole concept of reproduction, then it is not surprising if they don't have much respect for people who are parents.

In other words, the family in this news story was not necessarily attacked despite their having children in the minivan. They may have been attacked because they had children with them.

Hopefully this was not a conscious decision by the cyclists. Yet I think it is fair to assume that as a group, the Critical Mass riders have less respect for, and understanding of, families and young children than does the general population. So given the slightest provocation, they reacted viciously and attacked the Ferrando family.

If you are a law-abiding cyclist who likes kids, I apologize for including you in this category. I hope you will try to convince your fellow riders to follow the rules of the road and be friendly to families in minivans.

No comments: