Friday, May 25, 2007

Bike Month Critical Mass as advertised by the DOT

Well its coming to the end of Bike Month and what better way to celebrate it then to go the monthly bike ride, critical mass. This is where you can ride your bike in a group and get harassed by the NYPD who STILL has nothing better to do then criminalize bike riding. Tonight was no different.

About 200 people showed up, about 150 more then last months drizzly ride where we all hopped on the subway and headed downtown to avoid the cops.

This time the ride left Union Square and headed down 5th Ave. where they were surrounded by tons of cops. This month the cops officially gave out the parading without a permit ticket...Happy Bike Month.

The group split up and 50 people went to Washington Square park to reconvene, another group of about 25 went to Madison Park. Madison was surrounded by cops and people were affraid to leave.

I heard rumors that the ride linked up and a group of 50 rode without harrassment for at least an hour. More info to come.


Blogger Unknown said...

:) i was with the group at madison square park. we WERE surrounded by police, but we were also unsure if the situation was any better at washington square park or if the group there was any bigger than the group we had going. none of us was sure what to do or where to ride. we all finally left pretty late and had a rough time catching up when we did. the police chased us down fast. my friends and i got stopped and asked for identification. luckily, we weren't assigned tickets. they claimed we should have been in the bike lane - there was one and we were not in it - and we also didn't have lights and bells.

so, when the bunch of us caught up, we really only got to ride for a few blocks before hitting battery park. it was fun while it lasted, though! that bigger cop free ride at the end. . .


7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This really isn't critical mass anymore. I don't want there to be anyh level of organization, but I think for the New York City ride to remain in existence, or even grow back to Mass like numbers we either need a change in administration, City Council legislation overhauling the police-crafted parade rules, or a tactical decision on our part (and I would prefer not to have to do this, since the lack of organization is what makes CM so beautiful.)

I propose that people randomly form, leaderless yet distinct groups of no more than 40 riders at Union Square and then each group moves to a different part of the park. Groups leave the park heading in their respective directions and swarm the city like an electron cloud. THe disparate groups of 40 would then converge again at 9:30/10pm at Union Square. THe convergence would be amazing. I know this seems rather organized, but it's really not. CM is not totally bereft of organization to begin with. It has a n agreed upon date, a start time, and a location. ALso, people communicate with each other about where to go by cellphone and walkietalkie. THe ride itself is leaderless and without planning. THe amount of organization my proposal adds is small. People would still form there groups of 40 on there own or not at all. The ride would still be leaderless. CM always used to end back at Union Square around 9:30/10pm so I don't think that aspect of my idea is controversial. The only thing we are doing is protecting ourselves by staying well within the parade law guidelines (which we can still work to change, we need not let this be an admission of acceptance or acqiessance.)

Critical Mass can continue to blead a death of thousand cuts, growing smaller every year until it is obsolete and forgotten by New Yorkers, or it can adapt and survive. Previously we were a single linear mass, now we must become a swarming, dynamic mass that is seen all over the city every last Friday of the month.

What do people think?

10:49 AM  
Blogger uptown bike said...

yeah, that idea has been floated about time and again. there are two main problems... one of which you touch on: too "organized" or "leaderly [sic]."

the other problem is that, as far as the tickets are concerned, inclufing the new parade rule ad. code, it makes no DAMN difference to the jerks in blue what is really going on. they harrass and ticket no matter what the reality is just cos the jerks in white tell them to, etc.

its worth a shot, but NO ONE, who is a genuine believer in CM, will take on this new "re-dis-organization."

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i see yer point phillip but your assertion that "NOone" who is a "Genuine beliver in CM" is down to change tactics is kinda ideological and stiff.
The beauty of CM is it is flexible (or should be)

and there would be some minor difference: the cops would be more spread out trying to fuk with the many mini masses, so they couldnt do full box ins, or they could do that only to a small group (which would suck)

keep on brainstorming new tactics, ride on!

3:20 PM  

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