View Full Version : Critical Mass: Peaceful Cyclists to Reclaim City Streets

TIME'S UP! (via Jym Dyer)
September 24th 04, 05:10 AM

Critical Mass: Peaceful Cyclists to Reclaim City Streets

(This is a press release from TIME'S UP! TIME'S UP! does not
lead or organize Critical Mass, though many of its volunteers
participate in, care about, and work to make it a positive

* Thousands of Peaceful Cyclists to Reclaim New York City
Streets Friday Evening in Monthly "Critical Mass" Ride

* Despite Hundreds of Arrests at August Ride, Bike Riders
Continue Time-Honored Tradition

NEW YORK (September 22, 2004) -- Manhattan's car-clogged streets
will be reclaimed by thousands of cyclists this Friday in the
boro's first Critical Mass since 264 cyclists were arrested on
the August 27 ride. Over 5,000 people participated in the August
ride, New York City's largest Critical Mass ever.

Cyclists, rollerbladers and skateboarders will gather
at 7:00 p.m. in Union Square on Friday, Sept. 24, for
their monthly group ride through the city to promote
environmentally-sustainable transportation and to raise
awareness about cyclists' rights.

Friday's Critical Mass comes just days after the Manhattan
D.A.'s office began releasing hundreds of bikes confiscated
during the Republican National Convention. Held for over three
weeks, the bikes of those arrested during the convention were
considered "arrest evidence" and warehoused in an NYPD facility
in Brooklyn. As of Tuesday, over 200 bikes were still being held
at the impound facility.

"The NYPD and city officials are absurdly trying to criminalize
large bicycle rides, while they should instead be promoting
bicycle riding to alleviate the massive amount of car traffic
and pollution in the city," said Matthew Roth, a regular
Critical Mass participant and volunteer with Time's Up!, an
environmental advocacy organization.

"If the police want to crack down on large, vehicular masses
that block the streets, they should arrest drivers coming out of
the Lincoln Tunnel every weekday morning. The city is choking on
cars, not bikes, and Mayor Bloomberg needs to have some rational
policies in place that reflect reality," Mr. Roth said.

He noted that Mayor Bloomberg had at first encouraged New
Yorkers to ride bikes to reduce traffic during the convention,
then later the mayor defended mass arrests of cyclists.

"This is a beautiful community event that people look to as a
positive reclamation of public space, not a criminal activity
that requires an invasive police crackdown," said Leah Rorvig,
another Critical Mass participant and Time's Up! volunteer.

Prior to August's Critical Mass, the NYPD had maintained a
minimal presence at the monthly rides. In fact, in previous
months police scooters had escorted the ride without

"New Yorkers have to deal with toxic levels of air and noise
pollution every day. For the city to criminalize an event that
promotes an environmentally sound form of transportation is
tragic," Ms. Rorvig said.

Started in San Francisco in 1992, Critical Mass rides now take
place monthly in almost 400 cities on six continents. Critical
Mass is an organic and self-sustaining event with no leaders and
no central organization. In every city that has a Critical Mass
ride, some local residents simply picked a date, time, and
location for the ride and publicized it, and thus the ride
was born.

WHAT: Critical Mass

WHEN: Ride participants will be available for comment at
6:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 24, 2004.
The ride begins at 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Press should meet on the stairs at Union Square North.
The ride begins at Union Square North and follows a route
determined by the riders as they go.

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