Shots fired during altercation between driver, Critical Mass bicycle caravan in Uptown

A video image shows an altercation between a motorist and Critical Mass bicyclists in Uptown on June 28, 2024. (@FridaLovesBikes)

CHICAGO — Shots were fired as participants in the monthly Critical Mass bike ride clashed with a motorist in Uptown on Friday evening. It is the second month in a row that physical altercations have erupted between drivers and Critical Mass riders.

Police responded to calls of shots fired in the 1200 block of West Sunnyside around 8 p.m. Friday. Witnesses said the occupants of a small car were unable to exit an alley because the bicycle caravan, which frequently involves hundreds of riders, was rolling down the street.

A video showing part of the alteration and shots being fired was posted to Twitter:

A Chicago police spokesperson said a 42-year-old woman and a 41-year-old man got into an altercation with two men when one of those two men pulled a gun and fired shots around 8:03 p.m. The woman was taken to Weiss Hospital for treatment, the spokespersons said.

According to witnesses, an altercation erupted between the occupants of the car and some of the bicyclists. That escalated until someone fired two shots into the air.

No injuries were reported from gunfire. However, a fire department ambulance team treated one bicyclist who was battered, officials said. The man who fired the shots reportedly fled the scene in a vehicle.

Another altercation between a driver and Critical Mass participants occurred near the Magnificent Mile last month.

A driver got tired of waiting for the long line of bicyclists to pass the intersection of Wabash and Delaware and physically fought with some bicyclists, including two who deployed pepper spray. That incident was also caught on video.

In 2017, a motorist pulled a gun on Critical Mass riders as they made their way through Greektown. He got arrested and was later sentenced to probation.

Several Critical Mass riders spoke out on Twitter after last night’s episode.

“I am so angry that there is an element of the bike community that chooses to continually escalate incidents with car drivers. I was there for the shooting. I am still shaking. Get out of our community. You make it dangerous for everyone else. #bikechi,” @hoggycity tweeted.

Others disagreed.

“it sounds like you had a stressful experience with motordom and blamed cyclists because of a normativity bias,” replied @GregAlexander8. “telling me not to escalate is telling me not to exist. motorists are extremely triggered by cyclists going too fast, going too slow, going on the sidewalk, going in the street, stopping at stop signs, not stopping at stop signs. motonormativity is present in the injunction.”

@Nova_999999 replied in support of @hoggycity: “You seem to not be reading the same tweet as I am. There’s a massive difference between doing whatever you want to do on your own and doing things when you are in a group with a lot of other people who didn’t sign up to have a gun pulled on them because you didn’t stand down.”

“No this was a critical mass event where several cyclists fighting a car full of people including pepper spraying them and the car occupants responded by firing warning shots. If you pull out a weapon(pepper spray) the other person pulling out a bigger weapon is an entirely,” @Nova_999999 stated.

“If you stop for a fight you’re preventing people from getting away from a scary situation. KEEP MOVING. For [expletive] sake,” @foxyjewishmama wrote. “You know when a driver is willing to hurt people. Don’t escalate. Let them go. That protects fellow riders. Not proving that you’re macho.”

She went on to say the rest of last night’s ride was “extremely fun tonight and it sucks that people had to leave traumatized because of a dangerous person with a gun and a couple children escalating things.”

“Also, don’t make it sound like something it wasn’t. The crowd was not shot at. They fired 2 warning shots in the air to make the cyclists get out of their way.”

This afternoon, a 360° video of the incident was posted to YouTube. Watch:

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About Tim Hecke 363 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com