Submitted by Editor on Mon, 27/09/2021 - 11:12

Spurtle has received a report that on Saturday afternoon, a group of moto-cross bikers harassed participants in a peaceful Critical Mass cycle protest in the city centre.

An eye witness told us, 'At 4.30pm, I was on my bicycle going down Leith Street outside the St James Quarter, waiting behind a stationary bus. Suddenly, a group of around five moto-cross bike riders appeared in the uphill lane, pulling wheelies at speed. Their bikes – with no registration plates – had loud, detuned engines.

'They skidded to a halt at the junction with Princes Street, revving their engines, and then started to turn round. At the same time a large group of cyclists belonging to the monthly Critical Mass bike protest group rode up Leith Street.
'I thought for an instant that the moto-cross bikes were somehow connected to the protest, though it seemed unlikely, given their carbon emissions. It was very soon clear that the moto-cross bikers were in opposition to the protesters, as they then charged down the hill, weaving in and out of traffic, and passing very close to the peloton. They returned up the hill again, and weaved alarmingly in
and out of the traffic, and onto the pavement, passing close by me on their way back down.
'Members of the protest, which included a number of children, were clearly scared. I moved my bike onto the pavement, where it felt safer, and called 999. A member of the cycle protest tried to give chase on foot. The gang then disappeared in the direction of Picardy Place. A member of the protest reported that he had seen six bikes, and that they had crashed into a fence outside Starbucks.
'The cycle group mostly moved off, but a small section remained. They were shaken, but apparently unhurt, though the moto-cross riders had hit one bicycle.

'Protesters said that their protests are always peaceful, and that although motorists sometimes shouted at them, they had never experienced this sort of harassment before. They thought there had been over 100 bikes in the peloton. They decided to continue their ride to the Parliament.
'There were many eyewitnesses and doubtless there is CCTV footage from buses in the area.'

Spurtle has approached Police Scotland for a statement, but has yet to hear back.

Update (14:16, 26/09/21): Police Scotland emailed us to say 'We received reports of cyclists who had been knocked off their bikes on Leith Street, Edinburgh, around 4.30pm on Saturday 25 September. There were no reports of any injuries. A diary appointment has been made with the reporter to gather more details.'