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  1. #1
    It's so cold out there... scroz's Avatar
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    Critical Mass Arrests in London

    Reading the Metro last week I noticed that 12 riders taking part in a critical mass were arrested. Is it illegal in all countries, is it illegal in the UK or would they have been arrested for something other than participating in a critical mass (i.e. for road violations or something like that). Given the fact that I don't really understand what a critical mass is, there is probably and explanation for why i don't know why they were arrested

    Any pointers, clarification or comments much appreciated. Cheers

  2. #2
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    I used to do the critical mass rides in San Francisco, back in the 90's. They were group rides to promote bicycling and bicycle commuting in the city. On the last Friday of each month all the riders would get together at Justin Herman Plaza (financial district SF) and at whatever time it was, they would all take off. The last one I took part in had at least 5000 riders. It was great (unless you were in your car) to ride in them as it was 10-15 blocks of solid bicycles, no stip signs or lights we just kind of took over whatever part of the city we happened to be riding through. Alas, the car drivers got upset at the traffic mess the ride caused. The police decided to overreact and there was a small riot after one of the rides. Then Willie Brown, decided to screw up the ride and decided that the police should make sure the bicyclist didn't run red lights, that was the end of the rides for me. On my last ride it was more walking the bike rather than riding, it took 10-15 minutes to do one block. After that it just wasn't fun anymore.

  3. #3
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    The ride itself isn't against the law, it's the lawlessness that is associated with the ride that's the problem. They run lights, take up the whole road, and generally do whatever they can to be as obnoxious as possible to the largest number of motorists. It's kind of a rolling riot; the participants do things they would never think of doing without the anonymity and protection of the crowd. Then when somebody nabs them for their scofflaw activities, they whine and cry about being persecuted.

  4. #4
    Retired Member ultra-g's Avatar
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    The were a "PUBLIC NUISANCE".

    Every city has quality of life laws that are stupid, but they simply make life more enjoyable for everyone else.

    Rudy Giuliani made NYC a livable town again (after years of liberal democrats turning the place into a sh*thole), but lotsandlotsandlots of New Yorkers hated his guts because he sent the cops out arresting/ticketing people for quality of life violations.

    ***Start the flame war!!***
    I Changed My User Name!

  5. #5
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by eastbaybob
    I used to do the critical mass rides in San Francisco, back in the 90's. They were group rides to promote bicycling and bicycle commuting in the city. On the last Friday of each month all the riders would get together at Justin Herman Plaza (financial district SF) and at whatever time it was, they would all take off. The last one I took part in had at least 5000 riders. It was great (unless you were in your car) to ride in them as it was 10-15 blocks of solid bicycles, no stip signs or lights we just kind of took over whatever part of the city we happened to be riding through. Alas, the car drivers got upset at the traffic mess the ride caused. The police decided to overreact and there was a small riot after one of the rides. Then Willie Brown, decided to screw up the ride and decided that the police should make sure the bicyclist didn't run red lights, that was the end of the rides for me. On my last ride it was more walking the bike rather than riding, it took 10-15 minutes to do one block. After that it just wasn't fun anymore.
    An excellent example of why critical mass doesn't do good in promoting cycling. It is illegal to blow stop signs and lights. It's also ironic that you stopped participating once they were forced to become "lawful". Implying that the whole point of you going on a CM ride is to break the law with a bunch of other people.

  6. #6
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    I have been on officially sanctioned CM rides in the UK. We even had a police escort.
    Riding along in a legal manner when there happen to be lots of other individuals riding along the same road is NOT a criminal offense.

  7. #7
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    I have no love of CM, but no hatred of it either. I've noticed it is a lightning rod for cager complaints, and that only 1 in 100 of the complainers has actually encountered a CM ride.

    Thing is, a lot of CM rides take place without incident. They're just rides. They have less intrusion and footprint than a Funeral procession (who also run red lights), and far less then the innumerable parades cities sometimes seem to have. The selfish box-blocking drivers during rush hour cause more backups than a dozen CMs

    The trouble comes when the police or they mayor says "Something must be done!" and starts cracking down for no reason. Willie Brown made a mess of things, and now NYC seems to do the same thing. Someone mentioned it being a Guiliani thing, but that's just not true, as the crackdowns are recent and Guiliani is no longer mayor.

    Not everything G. did was gold, either. His pedestrian controls by blocking off sidewalks from the streets did nothing but uglify city streets for the benefit of motorists (who gained nothing).
    Remember: 98% of Drivers rate themselves as at least "Above Average".

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