HOUSTON A bicyclist collapsed and died during last Friday s Critical Mass bike ride. Now the cyclists are defending themselves against claims they slowed down emergency responders trying to save the man s life.

The last Friday of every month, thousands of bicyclists fill the roads near downtown for Critical Mass bike ride. The resulting traffic tie ups often pit motorist again bicyclist, but on April 25, there was another kind of tension.

Richard Hauser, 62, was bicycling on Memorial heading east near Shepherd when he had a heart attack.

Fellow cyclist Elizabeth Crabtree is a nursing student, who jumped in to perform CPR.

He was just staring and gasping. You could tell he was fighting. Crabtree said. He was not able to speak. When we did get his heartbeat back, he did open his eyes and breathe some, but I mean he didn t focus on us.

What happened next caused more controversy for the embattled Critical Mass.

A Facebook posting apparently from one of the emergency responder complained: When rescuers have to bail out of their vehicles and try to walk thru the crowd to get to the victim, please do not get in the way.

Crabtree responded, No they literally drove the ambulance right up the bridge right next to us.

The 29-year-old nursing student said from her vantage point, the road was wide open and cleared.

The poster went onto say: Maybe next time we can get there in time to save them...You people are hopelessly clueless.

Crabtree was upset, saying, That was pretty harsh cause everyone there was doing as much as they could.

For her this was insult to injury. She also took a spill that night on her bike getting scraped up, biting through her upper and lower lips and losing a tooth. She knows though, that is minor compared to what happened to the man she could not save.

The Houston Fire Department has no official record of people delaying paramedics, but cannot check with responding crews until later this week, when they are back on duty.

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