Critical Mass rolls on.
So I missed another one by being away in Las Vegas for Interbike 2006. There was talk of doing a post convention ride, a la Critical Mass, which would be a hoot down the strip, but we didn't make that either.
So the city is making moves to make the NYC more bike friendly, but clearly not budging on their personal vendetta with the freely formed critical mass.
Here is one account of Friday's ride sent to me by Elizabeth, it was her first ride:
I thought I would send a quick email to pass along the story of my
first critical mass. Perhaps you were there last night and experienced
the chaos the police created at the beginning of the ride. My
boyfriend and I were towards the back of the pack and we were able to
ride by the first group of cops without incident. However, soon after
we turned east on 20th street and hooked up with a few other riders
the cops showed up again on their mopeds. We were all obeying all
traffic lights and there was only a group of about 7-8 of us at that
moment. One cop began driving very close to a cyclist and pinning him
to the far side of the street eventually driving him into the back of
a parked car. A girl stopped to scream at the cops because it was so
outragous. My boyfriend and I went back to union Square with a few
other guys and got one of the green capped guys to come back to the
scene with us. The cops were just finishing ticketing the two of them
for not having head lights. Luckily the guy was okay. The green capped
guy took down all of our information and said someone should get in
touch with us.
Is this the kind of shit the cops are getting away with every month?
This was the first critical mass I have experienced and I am
relatively new to cycling in NYC. My boyfriend is an avid cyclist and
has been commuting to NJ everyday using his bike and the train for the
past year. (He emailed you some picture of ticketing in Central Park a
few months ago if you recall, his name is Alex Kahl) So we both
finally got out to critical mass last night, excited to ride through
the city with a bunch of like-minded people.
My initial impression was somewhat dissapointing as there appeared to
be little to no leadership in regards to where we ride, when we ride
and how we ride. There were many others like us who were out there for
the first time and I fear many of them will not return. The cops seem
to have perfected their fear tactics so that critical mass has been
severely crippled the past few months. For all of us with both
front/back lights and bells there is no reason why we can't just ride
down the street together without cops harrassing us or driving us into
Some of the ideas we've thrown around over this past day, would be to
split into 4 groups and all ride different directions meeting up at
colombus circle or somehwere central. This would make the cops job
exponentially more difficult. Another thought would be to ride up the
bike path on 8th Avenue, creating an enormous cycling presence and
making other motorist more aware of that bike path. This would make
the cops ticketing even more outrageous as we'd be in a designated
Despite all the chaos of last night, alex & I will be out there next
month, jobs willing. I just hope that others weren't discouraged by
the police tirad.
Mike Pidel, made this video:
Lauren put up these pictures from the ride.