“The struggle continues,” said civil rights attorney Siegel, noting more than 500 people have been arrested for bicycle riding since last August, mostly in Critical Mass. A candidate for public advocate, Siegel is representing the bicyclists in their ongoing court case with the city, in which the city contends they need permits both to ride in Critical Mass and gather in Union Sq. and that it’s illegal for members of the environmental group Time’s Up! to publicize the unpermitted event.
“If I have a right legally to ride my bike on the street, I don’t need any government permission to do that,” Siegel said. “And we can’t allow the government to say we need permission to gather [in a park].” And if the city’s proposed ban to keep Critical Mass from being publicized existed in Colonial times, he added, the Boston Tea Party never would have happened, because, “No one could publicize that they were going to throw the tea in the harbor…. History tells us, you lose your fundamental freedoms, gradually, quietly,” Siegel warned.