Violent Cyclist Caught, Thanks to ‘Non-Violence’ T-Shirt

Ian Hespelt Critical Mass cyclist (San Francisco Police Department)
San Francisco Police Department

A San Francisco-based hipster bicyclist who used a u-lock to attack a Zipcar during last month’s Critical Mass ride has been caught and charged. Ironically his t-shirt, which said “Non-violence is our strength,” was the key to his identification and capture.

San Francisco-based KRON 4 news reports that Ian Hespelt, 39, has been charged with four felonies, including assault, vandalism, false imprisonment, and throwing a dangerous object at a car. He caused approximately $2,000 in damages to the vehicle he attacked and reportedly remains in San Francisco County Jail.

The San Francisco Police Department is investigating the August 28 incident that was posted on YouTube and has garnered over 330,000 hits so far.

The violent confrontation between Hespelt and the driver occurred when Hespelt stopped in front of the Zipcar when he and other cyclists rode into opposing traffic. According to, his bike was struck when the Zipcar’s driver started moving her car again in an attempt to escape, which is when Hespelt dismounted from his bike and the violence began.

Since the incident occurred, several groups that were close to or previously aligned with Critical Mass have publicly distanced themselves, including the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Furthermore, SFist reports that these groups have emphasized that Critical Mass is not an organization at all, suggesting there is no one to take responsibility for the actions of Critical Mass participants.

On their website, Critical Mass describes the event as “a mass bicycle ride that takes place on the last Friday of each month in cities around the world. Everyone is invited! No one is in charge! Bring your bike!”

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