Monday, May 09, 2005

Still we ride

by Still We Ride
Email: (unverified!) 08 May 2005
For Immediate Release

STILL WE RIDE Opens the Bicycle Film Festival with a Focus on Free Speech

Thursday May 12
7 and 9pm
Anthology Film Archives
2nd Ave and 2nd Street

info (at)
May 12, 2004 - Opening night of the Bicycle Film Festival will rally the
cycling community around unjust arrests and put the focus on free speech.

It will not fall on the last Friday of the month, but the opening night of
the Fifth Annual Bicycle Film Festival is sure to bring out New York City’s
cycling community and supporters who are anxious to view the first cut of
Still We Ride, the new documentary by Elizabeth Press, Andrew Lynn, and
Christopher Ryan.

The ongoing crackdown on the monthly Critical Mass bike rides has resulted
in hundreds of arrests and bike seizures since August 2004, but it has also
brought bikers, environmentalists, lawyers, free speech activists, and
elected officials together to stand up against the City’s attack on peoples’
rights to freely assemble. Still We Ride is an eye-opening and resilient 40
minute collage of imagery and voices captured by a network of more than 20
independent videographers and legal observers who have been documenting the
event relentlessly since the police got heavily involved last year.

If you want to find yourself in the midst of those most closely affected by
this struggle and get an up-close and personal look at Critical Mass in NYC,
then Anthology Film Archives is the place to be on Thursday, May 12. Still
We Ride will be screening at 7pm and 9pm in a program with several other
short films and videos. The Bicycle Film Festival, which runs at Anthology
through May 15, promises to bring plenty of bicycle culture to the big

About Still We Ride

The story begins on Friday August 27, 2004 in New York City, just days
before the start of the Republican National Convention, when 264 people were
arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and parading without a permit
during the monthly bicycle celebration. But unlike the majority of the
RNC-related arrests, which have been dismissed, bicycle-related arrests and
bike seizures at monthly Critical Mass rides have persisted. Most recently,
in April of 2005, there were 34 arrests. March saw 37 arrests and even more
bike seizures. The monthly pattern of confrontation has forced the bike
community into a legal battle with the city and has politicized the once
celebratory ritual. The city believes that the event, which has no
leadership organization or planned route must apply for a permit in order
for cyclists to assemble and ride through the streets. “You’re blocking
traffic,” says the assistant chief Smolka, in one scene. A cyclist replies,
“I am traffic! What do you mean?”

Lawyers on the cyclists’ side recognize that selective enforcement of such
laws represent not only a threat to cyclists’ rights to the road as
legitimate vehicles, but to peoples’ first amendment right to assemble
freely in parks and other public spaces. In the words of an interviewee who
was arrested on the night of August 27, “I saw my experience not so much as
something that happened to me, but as a window of opportunity for greater
suppression of rights in this country.”
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