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next next ride: October 31, 2008

Last Friday of every month

17h30 at Phillips Square, Ste-Catherine @ Union



Sunday, April 8, 2007

Sad news out of SF

The Critical Mass in San Francisco apparently took a violent turn last week - a woman in a minivan with her two young daughters had her rear window smashed after getting into a fight with some Mass riders.

A number of news stories covering the altercation can be found here: San Francisco Wire

The details are hard to ascertain - the woman claims she suddenly got stuck in the ride, and the riders turned violent without provocation. Other witnesses claim she deliberately tried to force her way through the crowd and ran into a cyclist.

What's really important, though, is that the situation should never have gotten out of control like that. If riders are always careful to cork properly, and don't lose their cool when there is a confrontation, stuff like this should never be a problem.

A lot of people shared my observation that March's ride took a bit of a turn towards a free-for-all... people started turning down one-way streets, and taking up both lanes on two-way roads. I saw some people deliberately intimidate drivers, seemingly without reason.

I'm not here to tell anyone what to do during Critical Mass. That's not mine or anyone's place. But if we can all agree that it should be safe, inclusive, and positive, we can't let that sort of thing happen. I heard people yelling at the police, "we don't need you!", and that should be true. But when I see bikers barrelling forward into oncoming traffic, as the cops race around to block the roads ahead of them, it's a tough sell.

Montreal's Critical Mass is still in its infancy. We have the opportunity to make of it what we choose. I see it as something that can convince people that bikes are a fun and viable mode of transportation, not alienate them because we come off as aggressive hate-mongers. Sometimes a gentle reminder to a fellow rider is all it takes to make that difference.

That's just my two cents. If anyone wants to add to this discussion, you can comment below.

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