Friday, August 01, 2008

Critical Mass

I haven't commented on the Critical Mass incident because I don't have any way of knowing who's version of the story is true. In fact, I find it believable that both groups actually perceived things the way they described. For example, it does seem that both versions seem to include the critical mass riders basically sitting on the drivers car and surrounding the drivers car. The key difference is the Critical Mass riders seem to see that as some non-threatening act of defense to prevent cars from running over other riders. I would argue that is a pretty jacked up view and that it is reasonable for the driver to have felt threatened. If this does in fact happen regularly I am surprised that there haven't been more incidents like this and a CM rider hasn't been killed.

Here's a mental exercise. How would you react if you were riding on the Burke and all of a sudden a big group of walkers surrounded you, grabbed your bike and prevented you from leaving while a massive anti-cycling protest rolled through screaming at you. My guess is most of us would react rather poorly to this.

In general, I am very skeptical of the value of these type of protest groups. I understand that the stated goal is to raise visibility of cyclists rights but I don't really see how creating a hostile environment for people who are no anti-cyclist but drive cars is going to do that. Just because someone drives a car doesn't mean they are the enemy. In fact, we need those people in the cars to support our rights as cyclists. Alienating them seems counter productive to me.

I also question whether the real intent is to promote change or whether Critical Mass isn't just a social group for young people want to belong to the messenger sub-culture.


At Friday, August 01, 2008 10:28:00 AM, Blogger justfivegrins said...

I surmise that the CM folks intent is along the lines of a non-violent takeover of the streets to protest the very thing that their rides have turned into - a Critical Mess. But too many yahoos who don't conform to the intent and instead transform the event into their own adjenda which permiates into the mob mentality that anything goes - a la the WTO riots.

On the other side of the dilema is that the political and public service entities such as the Police don't handle these rides any better and treat just about everybody to the lowest common denominator - a la an al qaeda terrorist - which will get much more youtube time.

At Friday, August 01, 2008 10:56:00 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Critical Mass = Douche Bags.

At Monday, August 04, 2008 6:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree we need people who drive cars to support cyclists' rights. Two reasons:
1. Everyone one of us with few exceptions are also drivers; and
2. Male supporters of women's sufferage voted to amend the constitution to allow women the vote in this country.
That analogy demonstrates that drivers should not be perceived of as the "enemy," but should be courted as allies.


At Wednesday, August 06, 2008 12:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian, thanks for being frank. My gut feeling is that they (Critical Mass) are less than outstanding citizens, but I didn't want to jump the gun.

At Wednesday, August 06, 2008 8:16:00 AM, Blogger Argentius said...

Vulgus vult ... protestare?


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