Chicago Critical Mass and Bike Winter stalwart, and all-around righteous dame Gin Kilgore will mop the floor in a debate with The Suburban Cyclist this evening at 7 on WTTW's Chicago Tonight talk show on channel 11:
I'm not at all a fan of Critical Mass, but I think Gin acquitted herself well and made good points while what's-his-face came off as angry and made no good points.
The segment definitely got me thinking; well done!
I've never been to a Critical Mass either, but I also thought Gin did an excellent job & I am definitely going to give one of these a shot in the near future. My observations/suggestions as someone who does drive as well as cycle would be to avoid comparisons to a funeral train, that is definitely going to alienate people - the points regarding marathons, parades, other routine street closures, etc. are dead on.
And the only point I agreed with Captain Capitalism on is that he's certainly right about road rage. Some drivers definitely get a chip on their shoulder regarding CM.
Of course, you have to put that in context (as Gin did) as drivers constantly get stuck in gridlock and I think other drivers are responsible for 95% of the road rage out there, and it has absolutely nothing to do with cyclists whatsoever and everything to do with just too many cars. But it would be helpful if the City could provide some formal recognition WITHOUT going the idiotic route of charging money or privatizing it or whatever that guy was talking about. So what if a few police are out there helping with traffic flow? That's their job!
Great job Gin, its too bad they didn't let you respond to some of the questions. I think you did an amazing job staying cool, collected and presenting yourself and critical mass as a positive and open event.
One great point on the "paying for the police presence": we pay for police presence all over the city because cyclists also pay taxes. Police go where there is likely need for them. Critical mass is a high need situation. Tax payers also pay for police to direct areas of heavy traffic, maybe drivers in those areas should pay a fee.
I also want to commend Ethan for representing Active trans well.
Getting involved in a local chapter of toastmasters could help all of us present cycling in the best light at any public event.
Critical Mass is a monthly New Orleans-style funeral for automobile dominance :-)
(Steven, I want this quote on the CCM site by 1 PM please.)
Carter O'Brien said:
My observations/suggestions as someone who does drive as well as cycle would be to avoid comparisons to a funeral train, that is definitely going to alienate people
Well, he's got a pretty suburban attitude. (Apologies to my friends in Berwyn, Oak Park and Evanston. Actually scratch Berwyn. Those Neanderthals took down the Car Spike.)
I thought he was the "Urban Cyclist"
Hes been at it longer than most people have had teeth and newbies just piss him off. ;P
I also want to point out that placing the argument that critical mass “causes road rage” is quite false. I’m not sure why psychologist the “Urban Cyslist” spoke with, but road rage is a learned behavior over a long time. Having to wait in traffic for critical mass to clear is probably something that most Chicago drivers only experience 1-10 times total. People who are experiences deep anger at these incidents have likely had a history of aggressive reactions to driving throughout their lifetime. In fact, it is often the case that children whose parents are otherwise composed and disciplined but yell, scream, become aggressive and uncontrolled when behind the wheel learn that it is acceptable and appropriate to dismiss otherwise polite behavior when one is behind the wheel. It is a cultural and cognitive acceptance that anger is an appropriate reaction to any transportation delay or inconvenience.
Critical mass does not cause road rage, rather it is a trigger for those who are already susceptible. Eliminating potential triggers of “road rage” does not help our society break the cycle of anger and aggression behind the wheel.
Given the lack of enthusiasm in his responses, I'm starting to wonder if he ever really cared that much about Critical Mass, or if he just wanted a controversy to get more exposure for his book.
The main problem with Critical Mass is the blocking of other traffic. I would like to see the ride obey the traffic laws. There is no need to blow through red lights as a group.
If done right, Critical Mass could be one of the best ways to show what a city would look like with law abiding cyclists comprising the majority of the traffic.