SF Cyclotouring

Ride reports and other ramblings from a San Francisco cyclist.

7/31/2008

STOP CRITICAL MASS NOW!

Dave Moulton (of course) gets it:

Critical Mass in the US needs to cease, it no longer serves any useful purpose.


and

If no one is responsible, then everyone is responsible. It is time to protest against Critical Mass, to urge people not to participate. The idea has run its course and is no longer valid. It is no longer cool to be a part of a lawless mob that disrupts the normal way of life, pisses people off, and worst of all perpetrates violence.

6 Comments:

Blogger SprocketScientist said...

Seems sad to me that the voices of reason out there, those with encyclopedic knowledge of cycling and wisdom, like Moulton and Brandt, will before long leave us the same way Sheldon Brown has.

On the flip side, I must say we're fortunate that gentlemen like them, legends really, who began riding/building/wrenching for over half the years that bicycles have existed, have embraced the open communication and technology of the internet. At least we will always have their guidance in the words they leave behind.

4:27 PM  
Blogger amabele said...

like all realms of life there will be radical elements and conservative elements. a good friend of mine just returned from toronto. during her stay there she often visited public parks and found to her delight that there were free supervised water parks attached to many parks. by supervised i mean staff who checked the chemical balance of the water periodically and other staff that served as lifeguards. free. open to all public. recently in san jose, ca a couple of kids suffered from a bacterial infection from a fountain/sprinkler park that is a popular hangout for young kids in the summer. the city decided to shut it down.

critical mass happens for a reason. if the our urban infrastructure supported and respected cyclists, there would be no impetus for it. we need to think beyond the fear-based shut everything down mentality and acknowledge that wish as we might the root cause has not been addressed. last time i attended a critical mass (halloween in frisco couple of years ago) the harshest exchanges i saw were between experienced cm'ers and those that were being assholes to motorists. it was self-regulating.

let's not be san jose. let's be toronto. or at least let's work towards being toronto and away from san jose. critical mass will be outdated when san francisco streets look like copenhagen streets. point blank. shutting it down will cap an important social vent, if you will, and may lead to edgier, riskier forms of protests. bike hugger is proposing organized "ride civil" events...these may be more attractive to some people. but even bike hugger is not calling for the abolition of critical mass, only the addition of an event with a different focus. the logo he designed has a driver in a humvee holding hands with a biker. YMMV

6:06 PM  
Blogger Dave Moulton said...

I'm sorry but Sheldon will have to wait, I,m not planning on joining him anytime soon, I am way too busy.

But, I really apreciate the support, especially as my CM post ruffled a few feathers in certain quarters.

Dave

3:40 AM  
Blogger Jim G said...

amabele wrote:

"critical mass happens for a reason. if the our urban infrastructure supported and respected cyclists, there would be no impetus for it."

It's a two-way street. If CM'ers GAVE half as much respect as they expect to get, the "reason" for Critical Mass as a whole would be reduced. You can't yell at a car for breaking the law while you yourself are doing so...that's just self-defeating.

"last time i attended a critical mass (halloween in frisco couple of years ago) the harshest exchanges i saw were between experienced cm'ers and those that were being assholes to motorists. it was self-regulating."

Perhaps, I'm sure even the experienced CM'ers were corking, running red lights, and generally not respecting traffic laws.

Furthermore, it's "SF", never "Frisco". ;)

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Goon said...

Agreed that CM is doing more harm than good.

CM may have started as a radical move toward better, safer traffic, but its ideals have become co-opted by those who conflate them with things that are fashionable right now.

If CM were composed primarily by everyday commuters instead of costumed hipsters on fixies who use it as a "social vent", things would be different.

Newsflash: Things have changed since Halloween a couple of years ago . . .

Want to hear a really radical idea on how to achieve CM's goals? Ride those streets every day, not just one Friday per month.

7:34 AM  
Blogger amabele said...

good points

perhaps i need to go on a cm just to feel out those changes.

i've been biking since before it was cool (actually it was cool back then too but you know what i mean) and learned a very defensive form of biking. i always assume i am not seen. i make direct eye contact with drivers. i take alternate routes. i let cars pass even if i have right of way if i feel any inkling of fishiness. of course we deserve to be in the streets as cars but that won't mean a thing if i'm flattened by a car.

critical mass flips the dynamic once a month for a couple of hours. big deal.

WITH THAT IN MIND

we need to hold the provocateurs accountable. the crowd at the seattle incident should have held the road-raging bikers just like they held the subaru driver. we need to hold those responsible accountable. it needs to be understood that things like that are not acceptable and not welcome. the goal and the service cm provides is bigger that their adolescent tantrums and inability to control their emotions.

advocating for shutting cm down does not hold them accountable.

"Want to hear a really radical idea on how to achieve CM's goals? Ride those streets every day, not just one Friday per month."

excellent point and something i do.

i still don't think that negates that cm accomplishes, and the need and importance of cm.

"ride civil" seems to be gaining traction in seattle partially in response to this.

interesting times we live in

ps
the hipsters are an interesting development...they annoy the fuck out of me here in oakland. i just see them as newbies...newbies make dumb decisions, but they will wise up (i hope) put away their ipods as they ride, raise their bars a little bit, realize that car>bike in a collision and PAY ATTENTION to the cars around them.

jorge

5:12 PM  

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