AMELIA SANTANIELLO. We begin tonight with 19 arrests and a group of bicyclists who were protesting in the streets of Minneapolis. Jason DeRusha is back from the scene. Jason, what happened?
JASON DERUSHA. Amelia, the group calls themselves Critical Mass, the last Friday of every month they protest riding down the streets of Minneapolis blocking traffic; they are anti-automobile. Well, armed with their bikes and with cameras, some argue that they want attention and want problems -- tonight they got both.
It started in the heart of Downtown Minneapolis. Hundreds and hundreds of bicycles riding slowly and filling up one side of 10th Street. (Sound - Siren) Then, Minneapolis Police hit their sirens, trying to arrest one of the bicyclists. Police say that guy was riding directly at cars, provoking them. That's when the crowd started to sound more like a mob. (Sound - Bikers: "Let them go!") The bicyclist escaped into the group, then a couple of blocks away police try again. This is video from one of the rider's friends. You see the officer trying to make an arrest, and Critical Mass gets critical at the cops. As the crowd grows louder, the officer takes pepper spray, and goes after some of the bikers.
UNIDENTIFIED MINNEAPOLIS POLICE INSPECTOR. "There were individuals physically trying to pull officers off of the individual who was under arrest."
JASON DERUSHA. Amelia, nobody was hurt in this entire incident, and normally these rides, according to police, are very calm and controlled. Police tell me that the arrest of nearly twenty people should not detract from the rest of the group. The Inspector told me that he actually agrees with reducing reliance on automobiles, but he doesn't agree with illegally provoking drivers. I should say we did talk with a number of the people out there riding the bikes, and they present, of course, a different story saying it was the police doing the provoking.
AMELIA SANTANIELLO. Alright, Jason, thank you.
A bunch of bike riders pedaled through San Francisco on Friday night, and nobody got mad at anybody.
The cyclists were polite. The motorists were respectful. The pedestrians were happy. The cops were incredulous.
And it all comes, said ride organizer Reama Dagasan, from stopping at red lights, which is not at all a bad thing to do.
"We're making a statement tonight," she said. "We believe in sharing and being nice." [...]
Also, anyone who wears a spandex suit and helmet that match their bike? Yeah, you're a target, I don't care how politely you're accommodating my rights as an automobile driver. Jesus christ, that's just annoying as hell. I'm hucking a can of Coke at you "just because".
posted by disclaimer at 9:23 AM on September 1
Drivers do not want to kill you. They will, in fact, swerve out of the way and wreck their multi-thousand-dollar investment rather than hit you. [...]
posted by hob at 9:50 AM on September 1
I'm not familiar with the traffic laws in Chicago and the state of Illinois, but perhaps this is the source of our disagreement--here in California the pedestrian always has the right-of-way (even if they're jaywalking, I believe).
Critical Mass is the reason I make it a policy to door as many cyclists as possible.
posted by Danelope at 9:51 AM on September 2
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