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Old 03-26-05, 02:12 PM   #1
gqsmoothie
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Raleigh NC's Critical Mass ride

Yesterday, Friday, we had about 8 riders show up @ the NCSU Bell Tower for a pleasant ride down Hillsborough St. to downtown and then back to the Rose Garden(near campus).
We were surrounded by 8 cops on motorcycles and two unmarked cars in the rear the entire ride. The cyclists stayed in the right lane(except when turning left) and obeyed traffic laws.
It was a beautiful day for a ride and hopefully next month we can have more cyclists riding than the RPD has officers "escorting" us.
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Old 03-27-05, 05:46 PM   #2
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Explain further why this is going on please.
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Old 03-27-05, 09:29 PM   #3
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Yep - more info would help. As a Raleigh/Cary road cyclist - I'm unaware of the existence and purpose of the event.

Instead - I rode 50+ on Saturday - and worked myself hard. I know what that's about. Not sure about your ride......
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Old 03-28-05, 09:18 AM   #4
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I'm a Raleigh/Cary road cyclist as well. Why use a police escort, if you were going to obey the traffic lights, unlike a parade?

On Saturday my two-year old son (in his Burley trailer) and I rode from the North Cary area (Near North Cary Park) to downtown Cary, then down to Dairy Queen at the intersection of Walnut Street and Cary Towne Boulevard. We had an ice cream, then rode back. Sunday we rode up to the intersection of Harrison Ave and Weston Parkway to have ice cream at Maggie Moo's.

The police were not notified.
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Old 03-28-05, 10:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gqsmoothie
Yesterday, Friday, we had about 8 riders show up @ the NCSU Bell Tower for a pleasant ride down Hillsborough St. to downtown and then back to the Rose Garden(near campus).
We were surrounded by 8 cops on motorcycles and two unmarked cars in the rear the entire ride. The cyclists stayed in the right lane(except when turning left) and obeyed traffic laws.
It was a beautiful day for a ride and hopefully next month we can have more cyclists riding than the RPD has officers "escorting" us.
I would offer that you failed to achieve.... critical mass
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Old 03-28-05, 10:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sggoodri
I'm a Raleigh/Cary road cyclist as well. Why use a police escort, if you were going to obey the traffic lights, unlike a parade?

On Saturday my two-year old son (in his Burley trailer) and I rode from the North Cary area (Near North Cary Park) to downtown Cary, then down to Dairy Queen at the intersection of Walnut Street and Cary Towne Boulevard. We had an ice cream, then rode back. Sunday we rode up to the intersection of Harrison Ave and Weston Parkway to have ice cream at Maggie Moo's.

The police were not notified.
I don't think the police escort was at the riders' request.
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Old 03-28-05, 12:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by peterm5365
I don't think the police escort was at the riders' request.
I've participated in lots of group rides in the Raleigh/Cary area. We've never had the police involved without asking them to be.

For a group start involving over 50 cyclists in an urban area, it can be helpful for the cyclists to have police plug the intersections until we get spread out or into a lower-traffic area. Otherwise, some of the cyclists will stop for the signals while others try to run them, particularly when they are at the back of the pack, and we can have bike-bike collisions. But for a small group of law-abiding cyclists, this is not a problem.

I personally prefer small groups. We can easily obey all the traffic laws to get through the signals and other traffic situations without getting separated. We're more visible than a single cyclist, we can draft off one another, and there's plenty of conversation.

-Steve Goodridge
Member, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Bicycle/Pedestrian Stakeholders Group
Member, Cary Planning and Zoning Board
Advocacy Officer, North Carolina Bicycle Club
Webmaster, http://humantransport.org/bicycledriving/
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Old 03-28-05, 12:36 PM   #8
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From chatting with a few of the other CR riders the reason the cops were escorting us was because supposably some of the CM riders were involved with the vandalism that was done to the Republican headquarters back in October.
If the police actually had evidence that CM riders were involved in this I would think that they would arrest and/or question those people. I personally feel that the reason the police escorted us is because they realize that CM is generally an anti-authoritarian, leftist group that is labeled along the lines of the ELF and ALF(both terrorist organizations according to the FBI). Maybe they are afraid that we are going to do some vandalism or something, I really don't know for certain.
And BTW, "we" did not ask the 5.0 to follow us around town.

peace,

GQ
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Old 03-28-05, 12:39 PM   #9
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I detect a hint of sarcasm from some of the posts on here...where's the love and solidarity among cyclists??!!

OK--the purpose of Critical Mass is to promote cycling right's, "safe" and healthy transportation and it is a protest against the car culture of western society....these are what I understand CM to be from reading some about it and talking to others...but I think what I said just about sums it up.
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Old 03-28-05, 12:42 PM   #10
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Dang - I didn't hear about this and I live right down the street. When's the next one?
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Old 03-28-05, 12:46 PM   #11
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Most of the love and solidarity is among those that feel that CM brings negative attention to cyclists. Of course, back in kindergarten, bad behavior was explained away with "negative attention is better than no attention" so I guess maybe that explains a lot.

Congrats on obeying traffic laws though, that seems to be unique among critical mass rides.
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Old 03-28-05, 01:21 PM   #12
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I think that a lot of the negative feelings about CM are due to the fact that most CM rides don't obey the traffic laws, I am really glad that we did obey them on the last ride. Back in the fall of 2003 there were a couple of CM rides in Raleigh. Nobody was stopping at lights or signaling...it was mayhem and counter-productive. I quit participating in these rides only because of this reason....hopefully next month we can all obey the laws...but I got a feeling that we are going to have a lot more riders and they are gonna run lights and piss off the cops and motorists.



Kestrelman-There will be rides on the last Friday of each month. We'll be meeting at the NCSU Bell Tower around 4:30 and leaving at 5ish. Come along! Spread the word.
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Old 03-28-05, 02:02 PM   #13
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If you are encouraging people to follow the rules of the road, and not letting it turn into a forum for politics that have nothing to do with cycling, I applaud your efforts and sincerely wish you the best of luck. A briefing on at least the traffic laws might help in this case, but I'd offer the thought that what you are really doing is starting an informal cycling club with goals different from what CM has become.
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Old 03-28-05, 02:14 PM   #14
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I think the main difference between Critical Mass and an ordinary group bike ride - and the reason why the police scrutinize a Critical Mass ride like no other - is the CM focus on making a statement against automobile use. In most cases, CM participants reach the conclusion that the only way to be conspicuously anti-car (as opposed to pro-cycling like the other group rides) is to deliberately cause problems for motorists. The deliberately disruptive nature (usually through lawlessness) of many CM rides is what draws the ire of police and many lawful, cooperative roadway cyclists.

I like leading bike rides through downtown Cary. On these rides, We Are Traffic. But we sure don't want to be confused with Critical Mass.
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