Police violently attacked cyclists in May's Critical Mass demo through London last Friday.
At least two people were arrested as mounted police provoked and terrorised the monthly ride that pushes for the rights of cyclists to ride around London without being harrassed or intimidated by other road users.
In one incident on Charing Cross Road, police became embroiled in an incident where a black cab driver started threatening cyclists and eventually arrested one person who was was handcuffed and held on the ground for over 10 minutes. Mounted units moved in and as the video shows, one of them lashed out indiscriminately at a cyclist who was later arrested for obstructing the public highway even though this the whole purpose of a demonstration.
The violence, which was all caught on camera, led to more calls against unwarranted police agression towards demonstrators, who were clearly only trying to continue their monthly protest ride.
Apart from this incident and a few more where drivers threatened to attack cyclists, the Critical Mass was declared a massive success, attracting hundreds of bicycle enthusiasts who as a bloc rode around blockading traffic and ensuring that for once cyclists were not bullied off the road by car-drivers having a bad day or who generally petrol is the only way.
"It felt great to ride together in a big group. Sometimes we have to remind other drivers that all road-users have the same rights, especially as they are polluting the air for the rest of us with their choice of transport," said Tim, one of the cyclists.
"The authorities should respond to the increasing popularity of cyclists with more pavement-separated bicycle lanes and tougher punishments for those who hit cyclists."
Cab companies like Addison Lee have been heavily criticised by cyclists who are angry on the firm's attitude towards cyclists. Bikes Alive have been campaigning for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians in a number of demos this year. The group said in a statement on their website: "Many cyclists have been unnecessarily killed and injured at Kings Cross in recent years. Transport for London (TfL) was repeatedly warned, over a long period, that the road design didn’t match its own safety guidelines – but it refused to act."
And in a leaked document it was revealed that TfL told its traffic engineers to ignore cyclists when planning changes to the road layout. Cyclists see these actions as an affront not only to their rights as road-users but also as a green light for drivers to threaten their safety while cycling around London.