Critical Mass bike rides - cool or stupid?

On the last Friday of every month, thousands of bikers would take to the streets here in San Francisco, and various other cities, and ride around downtown for a while. Streets would be blocked off and traffic brought to a halt as the bikers swarm through.

What do you think about this?

I went to college at UC Davis, a huge biking community and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Then when I came back to San Francisco and got stuck downtown one Friday because of the traffic jams caused by the bikers, I thought how kind of pointless the whole thing is. It pisses off drivers and dares them to confront bikers. Granted, I’ve never been in one in the city so maybe there’s some mystical biker vibe I’m missing or whatever, but it still seems kind of rude.

It sounds like these are scheduled events. Drivers, while most think they own the road, really don’t have a right to bitch when they could have easily taken an alternate route. I’m certain that the City won’t cut off access to critical thoroughfares.

–Ruby, persona non-biker

IME, it’s not the city blocking the roads, it’s the bikers themselves.

CM riders deliberately flout traffic laws and good riding practices; essentially, they’re deliberately being assholes and are counting on swarm behavior to let them get away with it.

Unless its pre planned and WELL announced, my vote is big jerks.

FWIW, here’s a Pit thread regarding CM I started a while back.

As a person who use to commute to work on a bike I say they are asses.

When I was ridding over 90% of bike ridders ride like the rules of the road (viechle code) does not apply to them. They ride dangerously and then complain when a car almost hits them.

Look at the riders on the news. the repoters never mention it but when they show critical mass ridding most are ridding against the law. I wish the poilce would give out mass tickets.

I go for parade of idiotic assholes.

There’s riding your bike, and then people riding bikes in packs. The latter are a danger to themselves and others. Unless it’s planned, or on a staged course, it’s stupid.

This would be my vote as well.
R-a-B – non biker, non driver

Well, is this planned, like a parade, or do the bikers just arrive and start blocking traffic? If it’s planned ahead of time like the parades & street fairs here in NYC, then I don’t have a problem with it, but if it’s just some group that decided to block traffic then yeah, they’re assholes.

I hate them. I can’t stand bicyclists or motorists who can’t follow the rules and share the road.

It’s more like the latter, although the date and time is known. The organization is very loose. Sometimes flyers will be passed out indicating proposed routes; other times some guy will just shout, “Hey, let’s go this way!” The city has no advance knowledge of the route(s) the cyclists will take, and whatever route they take, they try to block and inconvenience auto drivers as much as possible.

There was a famous case from a few years ago when a mother from the suburbs with a couple of kids was caught in the middle of it. A few cyclists started banging on her car. It ended in violence.

In that case, yeah, assholes.

I’ve observed many of these CM events and my impression is that the participants were actually pleased and even reveled at causing inconvenience to motorists, probably as payback for the perceived inconvenience that motorists caused them on all other days. To me, CM is just a big PITA.

The problem, of course, is where there is no alternative route. I don’t have a car and I don’t cycle. But I do use public transport and I’ve been delayed on a number of occasions by these morons.

It does nothing to improve people’s views of cyclists, or promote cycling as an alternative means of transport. And it’s just so childish.

They are cycling trolls. They are Rick Brittans who think they are being right on and cool by giving the finger to the cycling squares. They kid themselves they have a cogent agenda and are making a useful and valid point but it’s just an excuse to be assholes while feeling self important and righteous.

And I say all that as someone who commutes by bike and has done so for decades.

I’d heard of CM, but had never seen them in action until i moved to San Diego. Now, their rides often take them right by our place.

If the purpose of these rides was to ride within the law, to obey traffic rules and regulations, and to simply show that cars should share the road with bikes, i would be a huge supporter. Even if they slowed traffic in doing this, i would still support them as long as they were riding within the law.

But it’s become very clear to me, watching them, that a lot of these people are huge assholes whose one and only purpose is to cause as much inconvenience as possible just because they can. They ride in and out of traffic, purposely cross to the wrong side of the road right in front of oncoming cars, and generally make complete fucking idiots of themselves.

Not only that, but they also apparently have no time or consideration for pedestrians either, and make no effort to stop and let people cross the street.

Their purpose is not to educate people about sharing the road. Their purpose is not to advance the cause of biking as exercise. Their purpose is not to raise awareness about alternative forms of transportation. Their purpose is merely to engage in a monthly session of organized bullying.

Biking is great. Commuting by bike is great. Most bicyclists are great.

Critical Mass are assholes.

The last ride they did in Seattle they were all naked. Lots of pixelated images on the news.

Agree. I commute by bike and I really hate these militant idiots stirring up ill-feeling. They just cause anyone on a bike to get labelled as a weirdo and make drivers less likely to be considerate.