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NYC Critical Mass - Fascism is alive and well

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NYC Critical Mass - Fascism is alive and well

Old 10-28-06, 09:34 AM
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NYC Critical Mass - Fascism is alive and well

I was at last night's CM. It is a sad joke what our tax dollars are being used for. Police from all over New York City are brought into Manhattan to harass and intimidate and generally disrupt this ride. At no other time do cyclists need to worry about being ticketed for riding without a light or a helmet or a bell. In fact, while being ticketed last night, restaurant delivery guys were riding by without any of the above and some were riding against traffic.

For those outside NYC, you've probably seen the videos from the more confrontational CM rides, but seeing up close the planning and coordination the NYPD puts into this effort is scary. Even before the ride started, police started writing tickets. And within the ride's first block, cyclists were being pulled over and ticketed. To break up the ride, as part of the pack goes through an intersection, the police (many on scooters and motorcycles and some in patrol cars) will wait until the light turns red, then block off the road and start ticketing the people now at the front of the smaller pack. Everyone behind the first few riders will turn around and go down another street (only to be intercepted by police several blocks away). While being ticketed, I could hear the police radios buzzing with reports of where various packs of cyclists were and at which intersections the police planned on intercepting the cyclists. Many of the police had a piece of paper they consulted while writing tickets - I couldn't get a good look at it, but my guess is this was a list of the various offenses that the cyclists might be ticketed for (clearly, cycling infractions are new to many of the cops who are used to busting drug dealers, thieves, etc.).

NYPD's new parade permit proposal will facilitate their ability to arrest CM riders. This is pretty scary stuff. I can understand parade permits for organized parades that can disrupt traffic, but last time I checked, cyclists are traffic, and we pose no danger to anyone (except perhaps the auto industry, and even that is so minor that I doubt auto execs are worried about CM). If this proposal goes through, NYC CM, as we know it, is dead.

Transportation Alternatives has more info on the proposed parade permit, and an e-postcard you can send to the City Council Speaker (http://www.transalt.org/e-bulletin/2...026.html#nypd).
Also, here's a link you can use to email Mayor Bloomberg (there is an option to send anonymously): http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgo...l%2Fmayor.html

If you received a ticket last night, see http://www.cmtickets.com for info.

Last edited by serpico7; 10-28-06 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 10-28-06, 01:59 PM
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Good luck with this. You ought to scratch up some media coverage after the elections.
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Old 10-28-06, 02:21 PM
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Gee... NONE of this happened before the RNC... in fact, cops on scooters used to block traffic for us and let the riders through red lights.

Don't mess with sasquach if you can't face the consequences.
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Old 10-28-06, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by v1k1ng1001
Good luck with this. You ought to scratch up some media coverage after the elections.
That's a good point. A lot of good work has been done on publicizing the NYPD's actions via videos on the net, but the average New Yorker needs to know that his/her tax dollars are being pissed away every month on unnecessary police planning and focus on CM, not to mention the court system, as many of those ticketed will show up in court to dispute the ticket.

Hopefully the folks who've been fighting the good fight on this can get a reporter from the NY Times to participate in the rides and document the harassment and intimidation that goes on there, in addtion to the tax dollars wasted - hell, they could make it an ongoing column since the ride happens monthly. Even add a running meter, estimating how much in tax dollars is wasted by the city administration in terms of NYPD and the courts, in cracking down on CM.

Check out a video from the May 2006 ride, where some pedestrian starts yelling at the cops for wasting his money: http://www.cmtickets.com/node/10
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Old 10-28-06, 02:29 PM
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but the average New Yorker needs to know that his/her tax dollars are being pissed away
I'm more inclined to believe the average New Yorker thinks that a bunch of cyclists taking over the streets is completely annoying.
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Old 10-28-06, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by operator
I'm more inclined to believe the average New Yorker thinks that a bunch of cyclists taking over the streets is completely annoying.
I'm sure that's right. But I'm guessing they'd rather have some cyclists riding down the streets one night a month than have their tax dollars wasted by the NYPD harassing/intimidating cyclists. In terms of taking over the streets, the cyclists pose much less of an impediment to vehicular traffic flow than the NYPD roadblocks that are used to trap cyclists.
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Old 10-28-06, 03:27 PM
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Old 10-28-06, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by slvoid
Gee... NONE of this happened before the RNC... in fact, cops on scooters used to block traffic for us and let the riders through red lights.

Don't mess with sasquach if you can't face the consequences.
slvoid, have you given up on riding in NYC CM? Wouldn't blame you if you did.

Funny thing is I don't care much for the ride itself - way too slow for me and kills a Friday night of dining/drinking - and if the cops were not out harassing/intimidating the cyclists, I wouldn't bother going. But after seeing the city government and police trampling on the peaceful exercise of civil liberties, I'm incented to go. Of course, if they get the parade permit proposal through, CM will only be attended by people who are willing to get arrested and have their bike confiscated.
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Old 10-28-06, 04:30 PM
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I wonder if the ACLU would be interested in this.
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Old 10-28-06, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by serpico7
I'm sure that's right. But I'm guessing they'd rather have some cyclists riding down the streets one night a month than have their tax dollars wasted by the NYPD harassing/intimidating cyclists. In terms of taking over the streets, the cyclists pose much less of an impediment to vehicular traffic flow than the NYPD roadblocks that are used to trap cyclists.
The problem is that the # of cyclists and people who seem to care are a tiny tiny minority compared to the minority of people in power. There are way more drivers in NYC than cyclists. People would rather them get the cyclists off the streets than worry about cops.
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Old 10-28-06, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by serpico7
slvoid, have you given up on riding in NYC CM? Wouldn't blame you if you did.

Funny thing is I don't care much for the ride itself - way too slow for me and kills a Friday night of dining/drinking - and if the cops were not out harassing/intimidating the cyclists, I wouldn't bother going. But after seeing the city government and police trampling on the peaceful exercise of civil liberties, I'm incented to go. Of course, if they get the parade permit proposal through, CM will only be attended by people who are willing to get arrested and have their bike confiscated.
I've given up on even defending CM. Yes, I do see a lot of people out to have fun. But the ones who get the most attention are the ones (no offense) riding around blowing through lights, pissing off drivers, and causing trouble.

Everyone's blaming the NYPD, yes, the NYPD sucks, yes, no disagreement about that. BUT.. check it out, they used to escort the CM ride, cops used to buzz me through red lights, they didn't care, we pissed off drivers, that's ok, they don't care, they don't care about drivers, they don't care about us. It's a balance. We break laws, they turn the other check, we get to work faster, they stay lazy, no problem.

But piss off the wrong politicians and they are going to get orders. When it comes down to it, the people in power see bikers as navel lint. We are NOTHING to these people. We need to get the public on our side. Taking over the streets, slowing down everyone trying to get home on a friday night, blabbing "we ARE traffic" like we're all so high and mighty is NO way to gain public support. More drivers vote than cyclists. Guess who they'll listen to.

You want power? I was talking to a cop in borough park about the riots they had when they arrested that old jewish guy. The jews were burning dumpsters, breaking car windows, and the cop told me the very same night, before it happened, they got a call from above telling them to touch no one. He said if it were harlem, they'd have the wagons and cuffs out there asap. But for some reason, that night, 1 phone call came in, touch no one. That's power.

CM is not power. To the average driver, politician, pedestrian, we're annoying. I admit, I'm not the best rider in the world, I crash, I cut people off, I piss off drivers. But I do see people on the way every day, people recognize me. They wave, they give me the right of way, and whether they are or not, it feels supportive. Going out once a month to block traffic isn't going to get anyone on our side. The real CM is when you're out there going to work every day, showing people that it works.
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Old 10-28-06, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by slvoid
I've given up on even defending CM. Yes, I do see a lot of people out to have fun. But the ones who get the most attention are the ones (no offense) riding around blowing through lights, pissing off drivers, and causing trouble.
I was not causing trouble or breaking any traffic rules when I got written up. None of the guys busted along with me were breaking traffic rules - in fact, we got busted because when we stopped for the light, we were at the front of that particular pack of riders. The cops pulled out in front of us and stopped there for a few seconds until one of the officers yelled out to the rest to start giving out summonses. I'm sure there are some troublemakers, but the vast majority of people were just out to ride their bikes in the city as part of a group ride.

Originally Posted by slvoid
Everyone's blaming the NYPD, yes, the NYPD sucks, yes, no disagreement about that. BUT.. check it out, they used to escort the CM ride, cops used to buzz me through red lights, they didn't care, we pissed off drivers, that's ok, they don't care, they don't care about drivers, they don't care about us. It's a balance. We break laws, they turn the other check, we get to work faster, they stay lazy, no problem.
Look, I'm not blaming the police. In fact, the guy that wrote me up was a pretty nice guy who admitted that the police crackdown was bull****, but that he had orders to follow. It is clearly the city's administration that is ordering this crackdown.

Originally Posted by slvoid
But piss off the wrong politicians and they are going to get orders. When it comes down to it, the people in power see bikers as navel lint. We are NOTHING to these people. We need to get the public on our side. Taking over the streets, slowing down everyone trying to get home on a friday night, blabbing "we ARE traffic" like we're all so high and mighty is NO way to gain public support. More drivers vote than cyclists. Guess who they'll listen to.

You want power? I was talking to a cop in borough park about the riots they had when they arrested that old jewish guy. The jews were burning dumpsters, breaking car windows, and the cop told me the very same night, before it happened, they got a call from above telling them to touch no one. He said if it were harlem, they'd have the wagons and cuffs out there asap. But for some reason, that night, 1 phone call came in, touch no one. That's power.

CM is not power. To the average driver, politician, pedestrian, we're annoying. I admit, I'm not the best rider in the world, I crash, I cut people off, I piss off drivers. But I do see people on the way every day, people recognize me. They wave, they give me the right of way, and whether they are or not, it feels supportive. Going out once a month to block traffic isn't going to get anyone on our side. The real CM is when you're out there going to work every day, showing people that it works.
Totally agree with most of what you're saying here. This is why I posted the links to contact your councilman and the mayor.

I agree that from a practical perspective, guys like you and I are better off forgetting about CM, because when we're not riding CM, we can break traffic laws at will and not get ticketed by the police. But seeing the overly aggressive (and expensive to taxpayers) tactics used to disrupt a legal and peaceful ride makes me sick.

In terms of how CM is viewed by the public, if I had my way, everyone at CM would be in full compliance with the law (helmet, lights, bell), and would ride without breaking any traffic rules, and without any of the loud yelling and hollering (hell, even when they're yelling, they're not nearly as loud as a streetful of honking motorists). To have quiet, peaceful, law-abiding cyclists getting roadblocked and written up for imaginary laws should hopefully anger more NYC residents like it did the pedestrian in the video I linked to above.
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Old 10-28-06, 05:47 PM
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Unfortunately, I think that the very small minority of individuals who piss off the public will overshadow any type of reactionary anger you hope to get from NYC residents...
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Old 10-28-06, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by serpico7
I was not causing trouble or breaking any traffic rules when I got written up. None of the guys busted along with me were breaking traffic rules - in fact, we got busted because when we stopped for the light, we were at the front of that particular pack of riders.
Wah, wah! Unfortunately, that's the same story everyone always gives. Everyone that ever got busted at a CM riot was totally innocent. It's all great fun until somebody gets busted, huh? Take part in a riot because you think there's safety in numbers, then whine when you're in the minority that gets tagged.
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Old 10-28-06, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by serpico7
a legal and peaceful ride
Huh?
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Old 10-28-06, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
Wah, wah! Unfortunately, that's the same story everyone always gives. Everyone that ever got busted at a CM riot was totally innocent. It's all great fun until somebody gets busted, huh? Take part in a riot because you think there's safety in numbers, then whine when you're in the minority that gets tagged.
BlazingPedals, you might want to keep your mouth shut until you know the facts. I was written up for not using the bike lane - on an avenue in which there is no bike lane! Bogus tickets like this are quite common at NYC CM. And no, the ticket does not particularly upset me as I know it will be dismissed.

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Old 10-28-06, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
Huh?
What part of that didn't you understand?
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Old 10-28-06, 10:42 PM
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Oh. Okay, I was going to say something, but now understand "discussion" means "agree with serpico."
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Old 10-29-06, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by serpico7
What part of that didn't you understand?
Well, you yourself made a big deal in your original post about police ticketing bike riders who ran a red light. Can you explain for me how that's legal in New York? That's the part that I don't understand.
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Old 10-29-06, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
Well, you yourself made a big deal in your original post about police ticketing bike riders who ran a red light. Can you explain for me how that's legal in New York? That's the part that I don't understand.
My point was that the police very rarely issue tickets to cyclists in NYC for any traffic infraction (running reds, riding wrong direction on street, etc.) and almost never issue tickets for not having a helmet or a bell. UNLESS you are a cyclist that is riding in CM - in which case, they will ticket you for trivial infractions like riding without a bell, or as in my case, ticket you for something that was an impossibility, or otherwise not a traffic infraction.

Whether they should/should not ticket cyclists on a regular basis is a separate issue, but the fact that enforcement of the law happens on a very selective basis - i.e., no enforcement unless you are riding in CM (and then there is even enforcement of imaginary laws) - makes it very clear that this is a crackdown not on cyclists, but on a political protest.

Looking back at my first post, I see that I could have been more clear. Hopefully this paints a clearer picture?

I know that in most of the country, the police either ignore CM, or sometimes even help by blocking off streets to vehicular traffic while the cyclists are passing through. As slvoid pointed out, this was the case for NYC CM up until the RNC in 2004. Since then, it seems the mayor's office has declared war on CM.
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Old 10-29-06, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by slvoid
CM is not power. To the average driver, politician, pedestrian, we're annoying. I admit, I'm not the best rider in the world, I crash, I cut people off, I piss off drivers. But I do see people on the way every day, people recognize me. They wave, they give me the right of way, and whether they are or not, it feels supportive. Going out once a month to block traffic isn't going to get anyone on our side. The real CM is when you're out there going to work every day, showing people that it works.
There it is. That is what I believe effective advocacy is about.

The biggest city I have ridden in is Houston, which does not have some of the traffic issues of New York, so I may not truly understand the problem. However, I am deeply involved in cycling advocacy in my own town of 1/4 million or so. How? I ride regularly, I'm a LCI with the Lab and give classes and youth clinics. I have infiltrated the system to the point I am current chair of the bike technical subcomittee of the Metro Planning Organization. I go to city meetings and hold them to the promises made long ago.

And I have actively discouraged the few attempts to get CM going here. As an attention getter, CM has it's good points. But I believe a regular CM only fosters hostility, animosity from city rulers and hatred from many drivers.

Try it my way: work inside the system. It's a longer path, takes more effort & dedication and if not as much fun as a CM, but it has gotten me results.

I've got my Nomex coveralls near to hand, so let fly, my brothers.
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Old 10-29-06, 08:55 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by operator
I'm more inclined to believe the average New Yorker thinks that a bunch of cyclists taking over the streets is completely annoying.
But then a bunch of cars taking over the street is OK. I'd rather have bikes than cars emitting their noxious fumes, haoking horns, squeeling tires, bad mufflers, and running down pedestrians.
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Old 10-29-06, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
Wah, wah! Unfortunately, that's the same story everyone always gives. Everyone that ever got busted at a CM riot was totally innocent. It's all great fun until somebody gets busted, huh? Take part in a riot because you think there's safety in numbers, then whine when you're in the minority that gets tagged.
A riot? It was just people riding their bikes! Get out of your car for once.
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Old 10-29-06, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by ctyler
But then a bunch of cars taking over the street is OK. I'd rather have bikes than cars emitting their noxious fumes, haoking horns, squeeling tires, bad mufflers, and running down pedestrians.
Yes, that's right. It is ok.
Why? Because your opinion doesn't count. If you ride a bicycle, your opinion doesn't count.
Welcome to politics. Money talks, bicyclists... uh.. walks? Rides..

10,000 cyclists at CM? No problem, piss off the right politician and one, just one phone call and they'll have all your asses arrested, which is exactly what happened. Got it? Don't try to deny it, you weren't there, he was, he saw what happened, is it fair? maybe not, but it did happen.
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Old 10-29-06, 09:44 AM
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You know, it's not just pissing off One politco that gets action from the NYPD.

They get directives to enforce all sorts of infractions all the time.

Jaywalking? They get directives to enforce the ped laws all the time. Food on the subway? Same thing. Remember the whole No Coffee On The Subway thing a while back? Anybody getting busted for that lately? The police have Zero interest in enforcing BS regs.

New Yorkers, and the police count, have a pretty laisser-faire attitude towards life in general. It's a cultural thing.

One sure way to get the NYPD to take an interest in enforcing certain laws to the letter is to piss off the police themselves. That's what's happened here.

Since the RNC the NYPD has a serious hard on for a particular segment of the Bicycle community.

If you are just out there riding. No problem. They may not like you much, case by case, they may wish you weren't there, but; they are pretty much busy with other stuff.

Why don't they have these massive police actions at Brooklyn CM?

Because no one has stirred up that particular hornets nest, is why.

They are busting Manhattan CM, are totally on board with it in fact, because they are pissed off with Manhattan CM.

The only way it stops is when some outreach takes place between the Two parties involved, namely The NYPD and Manhattan CM.

Either you kiss and make up somehow or it just keeps going the way it's going.

Pissing off the NYPD is not a smart thing to do if you want to change conditions on the street.

Last edited by jwbnyc; 10-29-06 at 09:51 AM.
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