What is Critical Mass?

What it is

Critical Mass is an event that takes place in hundreds of cities in North America and around the world on the last Friday of every month. It is a grand collective bike ride through the streets of downtown Montreal; a rolling celebration of urban cycling open to people of all ages and all capabilities.

bike lift

The reasons to participate are endless: to make a statement for sustainable transportation, to travel the city without the usual danger of motor vehicles, to re-imagine our use of public space. But to truly understand what makes Critical Mass so much fun, you just need to do one thing: show up!

Critical Mass has no official leadership or planning. All you need to know is when (5:30pm, last Friday of every month) and where (Phillips Square, Ste-Catherine @ Union) it happens. Aside from that, the ride is what its participants make of it.

How it works

Critical Mass rides are self-managed, meaning that everyone is responsible for keeping things safe and enjoyable.

Stick together!

It’s important that everyone, especially riders at the front, keep a slow pace so that nobody gets left behind. As long as the Mass stays together, cars can’t get mixed up in the ride.


If the Mass comes up on a red light, it stops. If the light is green, it moves ahead. But if the ride is passing through an intersection when the light turns red, it’s necessary to cork traffic until everyone is safely through:

Corkers need to be diplomatic, since drivers can sometimes get impatient. Wave to them, thank them for their patience, and wish them a happy Friday!

Stay in the direction of traffic

Never go the wrong way up a one-way street, and stick to one side of a two-way street. Riding against traffic isn’t just dangerous, it also tends to provoke a very negative reaction from the police.

The obvious stuff

ALWAYS make room for emergency vehicles, and give priority to pedestrians as much as possible.

Keep a cool head. There are almost always frustrated drivers who think they have more of a right to the road than you. Remember that you’re having more fun than they are, and let it slide. Unnecessary confrontations can ruin an entire ride.

Don’t forget, it’s a party! Critical Mass is an open creative forum, so feel free to bring music, flags, costumes, whatever. HAVE FUN!