Motorist clashes with bicycle procession near the Gold Coast (video)

CHICAGO — Most Chicagoans have probably seen or participated in Critical Mass, the monthly bike ride that draws hundreds of participants on the last Friday of every month. Starting at Daley Plaza, the riders set off on a different route each month.

Friday’s ride took them through the Gold Coast, Streeterville, and down Lake Shore Drive to Chinatown and Pilsen before ending at Northerly Island.

The riding got a little rough for some participants when, according to witnesses, a driver got tired of waiting for the long bike procession to pass the intersection of Wabash and Delaware around 7:05 p.m.  A participant in the ride shared video of the incident with us. We’ve included it at the end of this story.

On Twitter, Kyle Lucas said the altercation began when a driver tried to “ram through” the bike procession. Then another driver, a man wearing pink pants, got out of his vehicle.

“He came up and started getting in people’s faces and screaming at them, telling the first driver to keep going,” Lucas wrote.

Video shows the man encouraging other motorists to drive through the bicyclists to get vehicle traffic moving again. But the situation escalated. Two bicyclists brought out pepper spray, and bystanders jumped in as the altercation turned physical.

A Critical Mass rep told us they didn’t hear about any injuries.

“Let’s go! Let’s go!” the man yells, as he pushes what appears to be a bike-riding pizza delivery guy who’s also waiting for the procession to pass. The man pushes another bicyclist, then continues to encourage a driver to pull forward into the bicyclists.

It escalates further about 90 seconds into video as the man stands within a group of riders. Loud voices and a crashing sound are heard, but it’s difficult to see what happened. At that moment, one of the riders pulled out their pepper spray and sprayed the man in the pink pants.

For several seconds, the rider with the pepper spray follows the man, apparently trying to give him a good dose of liquid fire. As the rider returns to his bike, followed by the man, a second bicyclist sprays the man with pepper spray.

And that’s when he really went hands-on. He takes the second bicyclist to the pavement and wails on him, apparently landing a few punches on or near the bike rider’s head.

The first guy with pepper spray returns and douses the man again.

And that’s when two bystanders jumped in to help the guy in the pink pants. They take swings at the long-haired bike rider who first brought out the pepper spray, apparently landing a couple of blows before he winds up on the pavement, too. 

At that point, the man in the pink pants breaks away and runs down the line of cars waiting to pass the intersection, and the men who jumped in to help him walk away in the opposite direction.

Traffic begins to pass through the intersection as the video ends. 

Chicago police dispatch records show that officers were dispatched to the scene about ten minutes after the altercation began. A spokesperson for the CPD stated that they were not aware of any arrests or reports filed about the incident.

“Most drivers are very supportive of the ride,” the Critical Mass rep said Saturday night. “Since the pandemic, there has been a change in drivers’ behavior. As a biker and pedestrian, cars [are] definitely super aggressive.”

CPD has provided escorts for the bike rides in the past, but the rep said they did not see any officers last night, adding that police escorts are hit-and-miss these days The police spokesperson did not directly answer when asked if CPD escorted the event on Friday.

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