John Greenfield / www.gridchicago.com
Absolutely right Gin Kilgore and Stephen Lane! It was Critical Mass - Chicago that first showed me what our city could be like...if we could persuade more people to leave their cars at home and BICYCLE! It is that one shining hour each month! I want my neighborhood to be Critical Mass 24/7!
Recently I spent a week in the Netherlands -- they ALREADY have a critical mass of bicycles that have taken over many streets. Many towns close their central districts to cars (but not bikes) for several hours each day. And if you're a pedestrian, you stray into cyclists' path at your own peril! In Holland, cyclists already rule -- let's not rest until it is the same way in Chicago!
Also, if the cops are allowing massers to run red lights in order to stay together and safer, why would they not allow 'corking' which only serves the same purpose? I've ridden a few masses and I've also never witnessed a cop call out a rider for corking either, for what its worth.
Just more whining from entitled motorists who need to wake up sooner rather than later and deal with it.
Absolutely right Gin Kilgore and Stephen Lane! It was Critical Mass - Chicago that first showed me what our city could be like...
I am inconvenienced (oh, the horror! loss of convenience!) by masses of cars on most days; I think people cars can handle being inconvenienced by masses of bicycles once a month.
I think I just decided to make this the last year I am a member of Active Trans.
I guess marathons, parades, Presidential visits or any other whim (ever watch how the TMA directs traffic? cars have waited longer for Metra trains) then the streets are ok to be shut down or blocked but god forbid drivers have to wait 5 minutes once a month for a bike ride.
These articles suck and they need to not be written. stfu.
Thanks for letting us know, James, I'm sorry to hear that.
Also in the interest of full-disclosure, here is the full quote we submitted:
"Critical Mass has inspired and empowered more people to bike regularly around the Chicago area. One of the goals of Critical Mass is creating safer and more inviting streets for cyclists. Active Trans also wants safer streets and better biking, walking and transit. But as an organization, we don’t support Critical Mass. Critical Mass will likely continue until we all work together to make our streets safer and more welcoming to cyclists."
"While we support the goals and spirit of Critical Mass, we can’t overlook breaking traffic laws that are designed to keep everyone on the streets safe."
Critical Mass certainly is contentious and inspiring at the same time.
Gin is on it, as always, it's a celebration similar to a sporting event. I'd imagine for most festival, game, etc. traffic congestion people are resigned to it being a below average experience and police and city assistance do their best to manage it.
Ethan Spotts, Active Trans
I cork at least once each Mass ride. I've noticed the last few rides the police have told me to move on. I didn't know it was an official CPD policy.
See you guys tonight! HAPPY FRIDAY!!
It would be interesting to have a 'ride to rule'. Hundreds of bikes in The Loop, or whatever neighborhood is chosen, all going in different directions, all totally obeying the rules of the road, while doing lots of left turns. Bike gridlock!
Yes! Happy Friday! I love that spirit.
OT: in the spirit of riding, I've been rocking the "thumbs up" on my commutes recently, it's a total feel good. Give people the finger, thumbs up, for safety, respect and connection.
This recently created some spirit and crazy ideas in our office (thanks, Shafaq C.):
I wish all the Massers a Happy Friday!
Ethan Spotts, Active Trans
The only thing the cops EVER say is, "move along -don't block traffic."
I am sure this is a policy somewhere told to them by superiors.
"Move along and don't block traffic -so they can run over everyone when they pull out through the mass" is what they are really saying but as long as the bicycles are following the traffic laws then I guess that will be OK to put "They were following the traffic laws" on their gravestones.
We can't just overlook traffic laws. That would be BAD!
Well the police actually block traffic for us, don't help with "corking" but allow it so why is someone supposedly in favor of promoting biking in the city wagging a finger at his target audience?
Let's not be counterproductive here.
The problems arise later in the ride when the mass is more like 3-4 groups with large spaces in betweewn the the corking looks to drivers to be a hold up of traffic.
It's hard to stay massed with cowboys in front, newbies, kids and a variety of different bikes with different speed and riding styles mixed in.
Worried about bike safety? educate the drivers not the bikers, don't waste my time and yours being redundant and telling me things I already know.
The bike ambassadors along with police this past summer were brow beating bikes as they rode through a 3 way stop!? no traffic coming from the right but yet a stop sign for cars is also relevant for bikes. Brilliant.
Critical mass isn't some soft spoken veagn condescendingly telling me about the law IT IS an in your face ride since the majority of drivers would just as soon run you over as not. That's the point.
As for the Cowboys up Front I will again have to point to the cops as the main source of the problem.
If one actualy were to ride up front it becomes obvious that they use the same "Keep moving, don't block traffic" line every time the leaders attempt to stop and mass up.
It has gotten ridiculous a few times in the past year where the front just rode away and some of us back a few dozen or so bikes just slowed/stopped and/or turned the mass down a slow side-street which effectively cut the cops and cowboys off to play lancey racer pants by themselves on their own, while preserving the integrity of The Mass. Otherwise we skinny-up too much.
This strategy is really the only thing to counter the fact that the cops push along the head of the mass at such a rate that it gets all spread out and becomes more dangerous because cars feel more comfortable cutting through when we are skinny like that.
But by all means, we can't overlook traffic laws in our rolling demonstration. The establishment doesn't like that!
I'm sick of the establishment suborning our own bicycle infrastructure and turning them against us. When THAT happens we need to cut them off at the head. No more money and no more memberships for people who just spout establishment anti-bike crap like "we can't overlook traffic laws" in our civil disobedience. Our car-driving masters don't like that!