The other day I met someone who claimed to have gotten more tickets while on their bicycle than anyone else in town. While I don’t think that’s anything to be proud of, I did think it was an interesting story and I was curious to know more.
I asked the person, who asked to remain anonymous, a few questions:[Read more…]
That debate is nothing new, but at the end of the article the writer mentioned a ride called Critical Manners. I read more about the concept (check out this story in the SF Chronicle) and instantly wondered whether this was something we should do in Portland. [Read more…]
The Portland Police Bureau released their Annual Traffic Activity Summary yesterday. The report details all the traffic violations and expenditures for 2006.
Among the stats was a page devoted to “Non-permitted Protest, Demonstration, Critical Mass”. It’s important to note not only how they categorize their presence at Critical Mass, but the amount of officers and cost to the city. [Read more…]
Rising Tide North America is an activist group that raises awareness for the “root causes of climate change.” Tonight, the group is using our monthly Critical Mass ride—and 28 others around the U.S. and Canada—to raise awareness for their cause and to draw attention to the anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
As long as Critical Mass exists in Portland it will be controversial and divisive. Recent events have renewed the debate about its merits and purpose within the cycling community and beyond.
Critical Mass is a big, complex idea that has as many definitions as participants. No one person can define Critical Mass and each city has its own, unique set of rules for dealing with it. Given its controversial and emotional past and present, we can debate and argue about it forever. [Read more…]
The calm and civility that has long been the hallmark of Portland’s Critical Mass ride was shattered last Friday. According to a report and photos on Indymedia there were several arrests that got out of hand.
As usual, there are several different accounts of what happened. One says the riders instigated the arrests with their disrespect of the police and the law, while another side says the treatment from the cops was totally out of line and unprovoked.
After the fracas, the ride regrouped and continued on without incident. [Read more…]
Critical Mass defies a neat definition. It is simultaneously revered, despised, and tolerated. Regardless of what you think about it, it’s important to remember that everyone does the ride for different reasons, and every city’s Mass has a different vibe.
Here in Portland, our ride is completely civil and law-abiding. Cyclists and cops even have regular get togethers to figure out how make the ride work better for everyone. Unfortunately, I think the intense political baggage of this ride sometimes weighs down the facts so I thought I’d share some photos from my archives that show a side of Critical Mass you’ve either never seen, or that you don’t want to admit exists.
I plan on being at the ride this Friday (5:45, NW Park and Couch). I think I’ll bring my 3 year-old daughter and show her how much fun it is to ride safely through the city with a friendly group of cyclists.
On Friday’s Critical Mass we timed the tree-lighting ceremony in Pioneer Courthouse Square just right. After creeping up Broadway we ended up stopped just outside Starbucks on the west side of the square when the countdown began and the big tree was lit. It was kind of a cool moment. Our bike bells mingled nicely with the cheers and claps of the Black Friday throngs.
After a short loop around the square, we headed back to the Park Blocks and met up with more riders. I peeled off at this point but I heard that the group ended up spreading the cheer on NW 23rd, bombing down Burnside (that’s always fun) and then doing a “mini-Mass” up MLK en route to a “furious dance party”. (Read Elly Blue’s recap for more details).
As for the cops…they seemed much more relaxed than usual. Must be the holiday spirit!