Sunday, March 30, 2008

Critical mass turnout- but a success? I don't think so.

I was going to attend Friday's Critical Mass but wasn't able to because my bike is in the shop. Today, however, I came across a post on PDD with a recap and much back-and-forth commenting from the Duluth public.
Here's my two cents...
I know what a critical mass is supposed to do. Gain awareness for cyclist by shear force in numbers. I was going to go because I think it's a noble cause, bringing attention to Duluth about the fact that cyclists are here and we sometimes do not get the respect we should on the roads. I had envisioned a group of people (70+ showed up, I was thinking less then 10 would this early in the season) riding down superior st. taking up one whole lane, riding legally, just forming a massive line of people. However, reading the post online stated otherwise. From the sounds of it, the intent was to, according to "Zoyx", "piss people off, in order to garner attention, and perhaps change the overall social behavior."
Well, I bet you got your wish Zoyx. I'm sure a lot of people were pissed off and you got their attention, and next time they see a cyclist, I bet you that you are the first thing that will come to their mind. It's no wonder why motorists hate us, sorry, but it's an attitude like yours that pushes back any advance between car and bike co-existence.

On a more positive note, I read that some will be running a critical manners ride. I'm ALL for that and will help if need me, just let me know.

To the cars that had to deal with this- an "I'm sorry" from those of us that don't feel the same as those like Zoyx.


bikingbrady said...

I don't see Vermillion, SD ever doing a "critical anything" ride. I see the purpose, but like you, do not understand the need to upset motorists more than they already are. That is not, nor should ever be, the purpose of these rides.

I'm as fanatical as anybody when it comes to biking, but there's a right way and a wrong way to promote awareness. Critical mass is not necessarily the right way IMHO.

Bob said...

Most of the DA's that participate in these type of events are just there for the attention, not the cause. So the cause suffers. And so the sterotype of the knuckle-headed bike rider advances. It seems a lot of these critical mass type events end up with some form of confrontation, which is never good for the average rider.

Zachary said...

Why not try attending a "critical mass" ride before making a comment as to how effective the action is? I attended the ride and was totally inspired by the amount of folks that showed up to make their positive voice heard in the community. I rode with the group for well over an hour and never once did any drivers of autos ever make any comment or express anger at what we were doing. In fact, many folks actually cheered at us in support as they drove by or passed us. Critical mass is certainly a form of peaceful protest. Taking on an apathetic attitude towards spreading awareness about the fact that bicycles are everywhere on the road is definitely not the answer and I would encourage all of the negative comments by folks on this blog to offer better ideas other than complaining about those who are actually doing something to show that cyclists do have legally protected rights on the roads of Duluth. The Duluth police even gave us an escort toward the end of the ride. Seeing that many bikes on the road (between 35-50 of us) at one time for once made me feel like I am not alone in my stand against fossil fuel oriented transport and I will continue to stand up for what I believe in because my bicycle is not just a piece of occasional recreational equipment, but my actual chosen form of transportation. In the future please do your best not to judge something based on one idiots point of view.

Biking Duluth said...

Zachary, let me address your comments.

First, I did not comment as to the effectiveness of the CM, I commented on the reasoning of some like Zoyx, as to their view of "how" a cm should be run.

Second, I'm sure there was a lot of positive response from the public also, but does that mean that it's still ok to behave like anarchists? I think not.

Third, I have done two things to help the riders of Duluth, can you say the same? I've been to one of the Bike / Walk group meetings from DATA and plan to go to more and I commute by bike nearly EVERY day, rain, snow, shine- I am doing, every day I am doing... And I am planning a program to get helmet safety into schools and to try to get kids (and more so, their parents) to understand how to bike safely and why. Somehow breaking the law and "piss(ing) people off, in order to garner attention, and perhaps change the overall social behavior." doesn't fit too well with my goals.

Fourth, I don't think they "gave you an escort". They made way for you so you could be safe, rather then try to break it up or leave you on your own- I'd thank them if you haven't already done so. P.S. That's another thing I do for you. Yes, you... I am a volunteer Police Reserve, yet again, helping my community legally and lawfully.

Fifth, I too dislike the use of gas- just today a lady let her minivan idle away in park for 15 minutes waiting for her daughter to get done with Dance (if you read this- come on, turn it off...) and want to promote the use of bikes.

Lastly, my judgment was more of the person, not as much the event. You let me know next time you'll be having a critical mass that obeys the laws were TRYING TO PROMOTE, and I'll be there with bells on. Until then, I don't think you have a leg to stand on. Sorry.