Certain popular trends seem to permeate out of the cultural and social stew that is NYC. Things like hip-hop, UGG boots with skirts and bad 80’s revivals. Here is a trend I hope doesn’t find purchase in the rocky craves of our political labyrinth of street actions. If you’ve been living in some other kind of a cave or are not an avid reader of this blog, you would know that the city doesn’t want a friendly bike ride freely asserting itself through the streets known to the rest of the sane world as Critical Mass. It all started with a letter the NYPD was handing out in Union Square that stated the bike ride was dangerous and illegal and anyone participating in it would be subject to arrest and have his or her bikes taken. The letter was the warning and now it’s as real as the paper it’s printed on. For more than a year our ride numbers have dwindled and the arrest numbers have increased. There is no court order, all lawsuits are pending and no judge has made a ruling on the definition of critical mass, yet every time the police disrupt the ride and make arrests, even if traffic laws are obeyed. It has really put Critical Mass in an identity crisis. Is it a protest or is it just a bike ride? A mystery indeed. Now the same trend may be happening in London England. There last CM, police were handing out this letter. They have made threats of arrests. Is this the new trend for critical mass worldwide? The UK is also our biggest ally in the war for oil that’s getting us in a critical mass of trouble in the Middle East. Is this also a trend? Corporations harassing those making a statement about our dependencies on foreign oil and asserting their rights and visibility of alternative forms of transportation? Hmmm.
Here is the Critical Mass London website in case you wanted to find out more about what the hell is going on over there.
Here is the letter the London Police were handing out at the September London Critical Mass
Here are some nice pictures from another Critical Mass in the UK, in Nottingham. Earlier in October.