The Miami Critical Mass Meetup Group Message Board › So whats the point?
Critical Mass is a community bicycle ride and the reasons people join that ride
increase as the group grows in number. In Miami, most riders attend Critical
Mass because of its entertainment value. As you've described, this is spectacle, but it is also a form of cultural
expression, urban exploration, group physical activity, a chance to network socially and,
after all of that, some riders are still motivated to attend Critical Mass to address public
policy. Think of Critical Mass as a brief, monthly, two-wheeled, King
Mango Strut that is entertaining and affordable to our taxpayers, while conveying a pertinent message. At
best, Critical Mass approaches demonstration-lite.
Just as the majority of riders prefer to have fun rather than make advocacy
statements, the majority of drivers we encounter each month wait patiently, some even consider
joining. There is a distinct difference between those drivers who honk their horns in support, and those that do so out of anger. Every month, we encounter more supportive gestures than discouraging ones. But even in this revelry, serious public policy issues are
addressed: our city streets are overrun and rendered hazardously inhospitable by cars. Our city creates
more traffic annually than can be mitigated with additional lanes for
traffic. Several alternatives for commuters address this issue, such as occasionally
taking public transit, carpooling, walking, riding a bike or even
moving closer to work.
You are right, in that most of us work, own cars, drive cars, pay taxes, raise kids, worry
for our parents and grandparents, occasionally vote- and we still take the time
to attend Critical Mass. We are Miami's neighbors, relatives, coworkers
and sometimes you even see us at worship. During Critical Mass there are only
minor differences between those traveling slowly in cars and those
traveling slowly on bikes; some of us don’t believe roads are only for
cars- and this belief has been expressed among those city officials who have advocated for better bicycle facilities, and even the bike-mounted police who place themselves at a risk we are familiar with by working in traffic. The difficult balance between automotive traffic and self-propelled traffic is an issue that ought to be talked about more often, not just because of snarled traffic on a Friday night monthly.
While there are some riders whose rage matches motorists at opposing
ends of the right-of-way conflict, we tend to observe that their numbers are few. The humor and
frivolity you’ve pointed out in relation to Critical Mass, John, is also a tactic to circumvent and discourage anger.
This ridiculousness is not required of any driver or rider, but it’s
more fun than throwing up hands, blaring your horn, speeding,
tailgating, road rage... All of these behaviors play out more
often on the daily commute to work than during the once-a-month Critical Mass.
We'd like to point out that, although our website promotes bicycling events and provides information, we are not organizers for Friday's rides. We encourage participation in the spirit of community and bicycle advocacy, but take it upon ourselves to suggest proper roadway conduct and accommodation. Some of the unfortunate behavior that stigmatizes Critical Mass is unavoidable in a leaderless gathering- as in traffic, the more people placed in a group situation, the more individual personalities come out to demonstrate aggravating tendencies.
Should you be interested in learning about the background and justifications for Critical Mass, see 'We Are Traffic',
Thank you for addressing your concerns- we have heard them from many outlets, and take them seriously, as they are a reflection of the dialogue that needs to be established by all populations on our roadways.
SO would you all stop 'kwvetching' about this?
WOW, been gone for a while. Long hours and forced overtime will do that. But WOW. Chris you sir, are kinda a dI#k. I may be a police officer but I am also a human being. I came here and made my intentions quite clear. Communication and cross education. I am not "hiding behind" my badge. As I directed my Questions from an officers pov I thought i was being quite sincere. Furthermore, by explaing my pov I give my respondants a point of reference for my opinions. I am quite sure my opinions are not shared amongst all my fellows, but as I stated. If I can educate them thru the things that I have learned, perhaps I can sway them in a way that YOU cannot. They know me, they dont know you. You show yourself to be a fool. I suggest you keep your mouth shut. YOU will get your fellows arrested.
As for your comparison to 40-50 cars in a convoy, those vehs are still, regardless of their presence in a convoy, are still subject to traffic law. You might be supprised to know that many of those traffic laws apply to bicyclists too. Yes, you can get tickets too. Tickets for red lights, violation of right of way, stop signs, turn indication, yield.........this is my point. Violating the rules for the sake of making a political statement is understandable, doing it while looking like a mob, does not send the message you might be intending to send.
|A former member||
Sorry Chris, but John is right and you owe him an apology.
Police officers generally have a bad reputation.
This is undeserved, for two reasons.
First, I notice that the sort of criticism you offer is invariably issued in oblivion to the pressures and difficulties inherent to being a police officer [not to claim that I fully appreciate them]. Even a genuinely "bad" cop is clearly, whatever their faults, not a weakling or a coward.
Courage and strength are vital and fundamental human virtues.
But strength is not the same as power. And at the core problem is not the cop on the street, but the politicians and bureaucrats that write the laws that give them too much power, in the name of 'law and order", or "security".
The worst violators are the Pentagon, which regularly hands out high-tech military toys to municipal police for "free".
Of course, nothing is free. The price being a schism between the community's police force, and the people they are pledged to serve, as the federal government prepares to attack their only real enemy, the American people.
The eviction of Occupy Miami was a perfect example.
There were regular police officers on the scene. they could have handled the matter, perhaps with a little more personnel.
But no, this was a military, not a police action.
These people may think of themselves as "police officers", but this is a fraud; they are rather, soldiers.
John, thank you for recognizing that "Violating the rules for the sake of making a political statement is understandable..."
And after all, you have some discretion as to enforcement.
Indeed, CM is fundamentally a political statement...
It is not, however, addressed to the authorities in this case, but rather to the general-motor vehicle-operating public.
The authorities are really caught in the middle here.
We still, despite our efforts and yours, face an uphill battle.
We cannot win the motorists over to seeing us as peers by hiding behind a police car; we must first show them that despite their clearly superior power, we have the strength to stand up to them.
And that, John, will require that those in a position of authority exercise the wisdom to stand aside, barring out-right violence, and allow the situation to evolve...
Edited by User 2,312,075 on Jun 29, 2012 3:26 AM