Saturday, April 29, 2006

Last Night's Critical Mass

What a joke. We gathered in Union Square, smaller this time than the ride in March. Kind of weird for a warmer spring day. Where is everyone? There was a double wide tall bike made at Cooper Union's design program...come on, I mean if you can ride that thing at Manhattan Critical Mass, we all should be able to come out and ride. About 150 of broke out and rode down Broadway. The cops began their usual pursuit with scooters and right away began pulling people over who ran red lights with two scooters per ticket. So the ride began to stop at every red light, thus breaking down the ride into little small groups. It seemed as if you didn't have scooters on you, the ride could just proceed forward. The ride broke up into two major groups, one was snaking around Astor Place and the other, about 100 was cruising up 6th and then 8th Ave. Our timid group of 30-50 riders wound up at Washington Square Park and then we made a break for 6th Ave, while the other group was cutting East around the 40's...we were on our own. Weird stuff happened on 6th Ave. A lone cop car pulled over a rider and was trying to put their bike in his trunk. Cops on foot gave a summons to a rider for not being over to the right enough? Huh? One brave fixie made a sprint through a red light and was chased by 2 scooter cops as we stopped at the light and cheered. He made a turn onto oncoming traffic at 13th St. and appeared to get away, we cheered. Then we got up there and made a closer look, he had been caught. He got stopped by plowing into a Mercedes and cracking the windshield. He only got a summons. Sure it was a thrill to see someone make a break for it, but what's the point? I later found out. At 10th Ave and 23rd Street a mob of scooter cops cut off the ride and jumped off their scooters...the light was Green. They began yelling things like, you'd better have ID. One pig tried to grab me and I turned around and got away. I never should have got so close to them, it was sloppy. But why were we being stopped...the light was Green and we were obeying traffic laws? Oh I get it doesn't matter what you do...or what a State or Federal judge says...the NYPD doesn't give a fuck. There orders are to harass the ride, give as many tickets as possible and make people scared...the panic factor. So now I don't blame that guy for trying to get away. Here are a few tips for the next ride: Do not be a sitting duck. Try not to ride near any scooter cops; even if they are being not listen to them. One scooter cop was video taped around the 40's repeatedly ramming his ride into a this because the rider didn't stop at a red light? No it is because these cops are ASSHOLES! and are once again willing to injure people and possibly themselves because some MUtherfucker in power wants critical mass to end. Here is a memo NYPD...its NEVER GOING TO STOP!! anyway...enough of my macho bravado. After our ambush, I had enough of this timid rookie shit. I headed over to Washington Square park to wait for people. About 75 people gathered at Washington square park were we had another Mexican standoff with equal numbers of scooter cops waiting for us to move on 5th ave. One of the white shirt pigs in charge came over and wanted to have a 15 minute discussion about why we had a little baby on the ride? God forbid we bring our children along so they can see what assholes our civil servants are. I think the cop was pissed because they couldn't
't try and injure us with their scooters as much if there are children around. I'm so sorry officer. We were trying to figure out what would be the best strategy to get to Brooklyn to support a fellow activist who is facing 30 years in prison on some bullshit charges in the USA Green scare...kind of like the red scare of the 50s only now its against environmentalists. We heard reports that there were tons of cops at each of the lower Manhattan bridges. It was obvious the cops were preparing for us to take one of the car paths on a bridge in Mass. I left the ride, cause I had other plans...but I heard people got to Brooklyn ok. A friend of mine said he'd never seen so many scooter cops waiting at the Brooklyn Bridge...once again a fine usage of tax resources. My middle finger goes out to all of you punk "so-called" police officers. You suck. Get a real job like fighting crime and making our streets safer, not attacking biker riders. Whats the point anyway? You just retire with your pension and live in Westchester and sit around stewing about what animals we all are. Let us have our bike ride...we live here, just barely getting by in a city with the average price of an apartment is 1.2 million dollars. Just let us ride as you make a city that just caters to the rich with big box stores, new stadiums and turn or beloved community into one big shopping mall. Ok I'm a little mad.

Brandon was in San Francisco and had a great time at their critical mass...over 1,000 people, the cops stop traffic for the riders...ahhhh the West Coast. here are a few pictures.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was one of the riders with a kid last night. I brought my 6 year old son on a tag-along. I'm on the Williamsburg bridge 4 times a day with this set-up commuting my son to school. It's fast and efficient, but it can also be dangerous due to irresponsible drivers. That's why I do Critical Mass. Last night my son kept wanting to know why the police were stopping people. He could see we were obeying all of the traffic rules. He took it all in. He's a blank slate. The NYCPD should take a hard look at the message they're conveying. We were in the middle of the ambush (a new vocabulary word for my son) at 10th Ave and 23rd Street. Everyone around us was stopped and ticketed. My son and I were sitting ducks. The cops didn't touch us. If you have kids, bring them on the ride. The cops don't dare touch them, and it's an excellent civics lesson.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just the west coast, we get fairly nice cooperation from the cops here in Chicago.

Keep fighting!

1:54 PM  
Blogger BlogerosGarcia said...

we had one arrest during last night's cm in boston. actually, we were in cambridge (harvard square) when the cops arrested the masser. afterward, one of the cops gave the 15 or so of us who stopped a lecture on how we should obey cops. we don't usually have problems with cops, except for the occassional traffic ticket.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was one arrest at the atlanta cm last night as well. I'm not sure of the details but some guy was in handcuffs.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attention NYC riders!
Please make a point of reporting any observations of illegal behavior by the NYPD at:

4:50 PM  
Blogger ThatBeeGirl said...

I'll have to remember to participate in the next SF one.
Thanks for the replay of yesterday's events!

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

report of 6 arrests here in chicago, one confirmed almost. But it ended with a snarl of a hip 6 corner intersection, and made a dance party with local musicians in the street. I would think the cops were reserved in comparison to NY.
Great report of the ride here! Thanks to those who would haul thier kid and give them a civics lesson. Better yet, haul them to where the images are good and give THEM the camera that you taught them how to operate. They might find a little video blogging can make them very popular at school :)
Trav - esty

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a war out there. The NYPD and Bloomberg definitely want to shut the bike rides down. I got ticketed Friday at 23rd and 8th. I rushed through the light to keep up with the group I was in. I thought I was doing the cars a favor by getting through the intersection so as not to block the traffic behind me. Silly me! Turns out at the very moment I went through the intersection a group of scooter cops were coming down 23rd and pulled all of us at the back of our pack over. I was charged with running a red light. A guy with me was charged with riding on the right side of the street instead of the bike lane.

I'm a 47-year-old who loves these Critical Mass street rides because it's the only time I get to ride in the city without having to worry about some car on my tail or a cab that's going to cut me off. (I got doored last year by an idiot woman getting out of a taxi right in the middle of 86th Street. Broke my shoulder. The cabbie stayed with me while I waited for an ambulance to arrive but the woman took off.)

I can't understand why in a time of skyrocketing gas prices the city of New York would bother ticketing bike riders. What kind of message does this send to citizens?

And don't New York's police have better things to do than nab old men like me on a bike? Like how about capturing Osama bin Laden?

A neat event of the urban fabric is being strangled for the sake of the suburban automobile. Ridiculous!

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey mike- any pics from the nyc cm?? i haven't found any online.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had 6 arrests at the Milwaukee Critical Mass. They got us for not having bike licenses on our bikes.

The funny thing is they were all at the park where we met up, told us to keep it legal, so we rode on a bike path instead of the road, but they still followed us and stopped the Mass. Ridiculous.

Read more at my LJ

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there are some photos of the mass as well as great photos from the afterparty/benefit for Daniel McGowan

thanks AC!

7:27 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

The Atanta CM ride went pretty smoothly. One cop stuck in traffic going the opposite way got on his PA and kept saying "You need to disperse" as we rode by. Don't think he actually did anything though. Another cop waited patiently while we corked an intersection, then went about his business.

There's a vague rumor floating that someone mouthed off to a cop and got arrested -- I didn't witness it and don't know if its true or not.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Brian McGloin said...

I posted words and pictures from the Critical Mass here: The pictures link back to my Flickr page. There is a link in the blog to my Website also.

In a way, I'm glad I missed the serious chaos - I was having a good time casually riding, taking photos, talking ... it was almost how it should be. However, I'm sorry I missed the super illegal stuff as opposed to the regular kinda illegal stuff. It would be good to get photos of it.
More people need to bring cameras of any sort - not just crazy professional photo types like me. We need to photograph every time the cops block intersections (to keep traffic moving?) or ram cyclists with their faggy scooters or pull cyclists off of their bikes (to protect public saftey?) or harass people for peaceably assembling in public space (protected inder the constituion?)

- it goes on.

Remember, over a million people use flickr. Probably as many or more use Blogspot or Live Journal or other blogs. We need to keep (or start) writing, photographing, speaking out, getting heard in an effective way.

11:29 AM  

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