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Question about Critical Mass

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Question about Critical Mass

Old 05-19-05, 08:41 AM
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Question about Critical Mass

I have a question about critical mass, I went to the PIttsburgh one once, and wondering what I saw is standard for all CM.

First let me say I love the idea of Critical Mass as stated on the web sites.

Now for what I saw when I went, I saw most of the people 90%+ blowing red lights, I saw one guy on a bike cut off a SUV (stupid in my opion) and they were taking up all four lanes on forbes when only 2 could have been used. My question is this normal at most critical masses? If not is it posable to setup a differiant group of critical mass in an area, one that will stress obeadiance to the law, or is it a problem with mob mantality?

I would love to do another critical mass but not with what I saw that time.
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Old 05-19-05, 09:12 AM
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I went to one CM here in Madison, and it seems true that the mantra "We aren't blocking traffic, we are traffic" doesn't really hold up.

CMs seem to intentionally go slowly and occupy as many lanes as possible. This wouldn't be necessary if the goal was actually just to raise visibility and awareness of cyclists. They intentionally get in the way, when there is really no reason to, other than creating a confrontation. If they were really "just traffic", they would behave like other traffic, for example slow vehicles keep right, and for example not intentionally slowing down all the other vehicles behind them.

If they did ride like traffic, I would go to more CMs, but as it is, I can't support that cause.
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Old 05-19-05, 08:22 PM
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It's not just Critical Mass. I just rode in the Pedal Pittsburgh event last weekend, and the vast majority of riders there also seemed to think traffic laws were something for other people. They were blowing through red lights and stop signs, taking up multiple lanes, not signaling turns, pretty much disregarding all the fundamental rules of the road. The organizers stressed following the law, but that really didn't seem to have much of an impact.
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Old 05-19-05, 09:06 PM
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--- Those irresponsible cyclists reflect poorly on the bicycliing community and I, for one, condemn their behavior. If I lived in one of those cities, I would write letters to the editor of the newspapers stating that as a bicyclist I do not condone any mob mentality displayed at a CM event.
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Old 05-19-05, 10:03 PM
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My only experience with CM here in Sydney was a few years ago as a pedestrian. Trying to walk on the sidewalk and nearly being taken out by 10 cyclists trying to get to the front of the pack.

Turned me off CM forever, even now that I ride I don't think I'd ever get involved with CM.
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Old 05-20-05, 12:32 AM
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Search the forums. There's plenty of information here in the archives, good and bad, for and against. Just remember, (1) have an open mind, and (2) we're all bicyclists, and we're in this together.

Last edited by randya; 05-20-05 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 05-20-05, 12:48 PM
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See this, and read it.


http://www.cars-suck.org/littera-scripta/LAB-talk.html
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Old 05-20-05, 01:12 PM
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Critical Mass, follow the sheep
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Old 05-20-05, 01:32 PM
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scarry, I did read that artical, the my main problem is, if you break the laws just to be a pain in peoples buts, then they are not going to care about your rights when you are within your rights.

What I mean is if a biker makes a drivers life misrable, that driver is not going to give bikers the benifite of the doubt, and might end up being anti-biker. Critical mass as I see it does not help the cause of bikers but hinders it.

Do you just want to be mean to people who drive cars, or do you want to 1) have them give respect to bikers 2) maybe get them to be bikers like us, you catch more flys with honey then with vinager. Critical mass is the vinager, we need to do something that would be the honey, what that is I don't know.
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Old 05-20-05, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mpop
scarry, I did read that artical, the my main problem is, if you break the laws just to be a pain in peoples buts, then they are not going to care about your rights when you are within your rights.

What I mean is if a biker makes a drivers life misrable, that driver is not going to give bikers the benifite of the doubt, and might end up being anti-biker. Critical mass as I see it does not help the cause of bikers but hinders it.

Do you just want to be mean to people who drive cars, or do you want to 1) have them give respect to bikers 2) maybe get them to be bikers like us, you catch more flys with honey then with vinager. Critical mass is the vinager, we need to do something that would be the honey, what that is I don't know.
Well, you are entitled to your opinion. There are those who disagree. Motorists are going to be facing more vinager than rowdy bicyclists can dish out. Like dramatically inflating gas prices. Now maybe you are one of those folks that thinks that oil will last forever, or that some magic new technology will power cars in the future, but events are starting to show otherwise.
http://peakoil.blogspot.com/
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Old 05-20-05, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Miracle Whip
Critical Mass, follow the sheep

No, this is sheep.

http://www.acclaimimages.com/_galler...1815-3321.html
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Old 05-20-05, 02:19 PM
  #12  
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first, I don't even own a car, and I think rising oil prices are a good thing (I will cover this later if I have to) but what I am saying is if we anger car drivers when (if) the time comes for them to help us they will be very unlikly to help us.
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Old 05-20-05, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mpop
first, I don't even own a car, and I think rising oil prices are a good thing (I will cover this later if I have to) but what I am saying is if we anger car drivers when (if) the time comes for them to help us they will be very unlikly to help us.
Once again you are entitled to your opinion. Many of us do not agree. Does this mean that you support repressive police action to put a stop to peoples right to assemble and ride in the street in groups.
Now I'm not supportive of yahoo members of the CM community who behave in extreme maner, but we have to stick together, or we will be divided, and pitted against each other.

I'm not worried about angering car drivers, because soon they will be begging us to buy our old un-used bikes. We will be asked to help them.
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Old 05-20-05, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by scarry
Does this mean that you support repressive police action to put a stop to peoples right to assemble and ride in the street in groups.
How did you pull this out of anything that mpop said?
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Old 05-21-05, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI
How did you pull this out of anything that mpop said?
The same way he connected the rising price of fuel with the right to piss off drivers.
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Old 05-21-05, 05:54 AM
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If a large group of people on bicycles make a driver late because they fail to follow traffic laws and yield the right of way what do you think that driver might do the next time he should yield the right of way to a single cyclist?
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Old 05-21-05, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mpop
I have a question about critical mass, I went to the PIttsburgh one once, and wondering what I saw is standard for all CM.

First let me say I love the idea of Critical Mass as stated on the web sites.

Now for what I saw when I went, I saw most of the people 90%+ blowing red lights, I saw one guy on a bike cut off a SUV (stupid in my opion) and they were taking up all four lanes on forbes when only 2 could have been used. My question is this normal at most critical masses? If not is it posable to setup a differiant group of critical mass in an area, one that will stress obeadiance to the law, or is it a problem with mob mantality?

I would love to do another critical mass but not with what I saw that time.
I'm from Pittsburgh and have been wanting to ride CM for some time now. I'm a highschool student though, and have 2 questions for you:
1) How safe is it?
2) What's the crowd like? Any organization at all? Random riders all converging?

thanks!
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Old 05-21-05, 05:46 PM
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Critical Mass is cute and all, but bike commuting on a daily basis is real. CM, as fun and exiting as it may be, is a temper tantrum that alienates more than anything else. If you actually want to see the number of cars reduced and the number of bikers increased, you want to show the driving public that bike transportation is safe, normal, and practical. A driver has to see themself on the bike, not cower in confused terror while bands of vicious bike rebels ransack the streets.

Or we could just ban or severely restrict personal automobiles from urban centers... (you'd think parking issues and gridlock would be enough, but obviously not)
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Old 05-23-05, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by drumbum
I'm from Pittsburgh and have been wanting to ride CM for some time now. I'm a highschool student though, and have 2 questions for you:
1) How safe is it?
2) What's the crowd like? Any organization at all? Random riders all converging?

thanks!
1) I would say depends how you ride, if you don't follow the crowed you should be safe, but you will get seperated from them
2) They people are generaly nice before the ride, I did go once and I will admit they are ok people, I just think they go about the protest in the wrong way. The are semi-organized

other notes:
I have seen some cut off SUVs (just stupid, for 2 reasons, one you are not going to get any favoriable feelings from some one you cut off, and two if the SUV does not stop in time, the SUV will win and you will lose)
they take up all 3 lanes on forbes, and that is not right, don't get me wrong I am not a cager I don't even have a car, but they do not need to take up all 3 lanes, every one in critical mass could stay on the far right lane.

But IMHO if you want to raise arawnes of bikers on the road, maybe it might be more profatable to do a side walk protest, holding signs (leaveing room for people to walk pass) maybe some images of people that have been hit by cars while on their bikes. Signs talking about how bikes are also ligit road traffic, etc.

I can not say for you if you should go or not, but I would encorage you not to go.
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Old 05-23-05, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by bunnyrabbit
Or we could just ban or severely restrict personal automobiles from urban centers... (you'd think parking issues and gridlock would be enough, but obviously not)
I like that idea, I doubt there is evan a reason to have cars in downtown pittsburgh at all, but the problem is, try to convice the people who belive "that they "need" their car to drive even 2 blocks", that they don't need them, and they would be better off just walking it (I think cars might be part of the problem of the obesity problem the US has.)
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Old 05-23-05, 12:26 PM
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i ride my bike a lot - in a typical spring or summer month, i will generally ride anywhere from 60-80 hours (1000-1600 miles). in the winter it's more like 40-60 hours. in order to be competitive out here in the races, lots of training is required. i do my best to obey traffic laws, excepting the occasional unoccupied backroads stoplight, and i am polite to any driver that is polite to me. spending that much time on a bike, it becomes that much more important to have a collegial relationship with the majority users of the road.

now it seems to me that what cyclists should be shooting for is equal rights. much as i hate gasoline and poor drivers and smog, i cannot condone the idea that bicyclists are somehow morally superior to motorists. just like them, we are people doing what we want to do, and the way in which we use the road often has less to do with some abstract idea of saving the world than it does with our own personal preferences. just like them, cyclists come in both the well- and the poorly-behaved variety. and just like them, we tend to lump all of the people in the other category in together ("drivers suck" rather than "that driver sucks").

the roads themselves were paved so that automobiles could travel more efficiently, and like it or not, cars are what city planners think of when roads are planned. as an avid cyclist, i would like that to change. but i can say with certainty that it will not change so long as city planners think of cyclists as nuisances rather than as legitimate users. so i agree that we should all stick together - and to me that means not doing things that are contrary to our best interests as a group, eg. critical mass. so those of you who are cm adherents, rather than flame me, please think about how it would seem to you if motorists started impeding your riding with car doors, parking cars in bike lanes, or intentionally running red lights to mess with you. perhaps worse, think about how it would seem if the voters in your city started clamoring to make cycling illegal.
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Old 05-23-05, 12:30 PM
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wdbike.com thanks that was what I was tring to say, but you did it very very well and for that I thank you. And that last thing was what I was tring to make my main point as talking against cm.
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Old 05-23-05, 12:52 PM
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I can tell you specifically why they take up the lanes on Forbes, if you are interested in hearing an opinion that doesn't follow your own.

And you're welcome to take this as CM apologist.

On specific sections of roads, especially Forbes through Oakland, the traffic really isn't going to be able to go much faster than we are (~15 mph) because of the way the lights are structure and how much traffic is usually going on. Taking up all the lanes means that we can't be passed by people who are rushing to get places and we won't get right-hooked by people who are turning right onto a side street.

Yes, it sucks, and yes, it probably pisses some drivers off. If you want to talk more about CM, I'd be happy to talk to you about why I do it and why I think it is useful and good, but I don't see any willingness on your part to accept another viewpoint.
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Old 05-23-05, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by emilymildew
Yes, it sucks, and yes, it probably pisses some drivers off. If you want to talk more about CM, I'd be happy to talk to you about why I do it and why I think it is useful and good, but I don't see any willingness on your part to accept another viewpoint.
Personally I have seen zero positive impact on my riding rights here in Seattle from any CM gathering. They just seem to agitate the drivers more than they need to.
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Old 05-23-05, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by emilymildew
On specific sections of roads, especially Forbes through Oakland, the traffic really isn't going to be able to go much faster than we are (~15 mph) because of the way the lights are structure and how much traffic is usually going on. Taking up all the lanes means that we can't be passed by people who are rushing to get places and we won't get right-hooked by people who are turning right onto a side street.
Well I do know that on Forbes that if you can get 25 mph (that is the posted speed limit IIRC) you can hit all green lights, back when I use to drive (I stopped driving in October of last year (and at that point I was driving very little maybe 20 miles a month), and ditch the car in April, was costing to much to keep and I was not even driving it about $100USD a month, it was not worth it) I could get off the highway and blast right down Forbes (at 25mph). And on Forbes it is not hard for a biker to get up to 25mph from McD.s to the cathedral, I do it all the time, and I am by no means a fast biker. To go only 15 mph in all the lanes seam to be just to annoy the drivers.(it is down hill so 25mph is not hard to get)

I am willing to listen to your statements, but I still contend that the law is there not to harm us, but to protect all, sometimes the law seams unfair, and some times the law is unfair, but it is the law and we need to abide by it, and the law does say we must be in the far right lane (except when we are going to make a left hand turn) and no more then 2 bikes abreast (I think this should be set to the whole lane that a group of bikers can take up a whole lane in a multilane road, but till then). I am all for making Oakland a car free zone, but till that day.

Don't get me wrong I don't hate the people that do critical mass, I just think that they might be hurting the cause more then helping.

What I think would be a better use of time would be if every one that does critical mass, still got together and planed straights for lobbing city counsel for better biking infrastructure. We only have 5 (yes 5!) miles of bike lanes, and 27 miles of bike trails, they are promising to go to 100 miles of bike lanes, I think it would be better if we were to lobby for all roads to have bike lanes, hay most of us who bike in the city are city residence and pay taxes unlike the cagers that drive in, and the roads in the city are not paid for by the state but by the city (OUR TAXES). Maybe if we could get a list of city counsel meetings and if we could get a large enough group to go down each one can make a statement (to my understanding statements can be no more then 5 minutes long so if we could get 25 people to go down we could get 125 minutes of bike talk put forth). Letters to the editor of the PG might help also, PSA's on the TV (we all know how much cagers love TV)


Sorry about the long winded responce.
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