District Attorney Blasts Bicyclist who Attacked Zipcar During Critical Mass

Prince at Cow Palace in 1985.

“Despicable behavior.” That’s how District Attorney George Gascón described the actions of Ian Hespelt, 39, the mustachioed bicyclist who earned his 15 minutes of infamy after video of him attacking a Zipcar surfaced on YouTube.

[jump] On Aug. 28, Hespelt was riding with Critical Mass, a monthly protest ride, when he and several other cyclists rode into oncoming traffic in the Marina. Things turned violent after Hespelt began taunting a Zipcar that hadn’t braked well in advance (and hit his bike, he said). Video captured the outraged cyclist smashing the car with a U-lock as the driver accelerated away.

As the Chronicle reports, Hespelt now faces four felony charges: assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, throwing a substance at a vehicle, and vandalism. Superior Court Judge Daniel Flores lowered Hespelt’s bail from $145,000 to $90,000 during a hearing on Thursday.

“If you engage in this kind of behavior, there will be consequences,” DA Gascón said. “We are operating under very congested road conditions. Whether they are driving, riding a bike, or walking, people need to respect and understand each other.”

Gascón added, “If we allow this kind of behavior to go on with no threat, there is a public safety risk.”

Justin Goodwin, Hespelt’s attorney, remarked that his client is “deeply saddened and shocked that what began as a simple bike ride turned into these charges.”

According to the Chronicle, Hespelt’s mother was also shocked.

“The whole thing is from one perspective saying he’s to blame,” 68-year-old Randi Hespelt said. “This would have never happened if the driver didn’t do what she did.” Ms. Hespelt didn’t elaborate further, although she added that her son is “pretty mild-mannered” and “very passionate.” 

Hespelt is a Macy’s employee and a shop steward for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. ABC 7 reported that Washington state issued a felony warrant for Hespelt on drug charges.

Damage to the Zipcar was estimated at $1,800. Hespelt returns to court Monday, when he may enter a plea.

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