London Critical Mass Under Threat
October 26, 2005 2:20 AM   Subscribe

Critical to Attend London Critical Mass this Friday. 11-year-old London Critical Mass is under threat thanks to the new SOCA laws - that's the Serious Organised Crime Act, which we all realise was drafted for precisely this kind of thing. The Metropolitan Police distributed letters at last months ride and threaten to turn a peaceful, non-political non-demonstration into exactly the opposite. Inevitably this month's ride is set to be the biggest yet. It is reminscent of the on-going Manhattan farce (mefi) and also Milwaukee.
posted by criticalbill (67 comments total)
btw, can anyone explain how you get paragraphs into the FPP?
posted by criticalbill at 2:22 AM on October 26, 2005

You're really not supposed to, but the <BR> tag will work for that. I did too much of that and had my one FPP heavily edited.
posted by Malor at 2:57 AM on October 26, 2005

For supposedly supporting alternative, non-car, forms of transportation, the NYC critical mass makes it awfully hard to get around on foot. Bunch of dicks.

At the same time, while I don't know about the London cops, the NYPD are certainly dicks.

So I guess they deserve each other, but the Critical Mass types should really try to beat up the cops more.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:12 AM on October 26, 2005

Thank God for that. Fed up with those annoying twerps obstructing traffic, causing a huge nuisance for the rest of us, and getting away with it.

Cyclists seem to think they're above the law, and have an unlimited licence to run red lights, endanger pedestrians on sidewalks, and obstruct traffic. Well past time they learnt different.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:17 AM on October 26, 2005

Has Critical Mass ever convinced any motorist to try bike commuting? Or is that not the point? Don't get me wrong, I love me some bikes, but going for a big ol' group ride 'fuck you' a rush hour is not the way to make friends and win converts to your cause.
posted by fixedgear at 3:18 AM on October 26, 2005

Critical Mass may not have converted me, but they did teach me that as a cyclist, I shouldn't view myself as a second-class citizen, grateful for the chance to share the road with magnaminous cars. I'm glad that people are asserting cyclists' rights and teaching others to stand up for themselves.
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:26 AM on October 26, 2005

I simply can't believe that people still refuse to bow before BMWs. I suspect it is because they want to sleep those alt-types. Without cars cycling would no longer be a super realistic single life video game.
posted by srboisvert at 3:29 AM on October 26, 2005

Cyclists seem to think they're above the law, and have an unlimited licence to run red lights, endanger pedestrians on sidewalks, and obstruct traffic. Well past time they learnt different.

Shit! I didn't know that. Really? Fucking cyclists! I bet they also shop for uranium. Whack em and Stack em! Let's roll!
posted by srboisvert at 3:35 AM on October 26, 2005

Having been on both sides of the car/bike equation, I have to say that a LOT of drivers are completely oblivious to cyclists being on the road. More than once I've had to kick a door or bang on a window to prevent somebody from running me off the road. However, having said that, there are also a lot of crazy-ass cyclists on the road who are just BEGGING to get run over. It seems like most of these are bike messengers, as opposed to your average "guy commuting to work on his bike".
posted by antifuse at 3:53 AM on October 26, 2005

I would love to be there just to witness the police try to stop and arrest a significant proportion of a crowd of "several hundred" each of whom has a bicycle.
posted by rongorongo at 4:06 AM on October 26, 2005

So by going would this one become political? I hope you guys get a good turnout.
posted by furtive at 4:24 AM on October 26, 2005

rongorongo: You missed just such an arrest during the Republican Convention in New York City last year.

And such was fine with me.
posted by Captaintripps at 4:57 AM on October 26, 2005

CM's not exactly a stop-the-war march is it? It's just a bunch of urban warriors ringing bells and getting in the way of as many people as possible. And not just twats in BMWs. They ride up pavements and block bus lanes too. So much for the little guy.

I've got a good idea: why don't mobilise pedestrians to occupy bike lanes?
posted by londonmark at 5:07 AM on October 26, 2005

Wow, lotta anti-CM sentiment around here. Kinda surprised, actually. I'm planning on doing the Halloween ride here in NY, having not done one since the RNC ride last year (which was ludicrous) due to almost being trapped in a hurricane fence on 9th ave, and then chased by a team of scooter cops on 2nd ave. Not good times.

I commute by bike every morning, don't ride on the sidewalk, and obey traffic laws. I'd say about 50% of the time some motorist tries to mow me down regardless.
posted by fet at 5:14 AM on October 26, 2005

TheophileEscargot: fine. Prosecute those idiot cyclists that like to do such stupid things but:
a) don't tar all us cyclists with the same brush
b) don't go prosecuting cyclists for entirely different offences

Besides, I expect most sane cyclists would also appreciate red-light-skipping loons getting their comeuppance, as it's more than just a touch irritating when you stop at a light on your bike and they saunter past without a care in the world. Anyway, this is in danger of becoming a derail.
posted by edd at 5:27 AM on October 26, 2005

I have a car, a motorbike and a bicycle. Colour me confused.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:43 AM on October 26, 2005

Wow, the UK is becoming more like the US every day. Chalk it up to TB falling in love with that "I'm Dubya's kid brother" fantasy.
posted by clevershark at 5:54 AM on October 26, 2005

I've never been on a CM ride, but I don't see what youze guyz's big problem is. At worst, you get held up (in your car or on foot) about 3 or 4 minutes, and you get to see public spectacle, which is why I live in the city in the first place. I've never been run off the road, or had my person molested by rabid cyclists in any way.

And by making a big deal out of it, the London and NY PDs are bringing more attention than they would have ever gotten otherwise.
posted by fungible at 5:56 AM on October 26, 2005

Frankly I'm surprised that anyone actually stupid enough to drive in New York would have the bollocks to complain in the first place. I'd suspect London is a similar traffic clusterfsck (although I never lived around those parts). There's something about seeing cyclists on the road that evidently makes some drivers go blind with irrational rage, which even as a driving commuter I don't really understand.

Then again I quit smoking and I haven't turned into a raging asshole either (as a lot of ex-smokers seem to be), so maybe it's just me.
posted by clevershark at 6:01 AM on October 26, 2005

Angry cyclists make this fred cry.

Why can't we all just get along?
posted by Opposite George at 6:09 AM on October 26, 2005

I don't really mind Critical Mass on most months when the number who show up is relatively small. I think it is stupid, but I don't really mind.

But when causes come together that turn it into a large event it is a real pain in the ass and the added strength of numbers seems to bring out the asshole of many (by no means not all, participants). I forget why it was so huge, but a few years ago, I missed my hourly bus home because I got stuck for about 15 minutes waiting for the entire Critical Mass to get across Mission on Fremont in San Francisco.

I didn't eventually get across because the whole thing had gone through but because a few enlightened souls (from the cyclists) created a barricade so that an ambulance that had been waiting for several minutes could get through. Until then, the cyclists just kept blithely running the intersection and holding it up.

Protesting the assholery (among other things) of drivers by being assholes themselves doesn't strike me as very effective. That said, the use of OC laws to battle it is stupid (as is the increasing expansion of RICO prosecution in the US).
posted by obfusciatrist at 6:20 AM on October 26, 2005

Go for the leaders.
Arrest the unicyclists.
They're hard core and all associates of Osama and out to destroy 'Murica and liberty and freedom 'n stuff.

Damn those environmentally minded do-gooders!
Who the hell do they think they are, getting in front of my f*cking SUV and slowing me down for 5 minutes a year?!
posted by nofundy at 6:28 AM on October 26, 2005

I officially no longer care about cars v. bikers threads... how ironic that i am commenting on it.
posted by cusack at 6:58 AM on October 26, 2005

Hey, I commute by bike every day and I've disliked just about every Critical Mass participant I've ever met (with the exception of 5 or 6).

Maybe it's just me, but the motorists I run into between Queens and Brooklyn seem, for the most part, pretty cool to cyclists.
posted by Captaintripps at 6:58 AM on October 26, 2005

I swear I stared at the FPP for a good minute wondering why the Met would arrest Church goers. But then it was not a run-of-the-mill Mass, but a Critical Mass. Being somewhat acquainted with Liberation Theology I thought perhaps the priest would say a lot of unsavory things about Tony Blair and the war and such and the guys would be upset about it. Eventually I clicked a link. Oh, a large mob of cyclists slowing the traffic and annoying the public. A Serious organized Crime indeed.
posted by nkyad at 8:25 AM on October 26, 2005

I officially no longer care about cars v. bikers threads... how ironic that i am commenting on it.

But what about the possibility that someone will make a new point? What if you miss that rare happening?
posted by smackfu at 8:29 AM on October 26, 2005

edd - Well said!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:47 AM on October 26, 2005

I officially no longer care about cars v. bikers threads

I don't have a car, and I suspect that if you do it's relatively easy to just skirt around the obstruction.

It's more a pedestrians-and-bus-users versus cyclists thing.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:47 AM on October 26, 2005

The action, or something like it, seems reasonable to me. Critical Mass is effectively a parade, and ought to go through the same permitting process as any other parade and be subject to the same restrictions as any other parade.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:57 AM on October 26, 2005

Since when is Critical Mass
"a peaceful, non-political non-demonstration"?
It's always struck me as precisely the opposite.
posted by JeffK at 8:57 AM on October 26, 2005

Thank God for that. Fed up with those annoying twerps obstructing traffic, causing a huge nuisance for the rest of us, and getting away with it.

Drivers seem to think they're above the law, and have an unlimited licence to run red lights, endanger pedestrians on sidewalks, pollute the air, and obstruct traffic. Well past time they learnt different.

Fixed it for ya, TheophileEscargot
posted by NationalKato at 9:06 AM on October 26, 2005

Motorists in London have an unplanned, go-slow, parade through the streets of London at least twice a day, every single weekday. They even have a name for it; 'Rush Hour'. Why shouldn't cyclists be the ones clogging up the roads once a month?
posted by MrMustard at 9:09 AM on October 26, 2005

Why shouldn't cyclists be the ones clogging up the roads once a month?

Because they are so small, and easy to crush with automobiles?
posted by solipse at 9:13 AM on October 26, 2005

As a cycle commuter, I get pissed off with CM still. It just increases the antagonism between riders and drivers. No one is being convinced to stop driving -- every time one of my friends comes back from CM, I ask him, "So... how many drivers did you convince to start riding?"

"I just want to make all the people that think of CM as an easy way to "make a statement" and be all alternative and indy and anarchist and shit to fucking stop doing it." - Special K

posted by Extopalopaketle at 9:18 AM on October 26, 2005

It basically comes down to: Will you support a brief demonstration that isn't stamped with the government's approval, or are you a big fucking unquestioning capitalist-fascist who does the suv goosestep on call.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:54 AM on October 26, 2005

Um, I guess I'm a fucking unquestioning capitalist-fascist who does the suv goosestep on call. Plus I eat dead babies for brunch.

The only thing that disappoints me more than CM is the backlash against biking and bike commuters because of it. Just because CM is annoying and holier-than-thou doesn't mean they don't have a point.
posted by chrominance at 10:04 AM on October 26, 2005

No gorgor, it's more like: Will you hurt all cyclists by perpetuating the adversarial relationship between cyclists and motorists for the sake of being mastibatorily counter-culture, or are you going to actually do something to provoke voluntary, positive change?

The CM'ers that stick out in my mind are the ones that aren't as interested in promoting cycling as much as taking shots at the 'establishment': what if cycling were to become so prevalent that it could satisfy the needs and wants of some consumers the way some automobiles do -- if there was a cycling equivalent of the Super Expensive Sports Car, Giant Bling Bling SUV. (yes, such bikes exist, but their apparent value must also be recognizable to all the other cyclists as the show of power and wealth that it is) Maybe some of us want to maintain the rift between cyclists and motorists.

I'm annoyed more activist groups don't seem to take on board marketing / PR professionals -- there are more than enough young grads available and willing to intern (work for free!) in such non-for-profit organizations. And don't give me that crap about how they're members of the capitalist system -- if you really want to change the establishment, you have to speak to them on terms they'll understand, using their own tools against them. Capitalists are great for selling out their own.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 10:16 AM on October 26, 2005

"...must also be recognizable to all the other cyclists..."

Should be:

"... must also be recognizable to all other people -- motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists alike..."
posted by Extopalopaketle at 10:19 AM on October 26, 2005

Critical Mass is effectively a parade, and ought to go through the same permitting process as any other parade and be subject to the same restrictions as any other parade.

There is no organization, there is no parade.

It's what happens when thousands (hopefully) of bicyclists decide to go riding together at the same time, and it's certainly (for now) within their legal rights.

If they run red lights, they can be ticketed individually. I see no problem with that.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:41 AM on October 26, 2005

Holier than thou posers taking shots at people they aren't, which is always ugly. In this case the targets are those insufficiently healthy to ride, unable to afford homes closer to work, may have responsibilities to move things around besides just themselves such as children, or make their livings with heavy tools or equipment like trades-people.
posted by scheptech at 10:48 AM on October 26, 2005

scheptech, i believe that in your scheme, your 'targets' would be the ones doing all the shooting. none of them is too disadvantaged to grasp a simple statement, and if they oppose it, it generally makes another statement, which is always ugly.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 11:18 AM on October 26, 2005

There is no organization, there is no parade.

Critical Mass pretending that there is no organization, and taking steps to sort-of-but-not-really-wink-wink appear as if there is no organization, does not make it so.

It wouldn't be an issue if they habitually stopped at lights and left intersections clear for opposing traffic. They walk like a parade, they squawk like a parade, let them be treated as a parade.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:50 AM on October 26, 2005

By shots I don't mean gunfire, figure of speech.

My 'targets' are offered nothing practical by CM, nothing but complaint and forceful accusation of guilt and, most absurdly, moral inferiority for fulfilling their responsibilities in a way most of 'em have little practical alternative to.

[SUV-poorly-endowed-machoman also-poser aside, of course]
posted by scheptech at 12:03 PM on October 26, 2005

It sounds as if the SOCA act probably could be used to bust the organizers and stadium owners when a soccer match got out of hand.

Also - not that I would otherwise even remotely compare the two movements but.... the US antiabortion movement, culminating in many abortion clinic bombings and a few murders of doctors who performed abortions during the mid 1990's, used the same sort of decentralized organizational tactics for plausible deniability.

Difference is, critical mass isn't bombing buildings or shooting people.

Also government transportation spending - especially in the US but in the UK as well - has historically gone, to a wildly lopsided degree, towards building the automobile transport infrastructure - while bicycle paths have been little more than an occasional afterthought and typically not a thought at all.

That fact is more than a bit relevant - I'd bet - to Critical Mass rider attitudes.
posted by troutfishing at 12:16 PM on October 26, 2005

Plus, I need to use "also" less. It's becoming a sort of writerly tic.
posted by troutfishing at 12:17 PM on October 26, 2005

Amazing that despite numerous posts about CMers blocking buses, pedestrians, and even ambulances, people are still defending them.
posted by Potsy at 12:28 PM on October 26, 2005

I commute by bike but have never taken part in a CM ride. They're going about it in all the wrong ways. Just because most drivers treat us poorly doesn't mean we should do the same to them.

I'm all for trying to convert drivers to bikers and educating those drivers who have a legitimate need for using their car or suv. I've only been bike commuting for a few months and in that time I very quickly noticed the feeling of superiority creeping in on me. I didn't expect it and didn't like it. I know it comes partly from knowing I'm doing something good for me and good for the environment and that most of those driving have no real need for driving.

So I'm not seeing too many people here defending CM. Anyone know of groups using more productive and respectful methods of making drivers aware of bikes and even converting some to bikers???
posted by J-Garr at 12:32 PM on October 26, 2005

That first article was pointlessly biased. I say pointlessly because it was useless as anything other than rhetoric to whip cyclists into a frenzy. It was also enough to probably turn off a number of people from reading the other articles. The most balanced viewpoint was from CNN (wtf?). This is, based on most of the comments here, what seems to turn people off from CM. It is conducted in very much a one-sided and disrespectful fashion (never seen one myself, though I've seen pictures). I ride a motorcycle, and on group rides, we have strict rules, organization, and obey traffic laws. If part of the group gets separated behind a changing light, you slow or pull over to let them catch up. You don't proceed through the light. If CMers are indeed violating traffic laws, then yes, they're in the wrong. If you want to do things right, then grow up, get an official organization, and take your shit to court. If you just want to ride with your friends, for goodness sake, do it! But if you don't abide by the same laws we all do, then the terrorists have already won. Civil disobedience would be riding your bike if biking were outlawed. But you would want to obey traffic laws to show you are not a bad person. That's the point of civil disobedience, to show laws are unjust. Not to get into a war of "Who can obstruct traffic more, us or the pigs?" Gee, their scooters went down a one-way street the wrong way! Well, they wouldn't've have had to do that if you were all riding in a sedate manner. Large groups are difficult to control; all the more need for protocol. If someone is breaking the law on your ride, you need to be responsible for that. Don't ride with people you don't trust.

Full disclosure: I have a bicycle, and a pickup truck. My primary transport is my motorcycle.

On preview: J-Garr: A few of the more upstanding motorcycle clubs will usually snag a new rider or two on larger rides, for the reasons I stated above. Some ride captains carry MSF (licensing info) so that when people come up to them at rest-stops/restaurants, they can send them in the right direction. I actually used to when riding solo on my bike, but I ran out!
posted by Eideteker at 12:41 PM on October 26, 2005

I say "wtf" for CNN being balanced not because of the current "CNN = bad journalism" zeitgeist but because some of these indie media sites need to learn how to write thoughtful, convincing pieces if they want to be taken seriously. People not on either side of the issue tend to look for objectivity (I do, at least) in news media, when given a choice. Start giving them that choice. Flies, honey, etc.
posted by Eideteker at 12:45 PM on October 26, 2005

Anyone know of groups using more productive and respectful methods of making drivers aware of bikes and even converting some to bikers???

Hopefully they'll be converting them to cyclists.
posted by fixedgear at 12:45 PM on October 26, 2005

Bicycles and cars should not be on the same road, IMHO. Cycling has been ignored and side-lined ever since the businesses that support combustion engined transport bought their first politician. Unfortunately, it is random people on the street that are inconvenienced by the actions of CM and the message of the event can be lost by overly confrontational participants.
Cyclists cannot afford to buy advertisements or (lobby) politicians, they cannot compete with the money rich companies that have successfuly infiltrated the idea that the car is an emancipation machine into society. Obviously there are times when a car is the best choice for transport, but equally there are times when the bicycle is a superior option.
It is an uphill struggle to be a cyclist in cycling unfriendly cities, working against attitudes, infrastructure and the danger of sharing the road with high-speed metalic objects. Changes in society take a long time (50 years, I'd say), but inner-city roads are not going to be any less poluted or crowded without legislation.
Like the poo on the SUV door-handle, CM is a way for disenfranchised people to kick against the pricks, but this is often an expression of negativity and serves only to promote further negativity and extreme attitudes when dialogue and compromise are what is needed.
posted by asok at 1:55 PM on October 26, 2005

Without condoning the assholery of many CM riders, I completely understand it. To ride a bicycle on public streets is to be constantly honked at simply for being in someone else's way. The rage-filled drivers are the minority - I'd say 1 in 50 who lean on the horn when a bicyclist holds them up. But their anger contains a palpable threat; when someone in a 5-ton machine that can do 100 MPH is expressing anger at you for using the street you have a right to use, there is a definite implied threat. (And yes, 9 times out of 10, the rage-filled driver is behind the wheel of an SUV. The 10th time, they are yakking on a cellphone or morbidly obese.) If any of these rage-filled drivers were to snap, my life would be over. I'm often the recipient of a driver's rage for doing something or being in a place on my bike that wouldn't enrage them if I were walking or in a car. For example, waiting for traffic to break so I can make a left-hand turn one morning, the driver behind me flew into a rage because he missed the chance to make a right - but if I had been in a car, he would have waited silently. If an old lady using a walker were crossing the street, he would have waited silently. (Perhaps fuming at his missed shot, but he wouldn't be leaning on his horn.) When you are in a car, someone behind you leaning on their horn is a jerk - when you are on a bike, it becomes a very real implied threat.

I'm a safe, slow, cautious cyclist who uses reflectors and lights. I bike to and from the subway station daily as part of my commute. I'd say I'm honked at an average of 5 times a week just for being on the road - for being in the way. I probably encounter a livid leaning-on-the-horn driver once every two weeks. Multiply these implied threats by thousands of cyclists every day, and you can begin to see why people find CM so liberating, and why they lash out at drivers when CM finally gives them the chance.

I don't think Critical Mass is working the way it is intended - instead of raising awareness of cyclists' right to the road, it seems to be creating more hostility towards cyclists. This failure combined with a healthy fear of arrest in the post-RNC New York has made me stop riding in CM.

I hope that there is some more effective way to raise awareness of cycling as a legitimate form of transportation and of the full rights to the road that cyclists have. In American suburbs, we have given up all rights to the autos - they don't even bother building sidewalks out there. But in the cities, there is a more-or-less healthy balance of respect between drivers and pedestrians; we desperately need to add a cycling element to that balance.
posted by Cranialtorque at 2:18 PM on October 26, 2005

Bicycles and cars should not be on the same road, IMHO

You know what they say about opinions, right?
posted by fixedgear at 2:39 PM on October 26, 2005

I wanted to buy a bike. Then I started looking just a little, saw they were insanely expensive and there was so much to choose from that i had no idea where to start. Thus I became confused, frustrated and now I run bikers down without really understanding why. Although I'll be damned if my flowers aren't growing better than ever. If only dogs would stop digging up bones.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 3:25 PM on October 26, 2005

"....some of these indie media sites need to learn how to write thoughtful, convincing pieces if they want to be taken seriously"

That assumes they can

I tend to believe they are capable, but they sure do need to scrape some ideological plaque out of their brains.
posted by troutfishing at 3:49 PM on October 26, 2005

Isn't the point of this thread meant to be that an act that was allegedly passed to thwart terrorism is being abused by the authorities to stop what they see as an annoyance?

It's weird how not even on MeFi anyone seems to care that governments that allege that they are out to defend and promote Democracy are passing laws themselves that they then use to thwart previously legal things that annoy them?
posted by sien at 4:16 PM on October 26, 2005

sien, I'd guess that conceptual outrage at the gradual/rapid decline of our rights isn't half as important to most, as getting to blockbuster and back in 5 mins.

cranialtorque, I'd call BS on your "if I were in a car, they wouldn't honk at me" claim, just because I spent the last three years with an office overlooking a busy, but inadequately sized, intersection. Everyone is in a hurry, and when you get in their way, it doesn't matter what your ride is...
posted by nomisxid at 4:44 PM on October 26, 2005

when you get in their way, it doesn't matter what your ride is...
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:11 PM on October 26, 2005

Reading this thread I'm starting to understand how people like George W. Bush can win elections...

If you think his victory was narrow think again. It's clear that in the "marketplace of ideas" the demonization of people and groups who actually take action to protest what they do not like has become a staggeringly succesful strategy, even in a so-called "hotbed of liberalism" like MeFi...
posted by clevershark at 5:17 PM on October 26, 2005

So then, cars and trucks should be treated as a parade, right?

Where you live, cars usually ignore red lights and station guardian cars to make sure that opposing traffic can't move until the whole mass of cars has gone by as a unit? That must suck, but I don't see what it has to do with this world.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:33 PM on October 26, 2005

Sure. But bicyclists have every right to ride on the street, so I don't have any reasonable cause to complain about being slowed. It would annoy me, but it wouldn't be any different than any other slow-moving vehicle: annoying to be caught behind, but within the law.

Blocking cross traffic and ignoring traffic signals is a whole different thing, and that's what really makes me clench my panties. But I am admittedly a big weirdo.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:13 PM on October 26, 2005


WTF is wrong with the world, it's just people riding bikes!
posted by Glibaudio at 11:03 PM on October 26, 2005

Minority parties are immersed in the dominant culture, so they have some insight, however biased. Dominant parties have the disadvantage of never being immersed in the minority's culture and therefore they are prone to believe their worldview is undeniable.

PS All the CMs I've been in (some huge) got out of the way of fire trucks and ambulances hella fast. People often block for peds and we avoid blocking busses. Can't speak for other cities, but sounds like hyperbole to me.
posted by Skwirl at 1:00 AM on October 27, 2005

So basically this story boils down to: one group of asses is misusing a law to abuse another group of asses, because that group of asses infuriates yet another group of asses.

Is that about right?
posted by moonbiter at 3:21 AM on October 27, 2005

Thanks for the psychological assessment, f_m. I recognize my wrongness, and I own my me-ness now. Let me know what I owe you.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:53 AM on October 27, 2005

Gah, that was churlish of me. Sorry.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:18 AM on October 27, 2005

fixedgear -' You know what they say about opinions, right?'

Indeed. But separation of traffic is the ideal situation whenever possible, surely? The only reason I am not terrified by riding with double length/decker busses, articulated trucks and delivery vans is exposure. I know that they can't change direction fast and am used to the way they can manoeuvre, so I can avoid them despite their likelyhood of not being able to see me in heavy traffic. Unless you restrict these vehicles from the roads, city cycling is going to be too dangerous looking for most people. The other option is to create bicycle routes that are completely separate from powered traffic and pedestrians.
In the UK we have bus/cycle lanes and neither the bus drivers nor the cyclists want to meet each other in such a restricted bit of road. They can't get past us without leaving the bus lane partially and we can't pass them without doing the same.
When you ask people why they don't cycle to work, amongst their reasons are the lack of safe cycle routes, the lack of facilities at work, the weather and the perceived danger. Most people I know who regularly cycle in cities have been hit or fallen off in traffic. Some of these things can be changed. Some of them are slowly being changed. You can get a company bike. Cycling from one work site to another is also compensated financially. Building facilities for cyclists at work (showers, changing rooms, lockers, covered bike parks) can be grant assisted.
Cycling in London would be the ideal way to get around for a large proportion of people, if there were enough cycle lanes and facilities. I wish CM were raising cyclists profiles in London, but anyone who has walked around London will be able to tell you a story of a reckless courier doing something insane; people know there are cyclists around. Unfortunately, what they don't see so easily are the benefits of cycling.

Sien - 'Isn't the point of this thread meant to be that an act that was allegedly passed to thwart terrorism is being abused by the authorities to stop what they see as an annoyance?'

If they were to use this law to stop the mass ride (which may not be neccessary at all), it may constitute an interesting test case. But on the other hand they can stick their arriviste neo-fascist laws back in the dustbin of history, from whence they came.

Glibaudio, I know it's a blight on the so-called democracy that we are supposed to be enjoying and an affront to common-sense. Welcome to mainstream reality.

Skwirl - interesting. It wouldn't be the first time that media reports have been a little blind to both sides of the story. For instance the DSEi (Defence Systems and Equipment International) in London this year, once again open on September 11th, which received an almost total media blackout.
posted by asok at 11:44 AM on October 27, 2005

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