Sticker #001: Critical Mass

Sticker #001Critical Mass

by Joe Biel

Critical Mass is an event typically held on the last Friday of every month in cities around the world where bicyclists take to the streets en masse. Critical Mass events have no official leader. Participants meet at a set location and time and travel as a group through city streets. Critical Mass rides are self-organized, non-commercial and non-competitive, and they operate with diffused and informal decision-making. Participants have differing purposes for the event, such as demonstrating the advantages of cycling in a city, bringing attention to issues of facilities and safety, enjoying car-free social time on city streets, confronting police, motorists and other symbols of the status quo, and a variety of other purposes, many unstated.

 
 

Comments

Aaron 2/10/2009

I understand both sides of the Critical Mass dilemma; bicyclists are easily killed and are slow, cars are too hard to kill and move fast. The problem isn't either the cars or the bikes, despite any political or green thinking, the problem is that we can't co-exist in a beneficial way for both groups. My suggestion is that we continue critical mass, but also represent ourselves in state and local legislation to better communicate the need for better roadways. We need a safe alternate route for bicyclists, our own roadway that reaches the same destination in a much safer way.

ted 9/28/2007

You as a cyclist wouldn't be cool with someone in a car trying to side swipe your bike or cut you off because they might feel threatened. It seems like you defend them just because you use the same type of vehicle. If cyclists want to be treated like drivers they need to follow the rules which means the speed minimum. Every critical mass situation i've witnessed or heard about sounds nothing like a "celebration" but rather a stand against people who don't have the same lifestyle as you and your slow ass bike. Acting like a crazy gang isn't going to help anyone it's just going to cause more chaos.

Liz W 2/16/2007

Yeah, I am afraid I have to agree. Slowing traffic down like that doesn't open minds and foster discussion- it just ticks people off.

pdxWoman 1/26/2007

I live in the city of Critical Mass (Portland OR) -- tonight a group of critical mass riders blocked traffic, riding at well below the speed limit -- when I changed lanes into a lane they were not in, one of them attempted to side swipe my vehicle and then started yelling that I was trying to kill him. Another critical mass cyclist pulled in front of my vehicle, which carries the ORS "Cyclists Allowed Full Lane" sticker, and blocked us from proceeding while screaming at us for trying to kill them. DON'T SUPPORT THESE PEOPLE -- they give cyclists a bad name!!

Joe Biel

But whoever indicated that the point is to open minds? Critical Mass is a celebration and a chance for cyclists to feel safe - not a protest. If every day commuting on your bicycle feels like it could be the death of you, is there a danger to riding in numbers? Does a parade open minds or share ideology? PDX Woman - Critical Mass occurs in hundreds of cities. You just happen to have a bad relationship with yours. I don't want auto traffic interspersed where I ride my bike either. Tactics of blocking cars are done so cyclists are safer. If two people indicated that they felt threatened maybe they did!