May 2024

Mass left the Southbank at 7:30pm, as it usually does these days. Leaflets were circulated before the start of the ride, asking participants to come to Homerton, to put up a white bike for Harry Webb, who was killed there last September. At the time of writing the trial of the driver involved has been adjourned. Harry’s parents were contacted directly beforehand by members of Hackney LCC group, who approved of the proposed ride and white bike.

There were approximately five to six hundred participants on the ride. The Mass headed east towards Tower Bridge. Due to road closures in the central area of London, for the Champions League final, car traffic was heavy and movement was slow. The ride managed to stay together reasonably well, and headed east along Whitechapel High Street. A north turn up Cambridge Heath Road and then east on Well Street brought the ride to Kenworthy Road after about an hour and 20 minutes.

A bike that had been locked in place during the week, with pictures of Harry Webb attached to it, was spraypainted white, and a hundred tea light candles were lit around the bike as a memorial. Red distress smoke was lit, and the participants broke into spontaneous applause, cheers, and bell ringing as the smoke cleared. A bandmate of Harry’s attended on foot, and thanked Critical Mass riders for coming and remembering his friend.

Image courtesy of Lorenzo Ali –
Image courtesy of Lorenzo Ali –

The ride then took a slightly chaotic but fun route through Mabley Green and Victoria Park, riding over grass, before coming back to the roads around the south west corner of Victoria Park and heading towards Shoreditch via Bethnal Green. The front of the ride still stopped regularly, waiting for people behind to gather, and then move off again in a tighter bloc. This meant during the incident at the end of the ride after 10pm, there was a fairly large number of riders still participating.

The ride then headed south towards Borough Market, crossing London Bridge. At the junction of Tooley Street, while the ride was stopped again waiting for others to catch up, there was an incident which is still being investigated. An 18 year old rider became trapped under the wheels of a car and was dragged for approximately 50 metres across London Bridge. Multiple ambulances and police vehicles arrived on the scene. The rider is still recovering from his injuries, which included a broken nose, and heavy brusing and lacerations to his body – but thankfully, nothing more serious and he will make a recovery. The driver of the car was arrested by the City of London Police on the northern end of London Bridge after Mass riders caught up with him. After approximately an hour on the bridge, the police dispersed the crowd and riders went home.

A GoFundMe was set up with help from Critical Mass riders and friends of the injured rider. At the time of writing it is still open to make donations, but within less than 48 hours after it had been opened, the GoFundMe had reached its target of £1000 for a replacement bike for the rider. Although the ride was overwhelmingly positive, and it had been memorable to mark where Harry Webb had been killed, it had come to a very upsetting and traumatic end for anyone who had seen the incident at the south end of London Bridge. To see such genuine and immediate solidarity being displayed by Critical Mass riders with support for the rider, was a real sign of positivity and community.

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