Brazil Critical Mass Ride Attacked By Murderous Motorist

February 27th, 2011 by hughillustration

Updated below!

On Friday night in Porto Alegre, Brazil, a motorist intentionally plowed through a large, peaceful crowd of bicyclists participating in that city’s Critical Mass ride. It is a horrific incident, captured on video from several angles. If this is not attempted murder with a deadly weapon, I don’t know what is.

We don’t have much information, but it does appear that at least 12 people were injured. Luckily no one was killed. Treehugger has a translation of a post from the Porto Alegre Critical Mass blog:

Yesterday, as on every last Friday of the month Critical Mass was held, which is a manifestation of what happens in the world when cyclists seek space in traffic, to raise awareness that we ARE PART of the traffic. Bicycles are a self-sustainable, less expensive, and environmentally friendly alternative, even if they’re commonly associated with leisure and recreation.
But what happened yesterday was beyond any expectation we could have had. A driver / killer ran over our group of cyclists. What happened was very scary, and I did not understand what was happening, because we could hear screams and the sound of people falling on the ground, the sound of bodies in the hood, windshield, on the asphalt. I saw legs in the air, helmets, bicycles, arms, all mixed together with parts of the car… all flying and making noise. It was like a horror movie.

Other news sources say the attacker has been identified.

Although police found the badly damaged car on Friday night they have not yet been able to locate it’s driver thought to be the 47-year old owner of the vehicle, Ricardo José Neif [actually the name is Ricardo José Neis according to a commenter here]. While local cyclists have called for the driver to be charged with attempted murder, according to Porto Alegre’s Police Chief, Gilberto Montenegro it is not yet possible to say if the driver intended to run over the cyclists, maybe he hasn’t seen the videos. However, Chief Montenegro has said that If intent is proven the driver may wel face a charge of attempted murder.

One cyclist who was on the ride 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.

Our hearts are with the victims of this horrific crime. Let’s dedicate the March Critical Mass to our friends in Brazil, so they know that they are not alone. And let’s hope the violent attacker will be held accountable for his crime.

Here’s the video (warning: violent images)”

Update: I asked a friend who speaks and reads Portugese to give a rough translation of the latest news. Here’s what he said:

The latest news on their blog is that a particular person was identified as the motorist responsible, and he was planning to turn himself in to the police today (Sunday). Although nobody died, the other Critical Mass riders are upset that press reports have used the term “accident” instead of language like “attack” or “attempted murder”. The Porto Alegre CM community is extremely angry and is planning some protests, including one that already happened and a large rally upcoming on March 3.

This cartoon

translates as something like “well, I’m from Porto Alegre”, or “it’s just that I’m from Porto Alegre”, or “it’s because I’m from Porto Alegre”.

According to this article, there were 10 cyclists hit and 5 of them were taken to a hospital for medical attention. That article also says that it was a hit-and-run.

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59 Responses to “Brazil Critical Mass Ride Attacked By Murderous Motorist”

  1. Palmas says:

    The real name of the drive is Ricardo José Neis. We need the support from you ALL. Please share this video with your PRESS fellows and help us to have international repercussion before our local police simply let it go.
    tks,
    Palmas

  2. heltonbiker says:

    All the news and video links are being posted in realtime in our blog http://massacriticapoa.wordpress.com, and experience has shown that Google Translator is working well enough with our posts. Thanks for support, and next month things will be huge here! Keep in touch!

  3. Diego Lopes says:

    Yes, we need all support, cause things are getting tugh here in Porto Alegre.
    for yuo to have an idea, even after watching the videos, the press and the authorities here are saying that they can’t say it was intentional, and that they need to hear what the driver has to say.
    They also claim that the Critical Mass is illegal.

  4. Livia Araujo says:

    Thank you very much, pals. All cyclists here in Porto Alegre are proud and happy of the solidarity all over the world. Tomorrow we’ll have a extra critical mass to protest in front of City Hall, 7p.m. local time.

  5. drews says:

    Showing the video to the press outside Brazil is necessary. This is big news. It is a fact that brazilian press is already defending this criminal. WE NEED SUPPORT OVERSEAS.

  6. Nicholas Beebe says:

    What the driver did is absolutely reprehensible. What he did, I feel, should revoke his right to live on this Earth. That said, you cannot engage in an activity that intentionally aggravates other road users by riding on the roads in an illegal and irritating manner, and then absolve yourself from blame in the incident. It is the duty of all protesters and activists, cyclist or otherwise, to act in a legal, ethical, and civil manner.

    If I were to enter your personal space, intentionally harassing you, saying, “I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you! NYAAAAAAA!” would I be totally blameless when you lost your temper and punched me?

    Please take an important lesson from this video. Instead of pointing fingers, set an example for appropriate and civil behavior that others may follow. “You must be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

  7. Sérgio Guidoux says:

    We may be late, but we just uploaded this video with the subtitles and noticed that others had added subtitles before us. It’s a bit better quality because it’s not reencoded:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY1sY8UDwjs

    We have included some translated news in the description as well:

  8. Sérgio Guidoux says:

    Anyway, thanks a lot for the support! I had 3 nights without proper sleep since the incident. Working on the videos and checking for news.
    Much love

  9. Sam says:

    First, thanks for the translations. Second thing on my mind is the driver is obviously nuts but in my opinnion bikes belong where others walk not on the roads with cars..

  10. Ezra Teter says:

    We are furious here in Brazil. There are not strong enough curse words in the English or the Portuguese language to describe how completely pissed off most of the people I know are. We will be intently watching to see if the police coddle this criminal or actually administer justice. For the media here to call this an accident just adds insult to injury. For me this is a declaration of war.

  11. Zorn says:

    i know this news from facebook.that’s horrible to the drivers.the cyclists can ride on the road.why
    he used to kill the bikers and the government to stop the news to tv news channel.i am scared to cyclists…
    more bikers had knew this case in hong kong.they are ANGER and SUPPORT from the facebook

    so please.the cyclists CAN RIDE ON THE ROAD

  12. ana tomazini says:

    Great article, but things in Brazil doesn’t seem to be going ok for the victims … the biggest press release is already treating as an accident and protecting the criminal … the driver is a well know person, work for the Central Bank and got himself 2 lawyers already …. the cyclists has nothing, not the media, support or money … I can’t see justice been made in this case … It’s a sad, sad reality … All support and efforts are welcome ! Thanks !

  13. Nicholas: Interesting that you assume the road is the personal space of motorists, and that by entering it bicyclists are by definition being provocative. That betrays a biased assumption on your part, as well as a willingness to blame the victim. One of the main purposes of Critical Mass is to assert our right to the road in an open, friendly and inviting manner — reminding motorists that we are present in large numbers, that we too have a right to the road, and that the roads are not the exclusive domain of the automobile.

  14. [...] San Francisco Critical Mass words, history, ideas and more from San Francisco's Critical Mass « Brazil Critical Mass Ride Attacked By Murderous Motorist [...]

  15. ConceredCanadian says:

    so sad…. this person must be held accountable. Most news appears to be in Portuguese, hopefully somebody will keep us posted with English updates…

  16. moo says:

    Sam, you’re entitled to your opinion that bikes belong where people walk, but I would point out that California law doesn’t agree with your view. Specifically, CVC 21202 describes expected behavior of bicycles on roadways. Also, some cities prohibit riding bicycles on sidewalks.

  17. Jack says:

    hughillustration: Yes, the roads are also not exclusive to the bike riders as well. The driver had every right to share the road with the cyclists as well, not having the cyclist block his path. The driver had every right to be on that road legally and his urgency to use that road could have been a medical emergency. I watched several other tapes and the driver actually pleaded to the bikers to let him through but the bikers grew hostile toward him and pretty much told him to shut up. The bikers could have simply filed to the side, called out to the others in front to do the same, and let the car through, taking no more than 10 seconds of their time. Both driver and cyclists were wrong in this one but it was the cyclists who provoked the driver to flip out and react in this unpredictable manner.

  18. Chilly says:

    The driver was horrible but Critical Mass bikers (even groups of 5-10 bikers) can be very antagonistic. I have seen them they relish in taking up all the lanes and impeding traffic. The video of that driver losing his cool is very frightening and I will remember it the next time I become frustrated by bikers but I also understand the frustration.

    Drivers don’t be dicks. Bikers don’t be ass hats.

    Let’s try to get along.

  19. Jack says:

    Critical Mass should be about promoting bikes on the streets and sharing the streets in a respectful manner with cars, moving over allowing them to pass if they need to – which in turn will convince cities to create bike lanes. That is what will bring positive light to the movement, and win supporters and bring unity with non-bike riders.

    Not taking up entire streets unannounced and purposefully slowing down cars, and creating traffic behind them for miles, and acting aggressively toward non-bike riders or those who don’t understand the movement.

  20. SF Rider says:

    I ride and I would like more respect on the roads..

    I don’t think the way many people behave on Critical Mass rides is gaining us any friends.. blocking intersections, stopping traffic and disobeying traffic laws in an effort to snarl traffic is only pissing people off and making them hate cyclists..

    I think it’s time to reassess the approach to critical mass.. so its effect is a positive one..

  21. Tim says:

    Jack, you’re a turd. You’re giving this guy a free pass on attempted murder because he had a right of way? So a few mass-holes “provoked the driver to flip out”?

    You’re blaming the victim here. You fail.

  22. Jack says:

    Tim: I’m not blaming anyone nor did I OK the driver’s action in any way. Perhaps you should take a class in reader comprehension. I’m just analyzing the situation in an unbiased view and stating the reality of the situation. Clearly, I’m analyzing this in a cause-effect manner and only realization of the causes will prevent this from happening again, not a childish game of who’s to blame.

    But since we’re on that topic anyway at this point, and if you must know my thoughts. It is both cyclists and driver’s fault. They both had their faults which escalated into this horrible act. Neither side were right and the situation could’ve been handled better by both parties and this would’ve all been prevented.

  23. urbnman says:

    First off, Jack let me drive over you slowly with my semi truck because you are in a Smart car or a Lexus and taunting me in your underpowered cockmagnet!

    Now to the real issue, let us all share roads and be courteous. Car drivers are mostly mindful of us on bikes. I drive and get frustrated by lame ass bikers who think they need a whole lane when a few meters will do. Cars are heavy and steel, and bikers are very vulnerable. No matter the emergency or cause, assault is measured in degrees of aforethought and intent. In the end this is a clear assault with intent to harm. Let a court decide guilt and degree and the punishment. I hope that he is caught before I see him/her on the road…a 20 ton Peterbilt mashing him in his VW is a fair match.
    I always say that every driving test should involve a 1 kilo rock thrown at the chest at 20 kph just so ppl realize how much pain getting in an accident can cause. This test can prevent incidents like this.’
    Happy biking…

  24. Jack is walking across the street, and he bumps into a big guy who much larger and stronger than Jack is. Jack did not have the right of way, and he could have apologized. But the big guy beats the crap out of Jack, and Jack has to go to the hospital with permanent injuries. He’ll walk, but not without pain, and he will never run again in his life.

    Now, both parties are to blame here. Sure, the big guy should not have beaten Jack to a bloody pulp. But Jack should have yielded the right of way to the larger man, so they are both at fault. The situation could’ve been handled better by both parties.

  25. Jack says:

    Hugh: That was a poor analogy. It is the LAW for bikers to ride with traffic and to move closest to the curb for vehicles. I bumping into a guy would be an accident. If I had intentionally bumped the big guy and came off as threat to him, yes I would deserve a beating.

    Critical Mass cyclists were purposely blocking the vehicle and hitting the car, breaking his window, and endangering his son, when the driver asked to pass.

  26. Note that your definition of vehicles is a motorized vehicle — you don’t consider a bike to be a vehicle. In California, and in many other states, bikes have a right to take the lane when conditions require it.

    The cyclists were not blocking the vehicle, they were taking the lane due to their large numbers. The motorist was being asked to wait, just as cyclists are expected to wait and experience delay every day (for example, when motorists use the bike lane to double-park). You’ve accepted the motorist’s story about harassment without question — there’s no evidence that his claim has any merit.

  27. Jack says:

    Wrong.

    http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21202.htm

    Here’s your own law pointed out to you. Are you really that dumb? LOL

  28. You’ll note that the law says a bicycle must ride to the right when the “normal speed of traffic” is faster. But during Critical Mass, the number of bikes on the road makes the bicycle speed the “normal speed” of traffic.

    I’ll thank you to keep a civil tone and avoid questioning my intelligence, so long as I am taking the time to engage with you patiently and publish your comments for you.

    H.

  29. Jack says:

    Anyway..Provoke and you might just get a reaction.

    Clearly the riders were executing “corking” and disrupting traffic on purpose.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Mass (read last paragraphs in link).

  30. Jack says:

    Normal speed is posted speed limit. Snarling traffic on a road or highway to 5-10 mph doesn’t make it NORMAL speed. As someone also driving on the road/highway who isn’t meeting MINIMUM speed limit, snarling traffic, is considered violating a minimum speed limits and can be summoned for it.

  31. No, in that case it would read “Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than THE POSTED SPEED LIMIT…”

  32. Jack says:

    Wow. Just wow. You’re the very reason why America is failing with so many frivolous lawsuits. The very reason why others laugh at Americans and laugh at how the US needs to be told that our coffee is hot on the coffee lids or that a recently mopped floor is slippery.

  33. Jack says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, behold! The new American generation! Where common sense and logic is replaced with everything written out for you in A-B-C!

  34. Nicholas Beebe says:

    highillustration: It is interesting that you assume that I mean that the road is the personal space of cars. By picking and choosing what words you want to highlight you obviously miss my point. It is not that cyclists of critical mass are invading a protected sanctuary of driving, but that they often act in a manners that are illegal, confrontational, and/or downright rude. Critical mass seems to seldom be open and inviting. Corking is the act of preventing automobile traffic. That is the opposite of open and inviting.

    I am a cyclist, and I recognize that I do not have a right to the road any more than any motorist. The use of public infrastructure is not a right, but a responsibility. This is why there are traffic laws and tests for drivers’ licenses. If you wish for motorists to share the road, then you should also share the road. If you don’t, and you act in an antagonistic manner towards drivers, then you are personally responsible for the confrontations that are a result of your actions.

  35. Pat Knight says:

    As a rider of many critical masses, as a biker who has been hit by cars, and just as a person I found this video to be horrifying. I know that riders at critical mass rides can be antagonistic, but are we any worse than grid lock traffic here in NY? Rarely do rides ever entail stoping in traffic. They’re rides-we roll. What would happen if a monster truck started running over cars on the Cross Bronx Expressway? Would anyone say the standing still traffic provoked the attack?

  36. moo says:

    Jack, I think Hugh’s interpretation of “normal speed” not being the posted speed limit in CVC 21202 is correct. Note that the text surrounding “normal speed” in that regulation is “normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time”. If the law’s intent was for that to be the posted speed limit, it probably wouldn’t have been written with “at that time”.

    I think the intent of the phrase “normal speed of traffic” is more clearly stated in CVC 21654 (http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21654.htm): “Notwithstanding the prima facie speed limits, any vehicle proceeding upon a highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time …”

    That being said, is Hugh’s assertion that the large number of cyclists on the road makes the bicycle’s speed the normal speed of traffic correct? I think that depends on the situation and is probably debatable depending on how you interpret the law. But normal speed is clearly not defined by the posted speed limit.

  37. moo says:

    By the way, I think it’s safe to say that California Vehicle Code doesn’t apply to bicycle traffic in Brazil. Anyone know how their laws are written?

  38. One note I’d like to make: It’s nice that there is a spirited discussion going here. However, there have been a few comments I have not published because the content was pathetically lame. I’m happy to post things I disagree with, but geez… I mean, I have standards! If you can’t write a coherent sentence and are a hateful, unintelligent loser, don’t expect to see your words published here! Nuff said.

  39. Also: Not referring to anyone whose words appear thus far — I’m referring to submissions I have received and deleted due to their obvious stupidity.

  40. sam says:

    If this was a parade or protesters on foot, I don’t think there would be talk of “they deserved it for deliberately slowing down traffic” so how come that argument is used for bikes?

  41. Logan says:

    Just posted this link / video on Facebook. Best way I know to share this. Post it on your facebook wall people! :) Good luck guys, I seriously this dosn’t just get dropped. 12 lives were affected, and many more than that could have potentially been killed.

  42. John says:

    From what I understand, a Critical Mass bike ride is to make people aware that bikes are a viable option for transportation. I completely disagree with how they go about it. They purposely block the roads and slow down traffic. Unless they are getting permits do do these rides, they have no right to impede the flow of traffic (at least in the US).

    The guy driving has come forward. He said that some of the riders were taunting and hitting his car. He had his son in the car and claims that he was in fear for his son. (Just saying what I’ve read, not agreeing with his actions)

  43. AZ says:

    As a dedicated cyclist, I disagree with the idea behind most Critical Masses (those which purposely block traffic or which blatantly violate traffic laws). Yea, more people should ride bikes, but I believe in living as an example, not driving them out of their cars through annoyance (which certainly won’t work anyways).

    But the use of a car as a weapon or a tool to bully people makes me absolutely furious… I mean hulk furious.

    A note to drivers: don’t road rage on cyclists or bully them with your car. They will always road rage back 10x harder. It’s not because we are harder people (the rain and the spandex), it’s because getting hit by a car (or almost hit) when you’re on a bike is scary as hell. When you step out of the car, or we catch you at the next light, we’ll have 10x the adrenaline in our veins and we’ll already have our heart rates up and going.

  44. Arpan says:

    I hate to interrupt this robust discussion on the legality of cycling on roadways/sidewalks aside, but this is just completely irrelevant in lieu of this guy intentionally attempting to massacre human lives. He should be persecuted at the most severe extent of the law.

  45. Arpan says:

    I hate to interrupt this robust discussion on the legality of cycling on roadways/sidewalks, but this is just completely irrelevant in lieu of this guy intentionally attempting to massacre innocent human lives. He should be persecuted at the most severe extent of the law.

  46. a humble passerby says:

    From the start, I truly love bicycling. I also have never owned a car and seldom drive. I first saw the video on Bloomberg tv and must say I was terribly shocked. My gut reaction was to believe the man was a deviant and intent on harming/killing the cyclists. The aftermath was terrible to behold since all the cyclists looked so peaceful in the footage. But then I heard the other side, that the driver was trying to pass through, that there were other cyclists who provoked the driver and smashed his windows with his kid inside. That IS frightening. Just because you are in a car does not make you not vulnerable to the crowd surrounding you. In fact, I know that you have to be even more careful. Yes, his reaction to plow down the cyclists was totally wrong and unpardonable. I think he should face some criminal charges for his actions. But I also think that Critical Mass’s crusade is not going about it in the right way to promote bicycle awareness. It looks as though the event prohibits normal traffic by a mass of cyclists usurping the road instead of peacefully travelling together with other vehicles that are also full of your neighbors who are trying to urgently get somewhere. NYC has Summer Streets, where beforehand, the city promotes and cooperates by actually shutting down select roads to motorists. Thus they reroute them to other roads so that they are not inconvenienced by the cyclists who get to enjoy the open roads sans vehicles. It is an amazing event and I believe this is also much safer as well. Though this event cannot happen everywhere, and that’s where Critical Mass steps in, a mass of cyclists coming out for a joyride does not make it right to block the roads to others who need it. My heart swells for those who were injured and for the many traumatized by this event.

  47. MaNo says:

    Some comments are just dumb and shouldn´t even be written. The biggest problem in this case is that people were using bikes. Would the guy in an emergency run over a cop or firemen crowd because they were closing the streets while they pass ? Why the driver has the right to hurt people with his car ? Put your kids in the place of those who got hurt. Is there an excuse for that ? If he were threaten by the riders, why after trying to kill them, he just abandoned his car ? Why he didn´t went home normally ? It´s almost impossible to find someone who would just admit that he lose his head and ran over intentionally. We live in a car society. Cars are right, all the others are wrong. This is the reason the critical mass was created. To show that you can live without cars, cities are made of people, not cars.
    By the way, just ignore Jack. He´s just trolling. Don´t feed the trolls.

  48. Joe says:

    I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often. I’m a bike rider who hates critical mass. With cities so spread out, and terrible public transportation, it is not viable for anyone traveling long distances to bike ride. This “movement” serves no purpose except for very self centered people to cause chaos. Critical Mass creates hatred towards bikers.

  49. Rob says:

    I read all the posts, including Jack’s. I don’t agree with the driver’s behavior but I have to admit that Jack made some valid and legitimate arguments.

    People react to fear in different ways, it’s the very nature of fight or flight. Because we can’t predict one’s response, we shouldn’t be provoking them either. Would you provoke a cop if he pulled you over wrongly or you felt you were right about something? The outcome is unpredictable and at times can even be deadly.

    Mano, emergency vehicles such as the police or firefighter will not prevent you from passing if you have a medical emergency. In fact and often at times, they’ll even clear the road ahead of you and escort you. This actually happened to me when I suffered a mild heart attack when I was driving a few years back.

    Also, I’m not sure where you live but public transportation is terrible where I live and biking 50 miles to work in winter conditions isn’t viable.

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