Bicyclist charged with U-lock attack

A bicyclist who is charged with attacking a Zipcar driver with a U-lock during a Critical Mass event last month made his initial appearance in San Francisco Superior Court Thursday.

San Francisco resident Ian Hespelt, 39, did not enter a plea and will return to court on Monday. He remains in custody and a judge set his bail at $90,000.

Hespelt is facing four felony charges — assault, false imprisonment, vandalism and throwing dangerous objects at a vehicle for the Aug. 28 attack.

District Attorney George Gascon said:

“I think it’s really important for everyone to recognize, we are operating under very congested road conditions.¬†We have to respect each other’s rights and this individual, clearly, not only was he not respecting the victim’s right, but he wasn’t respecting anyone’s rights in this case and we want to send a very clear message that there will be consequences for that behavior here.”

Hespelt’s defense attorney Justin Goodwin said his client is “deeply saddened and shocked that what began as a traditional bicycle ride has resulted in this case and these charges.”

Goodwin said:

“We believe that these charges are defensible and we look forward to presenting that defense in court.”

The incident was captured on video and posted to YouTube. In the video, a confrontation occurs between several bicyclists riding against traffic during the group bike ride in the city’s Marina District.

As one driver tries to get away from the crowd, one of the bicyclists smashes the side of the car with his bicycle lock.

The Zipcar sustained about $1,400 in damage, according to the district attorney.

Officers arrested Hespelt on Saturday after officers on patrol spotted him near Third Street and Terry Francois Boulevard, according to police.

The officers noticed he was riding a bike similar to the one in the video and matched the description of the suspect, police said.