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  1. #1
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    I just got a flyer for a critical mass schedualed for next week, what can i expect? are they legal? how many riders show up?

  2. #2
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    What to expect?

    I would say that you should definitely join your local CM!

    For good info on Critical Mass check out this site:

    http://www.sflandmark.com/cm/howto.htm

    Which includes information about legal issues, what to expect, etc.

    Also check this page for other links:

    http://www.criticalmasshub.com/


    Mehron

  3. #3
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Look, I agree with the aims of getting better facilities for cycling and getting western society to get off it's backside and face up to it's oil addiction, but I'm yet to be conviced that critical mass is really the answer.

    Seems to me that all critical mass actually does is to upset everyone else on the road and give them a reason to blame cyclists for the traffic problems inherent in a lot of major cities (even though it's highly unlikely that cyclists are actually to blame for this).

    I tend to think you would be more productive writing letters to politicians, but that's just my personal opinion.

    regards,
    Chris

  4. #4
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    If you are interested in spending time with America's legal system, this is a great way to start!

    Read the account of someone from one of the Boston Critical Mass rides:
    http://www.bostoncriticalmass.org/legaldefense.html

    There is enough antagonism between cars and bicyclists. I think a group of bikes intentionally blocking traffic is a good way to end up on the front page of the obituary column.

    I'm from Boston, I ride, and bike to work. There are fringe members of any group you can think of. Critical Mass is a fringe group among bicycling groups. It's one thing to work outside the system, when you have tried every other means, but this is simply a case of bicycle hoolaginism.

    Go ahead, block traffic. Then cry when motorists get agitated about sharing the road with you. San Francisco has brought us some good things (Rice-a-roni comes to mind) but this ain't one of them!


  5. #5
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    Originally posted by dave9435
    If you are interested in spending time with America's legal system, this is a great way to start!

    Read the account of someone from one of the Boston Critical Mass rides:
    http://www.bostoncriticalmass.org/legaldefense.html

    There is enough antagonism between cars and bicyclists. I think a group of bikes intentionally blocking traffic is a good way to end up on the front page of the obituary column.

    I'm from Boston, I ride, and bike to work. There are fringe members of any group you can think of. Critical Mass is a fringe group among bicycling groups. It's one thing to work outside the system, when you have tried every other means, but this is simply a case of bicycle hoolaginism.

    Go ahead, block traffic. Then cry when motorists get agitated about sharing the road with you. San Francisco has brought us some good things (Rice-a-roni comes to mind) but this ain't one of them!
    Ok, i can agree with most of that, btw, i didnt attend the CM, i had other things to do. However, I dont agree that "Critical Mass is a fringe group among bicycling groups" I think it can be a good way to wake up alot of motorists about bicycle issues if done right, but then again, i need to attend one to find out exactly what happens, all i know about CMs is what i read on the internet!


  6. #6
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    In Detroit, drivers yell even at the lone biker to "get on the sidewalk", so I am not sure if a CM could even be tried here. I don't think it is needed, though.

    I found that by talking to friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors, I have opened up many minds, because I dealt with them on an individual basis, and asked them to spread the word that bikes can and will be part of the congestion solution.

    I also let them know that, as biking becomes more popular, the life they could be saving by sharing the road today could be their own tomorrow.
    Keep your head up, your mind open, your batteries charged, and your car in the garage!
    http://www.electricvehiclesnw.com
    http://www.ebicycles.com

  7. #7
    aka Sir MaddyX MadCat's Avatar
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    Here in Edmonton Alberta, I rode in the critical mass ride last month and I've been gathering cyclists all month for the ride tomorrow. The ride goes over extremely well here, in contrary to what has happened in other cities. The police tend to just casually watch us travel along. As far as motorists go, there are more people honking in support of us than expressing road rage against us. It's really a beautiful thing here.

  8. #8
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    CM

    If you want to see how a critical mass ride can set advocacy back years find information about the Mass ride in the summer of 97 in SF. Total chaos. I have pictures of people going off. It was a mess. Bike riders were all over the news getting slammed. People starting beating on cars and it turned ugly all over the place. About 200 people got arrested and their bikes impounded. Not the right way to do it in my opinion.
    If you can pull this ride off while OBEYING the law, it is much more effective than acting like a bunch of rebel-velo morons. The SF debacle in 97 was ridiculous. Hopefully that won't happen again anywhere.
    bicycle68 "When in doubt, pedal."

  9. #9
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    Sorry to burrrst your bubble, but the way you describe
    Critical Mass in the summer of 1997 is totally wrong.

    It wasn't 200 people that got arresteddd, it was more
    like 110, and allllll of them had the charges dropped,
    because their arrests were bo-o-ogus!

    Beating on cars? There was exactly one documented
    incident, in which a car drove into a bunch of bikers,
    and one guy reacted by rolling his front tire, softly,
    gently, harrrmlessly, against the car's bumper. This
    was on all the television news stations (except for
    the part where the car drove into the middle of a
    bunch of bikers -- none of them aired that part, even
    though they had footage of it).

    So do-o-on't blame CM for things that didn't happen.

    *Abe*

  10. #10
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    Re: Critical Mess

    Hmmm, one documented case?!??!?! Apparently you weren't at the intersections on Market street where things were going berzerk. Maybe I was hallucinating but I saw two cars getting beat up on Market, about 3 blocks from Embarcadero, right after the ride started. Then as the mob circled around the Mission Street area some clowns tried going up the on ramp to the Bay Bridge (east bound). I have pictures of this printed on photo paper that are real in an empirical kind of way. I don't care if the charges were dropped or not, the people that got arrested(detained) were most likely not too impressed with Willie Brown and his about face on the whole subject. One second he was blasting bike riders, then he shows up at a charity ride for kids that I was volunteering at, on a bicycle! He even wore a helmet. The facts are clear, like mud, there were many different things going on in different places. I just happened to see the wrong type of behavior.
    :-)
    bicycle68 "When in doubt, pedal."

  11. #11
    Marcy S
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    Bicycle68, you're not the only one that saw how terrible a Critical Mass could be. I was in S.F. in July of '97 and was trying to get to the airport. Unfortunately, that was the same day as C.M. Not only was our cab surrounded by bikers not letting us drive, but they were knocking, yelling, and spitting on our cab. That day was the first (and last) time I actually felt ashamed to admit that I too am a cyclist.
    I am not completely against Critical Mass if it is well organized and ran smoothly like Kittyfury's C.M. in Edmonton Alberta, where the drivers are honking and the police are waving in support. On the other hand, the '97 San Francisco Critical Mass was more like a riot and NOT a good example of how they were originally intended.

  12. #12
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    OK, I'm open to be corrected on this point, but from what I've heard about the CM in Brisbane, many of the people who go are basically only there to draw attention to themselves in the protest, and very few of them are 365-day/year cyclists.

    Regardless of that, I don't think it helps our cause. I think cyclists concerned about road facilities etc are better off attending public meetings and writing letters to politicians and so on.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

  13. #13
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    It seems to me the whole point of Critical Mass is to raise awareness of people about how cyclists belong in traffic. If people are antagonized on purpose, the whole event is a waste.

    How can you complain about cars when you are even worse? But the majority of riders are probably sincere, so leadership and organization are key to the success of Critical Mass.

    I ride to work and sometimes for other business instead of driving. So many other individuals do also. I think we demonstrate the intended spirit of Critical Mass everyday. But we regular transportational cyclists pay the price for extreme behavior.

    I would hope Critical Mass leaders and organizers would police their own rides. They are responsible for the behavior of the participants. If they cannot control it, what's the use?

    I think the best way to demonstrate cycling to people is to show that:

    a) It can be done.

    b) We are very safe, friendly, competant and easy to deal with.

    c) Prejudice towars cyclists is unwarranted.

    d) You can join us!

    Thank you,

    Pete Clark
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    cyclist
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 03-14-01 at 09:43 PM.

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