[*BCM*] Critical Mass in Boston - April 2008

E O Altman transmogrifer200 at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 27 11:24:49 EDT 2008

Dear fellow riders:
I have ridden in Critical Mass Rides in other cities.

I have circumnavigated the world on a bike (see www.new-millennium-ride.org).

I am an advocate for biking and sharing the road: sharing the road with motorized vehicles, pedestrians, ox-carts, camels, etc.  I ride 250 to 300 miles a week.  I usually get in one century a week, often two.  I spend a lot of time biking and, obviously, many hours on our city streets and country roads.
Last Friday I joined Greater Boston Cycling/Outdoor Fitness Group and several hundred other bicyclists on Boston's April 2008 Critical Mass Ride.
Critical Mass is not about usurping the peace and disrupting the laws of the road.  It is about making a statement: there are a lot of bicyclists out there and once a month we get together to ride through our city streets.  Ours is a parade to celebrate bicycles and bicycling.  We want drivers and pedestrians to see us.  We want to affirm that we too have a right to use the roads.  We must demonstrate that we can do so in a civil manner.  We can cheer and smile.  We can have a good time.  We can make it pleasant for those who are being briefly inconvenienced by our parade.
I was amazed at the hooliganism that was displayed during Friday night's ride.  No wonder automobile drivers get pissed off at bikers. 
Once the flow starts through an intersection, it is a good idea to station sentries on the cross streets to let the parade pass.  It is not a good idea to race to the front of a queue of vehicles waiting at a red light and then block their "escape ahead of the parade" when the light changes.  It is also poor show to push into an intersection when the light is red and traffic is already moving on the cross street.    When the lead riders reach a red light they should wait for the light to change before letting the parade move forward.  It is also very rude and dangerous to ride in the on-coming traffic lane or to bounce on and off the sidewalks.   We have to show we can ride responsibly.  We should not resemble a plague of locusts swarming through the town. On Friday we did.  
Critical Mass is an opportunity to show the world that “bikes on our roads” is something worth tolerating, that it is a good idea.
Everett Briggs

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