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The Miami Critical Mass Meetup Group Message Board › So whats the point?

So whats the point?

A former member
Post #: 1
I have a question. What is the point of blocking traffic, creating tieups, being aggressive and agitating to motorists and generally behaving rudely?

Heres the thing. Those motorists that you act out upon, thats you. Most if not all of you own cars, drive cars, or use them to get around. Have you put yourself in the position of a guy holding 2 jobs trying to make it on time to the next one so that he will have money to get his kids braces, or keep the lights on? Now thats not all the drivers for sure, but some of them, absolutely. Their gas taxes pay for the roads that you are using. The slogans are "SHARE THE ROAD", not "BOGART the ROAD when you think its cute".

Now I love the idea of cycling to work, riding to get to places and agree whole hardedly that Miami in particular needs alot of work to make it a bike friendlier area. But its not possible with three kids in tow. Its not possible 365 days a year, its not practical in 100* weather, the suburbans that can afford to have the luxurious flexibility of a bike ride option, live to far away to do so practically.

Now here is the way I see it. Its not like you have banners waving stating your intended purpose. By blocking traffic (illegally), creating tieups (dangerously) you illicit aggression from people who do not know what your intentions are. Many of the people whom you stop or slow are trying to go about their lives and have no time for your frivolities. AND MAKE NO MISTAKE, what you are doing is in fact FRIVOLOUS.

Costumes, goofy hats and bikes, the obvious disdain for motorists, these things only make it clear that you are a joke. And not a good one. Its not that people dont like your message. But rather the delivery.

Now a mass of bikes, operating legally, would be all the more impressive in numbers if you were spread out. A row of bikes spreading from brickell to 27 ave would be impressive, but perhaps not as nifty and fun for the lawbreakers. And make no mistake. Obstructing traffic is a crime, unlicensed protests are a crime. So..........

I ask again. And I realize im opening myself up to all kind of blasting. But maybe If you shed some light on me, my fellows might get some knowledge as well. From a law enforcement officers perspective. Whats the point?
A former member
Post #: 203
John:

Until you specified that you spoke from "From a law enforcement officers perspective.", I felt little empathy for your complaints.

Please bear in mind that no private citizen, to my mind, has standing to air the sort of complaints that you pose.

But taking you at your word, I will attempt to address your concerns in a respectful and informative manner.

As a near three-decade veteran bike messenger on the streets of downtown Miami and a regular corker on the monthly ride, I hope to offer you some useful insight.

What indeed is the point of "...blocking traffic, creating tie-ups, being aggressive...".

Need I point out to you that this is the norm amongst the motor vehicle-dependent majority? And while this is common practice on an individual basis, it cumulatively produces what we bizarrely refer to as "rush" hour.

Why then would a cooperative effort, once a month, over the span of approximately 90 minutes [about what the ride takes, from start to finish, so let us please maintain perspective and proportionality] be unacceptable?

I realize that is moral relativism on my part; but it is not the sum of my argument.

You may have a point that our purpose is not clear to all the motorists, but we do make an effort to communicate it as best we can. Of course, the activity we engage in involves taking up precious road space, of necessity.

But I must take strong exception to your characterization of our event as "frivolous".

We are over a thousand strong; would you regard us as "frivolous" if, as you yourself point out "...Most if not all of you own cars, drive cars, or use them to get around...", and we all proceeded to drive our cars at around the same time, along approximately the same route? [I should note that that does not apply to me---I do not own or operate a motor vehicle].

Of course you wouldn't; we'd only be more of the same traffic congestion. On balance, wouldn't you say that we might possibly even cause more delay than we do now? And therefore, aren't you taking exception to our behavior more due to it's distinctness, rather it's negative impact on those engaged in what is merely a more common practice? And in doing so, aren't you affording the motorist higher standing than the cyclist?

It's not as though rather than in engaging in critical mass we'd simply would not exist. Yet, that premise seems to at least implicitly underly you arguments...

As to your concern for the motorist being delayed while under duress, no doubt, some of that must occur. But I hope you will concede, our timing serves to minimize that effect.

Now to your final, and most pertinent question---What is the point?

John, critical mass is part of an evolutionary process of socio-economic change. More bike-friendly metropolitan areas than south Florida do not have a monthly critical mass, as it is simply unnecessary.

No doubt, you're familiar with the "three foot rule"; the law requiring motorists to leave a three foot gap when passing a cyclist.

You object, in part, to our activity as being against the law. But the reality on the road, in contrast to the three foot law is a significant portion of the motoring public making sport of trying to see how close they can pass a cyclist and not make contact, even in situations where there is an abundance of space. It's on rare day I don't have this experience. That, I believe, sums up the current status of the cyclist vis-a-vis the motorist here.

I ask to to contrast the potential of that with the eight-to-ten minute, once a month delay a motorist may suffer from CM.

And that is the point.


Vi
luv2rideMiami
Miami, FL
Post #: 31
you both have points. i've ridden all over miami since 1972. i've seen it all. things have progressed over the years. more bike lanes and advertisement. unfortunately reality indicates many have no regard for cyclists. you basically take your life in your own hands when you hit the streets of miami. you won't get anywhere by pissing them off.

i've been on a couple of your rides. i saw many unsafe situations, one involving a man riding his bike while holding hands with a child no more than 6 years old who was on her own bike. they were at the end trying to keep up with the group.

i previously suggested the ride should be divided into groups according to speed and skill. respons: "but it's called critical MASS". ok,,,so you want to keep it special,,,i understand there is no compromise there. better to compromise ones safety in order to make a point.

personally, i think the name should be changed to "critical MESS".
A former member
Post #: 2
John:

Until you specified that you spoke from "From a law enforcement officers perspective.", I felt little empathy for your complaints.

Please bear in mind that no private citizen, to my mind, has standing to air the sort of complaints that you pose.

But taking you at your word, I will attempt to address your concerns in a respectful and informative manner.

As a near three-decade veteran bike messenger on the streets of downtown Miami and a regular corker on the monthly ride, I hope to offer you some useful insight.

What indeed is the point of "...blocking traffic, creating tie-ups, being aggressive...".

Need I point out to you that this is the norm amongst the motor vehicle-dependent majority? And while this is common practice on an individual basis, it cumulatively produces what we bizarrely refer to as "rush" hour.

Why then would a cooperative effort, once a month, over the span of approximately 90 minutes [about what the ride takes, from start to finish, so let us please maintain perspective and proportionality] be unacceptable?

I realize that is moral relativism on my part; but it is not the sum of my argument.

You may have a point that our purpose is not clear to all the motorists, but we do make an effort to communicate it as best we can. Of course, the activity we engage in involves taking up precious road space, of necessity.

But I must take strong exception to your characterization of our event as "frivolous".

We are over a thousand strong; would you regard us as "frivolous" if, as you yourself point out "...Most if not all of you own cars, drive cars, or use them to get around...", and we all proceeded to drive our cars at around the same time, along approximately the same route? [I should note that that does not apply to me---I do not own or operate a motor vehicle].

Of course you wouldn't; we'd only be more of the same traffic congestion. On balance, wouldn't you say that we might possibly even cause more delay than we do now? And therefore, aren't you taking exception to our behavior more due to it's distinctness, rather it's negative impact on those engaged in what is merely a more common practice? And in doing so, aren't you affording the motorist higher standing than the cyclist?

It's not as though rather than in engaging in critical mass we'd simply would not exist. Yet, that premise seems to at least implicitly underly you arguments...

As to your concern for the motorist being delayed while under duress, no doubt, some of that must occur. But I hope you will concede, our timing serves to minimize that effect.

Now to your final, and most pertinent question---What is the point?

John, critical mass is part of an evolutionary process of socio-economic change. More bike-friendly metropolitan areas than south Florida do not have a monthly critical mass, as it is simply unnecessary.

No doubt, you're familiar with the "three foot rule"; the law requiring motorists to leave a three foot gap when passing a cyclist.

You object, in part, to our activity as being against the law. But the reality on the road, in contrast to the three foot law is a significant portion of the motoring public making sport of trying to see how close they can pass a cyclist and not make contact, even in situations where there is an abundance of space. It's on rare day I don't have this experience. That, I believe, sums up the current status of the cyclist vis-a-vis the motorist here.

I ask to to contrast the potential of that with the eight-to-ten minute, once a month delay a motorist may suffer from CM.

And that is the point.



Mr Nodal, thank you for your input. You mention that the distinction between your "critical mass" and regular rush hour traffic is net zero. That in effect you are doing the same thing. I would argue this is a poor argument. To paraphrase the "Top gear" Presenter Jeremy Clarkson, Rush hour happens not because we all just woke up and decided to go for a cruise for kicks, but rather because we all have to be in the same place, at the same time. Its not for fun (which you cannot argue your rides are) but rather out of necessity. All those drivers NEED to be in the same place at the same time.

Now to regard the frivolous distinction. Q: Would you be no different if you were in autos? A: Well yes, In autos you would be required to obey traffic law, you would not be able to fill both sides of the road (traveling in the same direction), Your speed would be consistent with regular traffic, and you would simply assimilate into regular traffic flow.

Now to address the 3 foot rule. I agree that many motor vehicle operators fail to abide by this rule. Many drivers do get far to close, far to flippantly showing disregard for the safety of riders. I agree. HOWEVER. Cyclists in large groups, I have noticed, become rather bullying. They force their way into traffic, breaking regular traffic patterns. They fill lanes traveling well below posted speeds. And they yell at and berate fellow road goers who are following the rules or who some sense of right, try to enforce the rules. In my patrol car I have been a victim of this entitlement attitude by a road race peloton who, by failing to follow the rules of the road, placed themselves in danger, then members of their group yelled at me (Im a patient guy) for it. I have dealt with several complaints regarding this behavior so its not just me. As an enthusiast, I have little doubt that you yourself have observed this behavior. Perhaps taken part in it?

Now you state that these critical mass gatherings are part of an attempt at socio-economic change. But without a clear message, its rather meaningless. Its just a bunch of people riding bikes disturbing the status quo. And remember, thats all that most people want. To go about their lives, undisturbed, with their "Status quo" remaining intact. I know thats not your point, but maybe if your point is protest, you should have a better method.

A former member
Post #: 45
Reckless driving is also a crime. So is running red lights and stop signs, hit and runs, etc. Maybe you should be out writing more traffic violations, instead of posting on an internet forum. Said from a citizen who prefer to not have their life taken by a motorist perspective.

For the record, I don't wear a goofy costume. I don't harass or argue with the people in the cars. And I haven't owned a car in about 2 years now, so I'm out on my bike or on foot everyday. I sympathize with the "holding 2 jobs" scenario that you paint. I'm barely surviving myself these days. But that doesn't excuse reckless driving with a bad attitude to boot, and zero regard for human life, that you often see with drivers in this city.

Miami doesn't need a lot of work to make it a bike friendlier area. It needs a lot of work to be a anyone not behind the wheel of a car friendly area. The drivers here are the worst I've ever seen. It's a pretty scary thought that some of the long time locals say it used to be worse! I've almost been run down in this city more times than I can count in the short time I've been here. Not just on my bike. Even on foot. I've even almost been hit on the sidewalk a few times.

You have some good points. Critical Mass does need to be better organized. And doing it in a way that actually gets the point across rather than just being an obnoxious nuisance is a great idea. But I ask you, what is law enforcement doing to help make this a safer place. Because it often seems like not much.
Jimmy C.
user 26700282
Miami, FL
Post #: 1
Close the gap!! If everyone kept it together it would make things a lot easier for everyone...
A former member
Post #: 3
Reckless driving is also a crime. So is running red lights and stop signs, hit and runs, etc. Maybe you should be out writing more traffic violations, instead of posting on an internet forum. Said from a citizen who prefer to not have their life taken by a motorist perspective.

For the record, I don't wear a goofy costume. I don't harass or argue with the people in the cars. And I haven't owned a car in about 2 years now, so I'm out on my bike or on foot everyday. I sympathize with the "holding 2 jobs" scenario that you paint. I'm barely surviving myself these days. But that doesn't excuse reckless driving with a bad attitude to boot, and zero regard for human life, that you often see with drivers in this city.

Miami doesn't need a lot of work to make it a bike friendlier area. It needs a lot of work to be a anyone not behind the wheel of a car friendly area. The drivers here are the worst I've ever seen. It's a pretty scary thought that some of the long time locals say it used to be worse! I've almost been run down in this city more times than I can count in the short time I've been here. Not just on my bike. Even on foot. I've even almost been hit on the sidewalk a few times.

You have some good points. Critical Mass does need to be better organized. And doing it in a way that actually gets the point across rather than just being an obnoxious nuisance is a great idea. But I ask you, what is law enforcement doing to help make this a safer place. Because it often seems like not much.

Chris. Cops need time off too. You have no idea what I do every day. You have no idea that because of where I work, and the high bike traffic that occurs there, how I make a concerted effort daily to ensure the safety of cyclists and runners. NO IDEA. Im here to educate myself and in doing so, maybe educate my fellow officers. Does this sound like a good idea? Perhaps you should be grateful for my efforts? Isnt education the key to understanding?
Vi
luv2rideMiami
Miami, FL
Post #: 32
Reckless driving is also a crime. So is running red lights and stop signs, hit and runs, etc. Maybe you should be out writing more traffic violations, instead of posting on an internet forum. Said from a citizen who prefer to not have their life taken by a motorist perspective.

For the record, I don't wear a goofy costume. I don't harass or argue with the people in the cars. And I haven't owned a car in about 2 years now, so I'm out on my bike or on foot everyday. I sympathize with the "holding 2 jobs" scenario that you paint. I'm barely surviving myself these days. But that doesn't excuse reckless driving with a bad attitude to boot, and zero regard for human life, that you often see with drivers in this city.

Miami doesn't need a lot of work to make it a bike friendlier area. It needs a lot of work to be a anyone not behind the wheel of a car friendly area. The drivers here are the worst I've ever seen. It's a pretty scary thought that some of the long time locals say it used to be worse! I've almost been run down in this city more times than I can count in the short time I've been here. Not just on my bike. Even on foot. I've even almost been hit on the sidewalk a few times.

You have some good points. Critical Mass does need to be better organized. And doing it in a way that actually gets the point across rather than just being an obnoxious nuisance is a great idea. But I ask you, what is law enforcement doing to help make this a safer place. Because it often seems like not much.


CHRIS: almost doesn't count. no it wasn't worse than it is now. yes, miami has a long way to go before it's friendly in any way. there was a time when taking a bus meant you had no idea when it would appear. there was a time when you could ride for miles and not see a single soul. when most of the people on the streets were old men playing dominoes. when you didn't need to take a short cut to get to where you were going.

miami was paradise. now it's new york. face it,,,it's not getting better. more people, more cars, more crime. paradise lost.

oh,,,have a little more respect for those who lay their lives on the line for you while you're out riding your bicyle.
Vi
luv2rideMiami
Miami, FL
Post #: 33
here ya go...welcome to miami! doesn't say if they were cyclists.

City of Miami police say the incident began Saturday afternoon about 2 p.m. when an officer responded to reports of 2 men fighting in the bike path of the Biscayne Boulevard exit ramp, alongside the Miami Herald's parking garage. There, according to the Herald, an officer observed a naked man eating another man's face:
A former member
Post #: 46
Jimmy the gaps will NEVER be closed until the people in the lead SLOW down! It's been brought up before, but people don't want to hear it. The pace is too fast for this long of a ride, with this big of a group, of differing fitness and skill levels. I usually stay towards the middle or the back. This was the first time I tried to get close to the front. There aren't as many gaps at the front of the pack, but the gap is MUCH bigger. I'm in relatively good shape, and by the end I gave up on trying to catch up. The reason that gap is there, is because you're going to fast for people to keep up. The reason for the gaps in the back, is because of the people in the middle trying to catch up to the front, while the ones in the back at the lowest fitness level can't keep up with either. SLOW DOWN!

Sorry John I wasn't trying to attack you. Just simply pointing out how bad things look from a newbie's perspective, on a daily basis, completely aside from Critical Mass. Even aside from just being on a bike. Same as you don't know me, when you make it sound like "everyone" is misbehaving and harassing motorists. Your original post sure made it seem as though you were the stereotypical unsympathetic Miami cyclist hater.

Vi almost may not count, except towards statistics that say some day it may not be an almost. I have had closer calls here than anywhere else, though. And this is the only place where I've actually been on the sidewalk, not in the street, when a few of them happened. Yes. More people, more problems, more crime, but riding is actually safer in New York than here.
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