Tuesday, August 18, 2009

From CNN :: and a response.

I stumbled onto this on CNN.com last night about the Critical Mass ride in Vancouver, Canada [which is one of many Critical Mass rides done each month in a number of major cities]

Just a few response to the motorists the 'iReporter' interviewed...

'It's great!'
One of the more common responses I have experienced when those not riding see or experience larger rides go through urban centers and disrupt the regular flow of traffic. This is one of the main reason for the Critical Mass rides is to raise awareness for cycling and get more people involved. There is strength in numbers and this is a great way to get people's attention.

'I love this, I'm get myself a bike'
Once again. Just great to see and hear when people simply see enough 'everyday' people riding around that they want to join in. Cycling has unfortunately gained the stigma of the helmet wearing and spandex sporting athletes which isn't always putting a great step forward for the sport. Riding just to ride is why we all started in the first place, the freedom we experienced the moment the wind hit our face, I would argue, is the hook that keeps most of us going.

'Nightmare. They should obey the same rules we do and there's a cop that let them do it too... And we're late!'
This passenger is exactly right. Cyclist should and must obey the same rules as automobiles. But often cyclists aren't given or afforded the same rights to the road by the same people who demand they obey the rules. Thus why a critical mass is important in getting people to recognize the importance of cycling but more importantly cycling safely. Which, by the way, the Vancouver ride is with the police escort. By having the law enforcement, i.e. city government involved, it makes sure the event remains safe to all who are involved.

'I think they picked the wrong time of day to throw this protest, I don't why the city allows them to have it... Pick a time of day when, like a Sunday or some thing to throw this protest, not a Friday before a long weekend.'
Now all I want to do is ask this driver is what good is a protest that no one sees or disrupts the normal flow of the day? How else do you raise awareness or get people talking about and issue unless you bring it to ones attention? Maybe that's just me.

Overall, I'm on the fence as to whether or not I approve of Critical Mass rides. Sure, it's fun to go on and I basically partake in one each Wednesday Night here in GR but as we've encountered with these rides, often there are people who don't want to obey traffic laws and do more harm than good for bicycling advocacy with their actions. But then again, people are riding and is that really a bad thing?

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