too many people out for a leisure ride. definitely a cluster****.
too many people out for a leisure ride. definitely a cluster****.
I've done the Dallas CM ride a couple times. It's not as big as HOU by any means and the vibe is very chill / low key. Yes they stop traffic, but OTOH every weekend shopride / hammerfest around here also blows through stop signs and red lights so I don't see a whole lot of moral high ground for the roadie crowd there.
In general my view is that most of us are habitually in a hurry for no good reason and it doesn't hurt you much to take a breather once in a while. It's no different than if you get caught waiting for a train at a crossing that's usually empty. Just chill.
My problem with any ride like that is that drivers already have enough animosity towards cyclists. We don't need to go out and deliberately cause more on a regular basis. I understand people that like to promote the us against them mentality, but guess what...when push comes to shove, the car wins over the bike every time. So next time you consider taking joy in making the hothead in the pickup truck wait 20 minutes at a intersection, understand that the hothead in the pickup truck will likely take it out on the next few cyclists he sees riding by themselves by running them off the road or worse. It simply gives cyclists a bad image and it isn't helpful in advancing the "share the road" message when we don't share it back.
And they are absolutely organized. They all gather at the same place at the same time and ride the same route. That's organization.
Another group started a ride called Critical Manners, which follows all traffic laws, but I never rode in it. I prefer small groups, but that's me.
People ride in Critical Mass for many different reasons, but there's usually one underlying reason -- it's fun. Even if you're one of the majority of riders that's generally nice to drivers, isn't looking to cause trouble, etc. -- it's still fun.
Critical Manners's usual mandate to follow the rules of the road to the letter tends to makes it not fun -- done properly, it follows the laws even more closely than most shop rides, for example. Some people may think it's fun, but I've seen a few Critical Manners rides started up here in Austin and they tend to get a good turnout the first month, a mediocre turnout the next month and nobody shows up the third.
Maybe if the right people got the ride going and kept it going it could work, but I've yet to see it last more than a few months. Which is a pity -- it's a nice idea.
Fort Worth's Critical Mass ride would appear to be more of a Critical Manners ride to people from other cities. Usually chill, laid back, no more than a hundred riders. Last ride, we pretty much got through all the lights without need of corkers. We try to be friendly and wave at the cars, they usually wave back and honk (friendly honks for the most part).
might join the ride this month but probably bring my least favorite bike.
make sure you dress up in a costume. this week it's Critical Massacre! (for halloween).
i also suggest joining the critical mass facebook group/page for info on the rides and to chat with people.
A rider had a cardiac incident during last night's Mass. Many riders stopped and performed CPR (qualified to do so) and tried to keep him conscious and breathing while EMTs were on the way. But sadly he didn't make it. :(
I read information elsewhere secondhand from HPD personnel that riders elsewhere in the CM group impeded the ambulance trying to reach the fallen rider. I don't care what the CM message is or what they are trying to accomplish with their ride, but there is never an excuse to impede emergency personnel. I have a generally very negative opinion of CM anyways, but I would have the same opinion of any group ride if I heard they were impeding emergency vehicles.
I seriously doubt the riders were impeding emergency vehicles -- every big group ride I've been on has parted like the Red sea for ambulances and fire trucks with their lights on. That said, with 2000+ people milling about, I imagine that there's certainly room for somebody to get in the way of somebody in the confusion.
Looking things up ... it looks like this is the secondhand from HPD personnel information referred to and the riders deny it and they do so quite emphatically. (And they even explain the bubbles ... there was a bubble machine on a parked pedicab that was off the street that never got turned off.)
Either way, sad situation.
Actually that was not my source. My source was an HFD paramedic who was told by multiple members of HFD who were at the scene as well as the EMS supervisor at the scene that they were impeded getting to the scene by riders who would not get out of the way. Once they were on scene, I am sure most folks recognized the gravity and were extremely cooperative. But there is a portion of the ridership in CM that seems to live for the chance to give a big middle finger to "the man". So hearing what was passed along to me is not surprising at all. Even if 99 out of 100 riders pull over for the big ambulance with the lights flashing, it just takes one rider wanting to give a finger to the government to force the ambulance to slow down or stop to get around him.
You might be interested to note that in the same thread in which this was being discussed, there were at least 4 instances that I read of people who are not cyclists and who were previously ambivalent about CM and cyclists in general. After sitting in their cars and watching the CM spectacle of disrespect, they are now hardcore anti-CM and generally more negative towards cyclists in general. So as a cyclist in Houston who has to ride around all the motorists who are antagonized by CM, thanks guys! I really appreciate being hated because of what you guys are doing every ride. If "the cause" is to make motorists really hate cyclists, y'all are doing a stellar job!
I have never heard of even the most militant anti-car cyclist parking himself in front of an ambulance or fire truck to stop them and give them the finger. (A cop car, perhaps, but not an ambulance or fire truck.) Yeah, it would only take one, but I doubt there's even one, and if there was one ... the others would stop them.
That said, again, with 2000+ people milling around, I can see where EMS might have had a hard time finding exactly where they needed to be -- most of the people around probably wouldn't know where EMS needed to go or even why the ride stopped. I imagine EMS has similar problems with any big gathering ... they show up, they don't know where in the crowd they need to be and the crowd doesn't either, and probably doesn't even realize that EMS is there until they're right next to them. Nobody wants to impede EMS, but just being there slows them down, no matter how willing you are to get out of the way or help out if you can.
(I guess having a heart attack in the middle of Mardi Gras is a really bad idea.)
But I wasn't there, so I don't know what happened beyond what I've read. But I can tell what makes sense and what doesn't ...
Yeah, I should have been more clear...I didn't mean literally throwing up a one finger flying eagle salute and standing in front of the ambulance. I was using the "giving the finger" term loosely as in the guy riding down the street saying to himself "I don't care who is coming through, I am on a ride to take over the street for bikes and I don't have to move". Yeah, I am sure if anybody did it, other probably yelled at them to get out of the way as they would on any ride. But in the meantime, the ambulance has slowed down or stopped, and isn't getting where they need to be. I am also sure that in the retelling of the story, there might have been some exxageration as well. It is a shame somebody died, no matter what the circumstances. I just would hope that the criticisms might lead the CM folks to rethink how they act towards the folks around them, because I am tired of getting blamed for their crappy behavior simply because I also ride a bike in the same city.
I wasn't there either. But from what I heard on the CM facebook group they didn't impede - but with a giant mile+ long trail of bikers, who knows for real.