critical mass

An interview with Portland’s most ticketed cyclist

Avatar by on December 6th, 2007 at 9:09 am

Bike Master Plan Ride #4

(Photos © Jonathan Maus)

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…]

Would Critical Manners catch on in Portland?

Avatar by on August 14th, 2007 at 9:51 am

Critical Mass August - Portland OR

Portland Critical Mass, August 2005.
(File photo)

While bouncing around some bike links the other day, I came across a story published yesterday in the L.A.Times about the age old question over the intentions and impacts of Critical Mass.

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…]

Police spent $20,000 on Critical Mass in ’06

Avatar by on April 26th, 2007 at 9:08 am

Critical Mass August - Portland OR

File photo: 8/26/05

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…]

Cops shift Critical Mass patrol duties

Avatar by on April 16th, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Critical Mass August - Portland OR

Police presence at a Portland Critical Mass
ride in August 2005.
File photo: 8/26/05

The Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division will no longer be in charge of Portland’s Critical Mass ride.

Seeking to remove a layer of management, the Bureau has decided to give the duty of patrolling the monthly ride to Southeast Precinct Lieutenant Bob Heimbach.
[Read more…]

A call for patience and a new paradigm

Avatar by on December 14th, 2006 at 8:52 am

As we debate stop signs, police enforcement, targeting of bicyclists (or not), and the definition of a brake, let’s clearly draw one distinction.

On the one hand, there is the idea, often brought out at times like this, that some (or most) bicyclists think they are above the law.

On the other hand, there is a growing upset in the bike community over particular laws, and the enforcement and interpretation of them in certain circumstances.
[Read more…]

Katrina and climate justice at Critical Mass

Avatar by on August 25th, 2006 at 7:24 am

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.

According to the official press release (PDF):
[Read more…]

What does Critical Mass mean to you?

Avatar by on May 3rd, 2006 at 8:41 am

Critical Mass August - Portland OR

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…]

Critical Mass turns ugly

Avatar by on May 1st, 2006 at 1:56 pm

[Photo Kerrke Yu]

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…]

Another view of Critical Mass

Avatar by on January 25th, 2006 at 7:48 am

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.

critical mass June 05 Portland OR critical mass June 05 Portland OR
critical mass June 05 Portland OR Critical Mass August - Portland OR
Critical Mass - Portland Critical Mass - Portland

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.

Critical Mass does the tree lighting

Avatar by on November 27th, 2005 at 12:04 am

Critical Mass - November

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!