Feb 282011

A truly horrific event occurred in Brazil on Friday evening (February 25). A motorist ploughed into a group of cyclists enjoying a critical mass ride in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre. Thankfully no one died but the incredible video footage of the incident is shocking.

What it shows (see Youtube video below, does contain disturbing footage of incident so beware) is a peaceful critical mass in the Brazilian city that is interrupted when a motorist in a Volkswagen Golf goes through the middle of the road at speed knocking over cyclists like bowling skittles.

It left me sick when I first watched it and is very hard to watch. It’s a miracle that no one was killed.

Abandoned car

The car owner has been named locally but it is not yet certain that the driver in the car was that individual. Whoever it was, abandoned the car in another part of the city much later in the evening before disappearing.

Local police were able to identify the car used in the incident after cyclists in the ride had noted down the car registration number prior to the car ploughing into the crowd due to the aggressive behaviour of the driver.

Driver behaviour

According to local reports and witness statements, the motorist had been encroaching at the back of ride and was asked by riders to back off, but was increasingly agitated by the ride moving slow and had been driving at cyclists before breaking suddenly. Moments later the driver of course carried his act of a madman and attempted murder.

Over 100 cyclists participated in the critical mass ride. From the incident 10 were injured, eight with injuries that required hospital treatment.

No arrest yet

Reports out of Brazil suggest that police don’t see the incident as yet as intentional and will wait to question the driver of the vehicle before taking action. It is understood that a man that police want to question in relation to the incident will voluntarily hand himself today.

It is quite clear from the video that this incident is attempted murder, pure and simple. However antagonistic critical mass rides can be, there is no way it justifies this behaviour.


The driver of the Volkswagen Golf intends to give himself up to local Porto Alegre police but is claiming self defence as his motive for piling through the cycle riders at the critical mass event.

The driver has been named locally as Richard Neis, a 47 year old resident of Porto Alegre. A statement made by Mr Neis’ lawyer, Luis Fernando Coimbra Albino, contends that Mr Neis ploughed through the cyclists after being threatened by riders at the back of the ride.

Mr Neis was travelling with his 15 year old son in his car and Mr Albino said the instinct to protect his son may have motivated Mr Neis’ actions.

According to reports in Brazilian newspaper Zero Hour, Mr Neis’ son said that a number of cyclists had been banging on the sides of the Golf and his father had driven away at speed to get away from those people.

Mr Albino said Mr Neis would fully cooperate with any police investigation on the incident.

To read more on the events of Friday, please visit the The Puerto Alegre Critical Mass blog (in Portuguese)

Photo used courtesy of Ramiro Furquim

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