Monday, June 27, 2011

Los Angeles Critical Mass June 2011


After a terrible incident that sent nearly a dozen cyclists to the hospital, the June edition of Los Angeles Critical Mass was a much needed affirmation of cyclists' right to the road, as well as the support of law enforcement.


During the ride, an estimated 1000 cyclists were escorted by a squardron of smiling and supportive police officers on a 26 mile route throughout Los Angeles.


However, when collisions occur involving cyclists and motorists, it seems a separate police force arrives with the assumption the cyclist must somehow be at fault. With seemingly strong laws on the books, too many times we see perpetrators either charged with minor offenses or not charged at all, while cyclists lay in hospital beds with life threatening injuries.


People continue to debate the value of Critical Mass, with some believing that the disruption and delays give motorists a negative view of cyclists. Others argue that is exactly what is needed, for motorists to understand that we are not blocking traffic, we are traffic.


Los Angeles cyclists also debate whether the involvement of the LAPD has fundamentally changed the nature of the ride. Certainly, there are now less negative interactions with angry motorists. And the ride no longer performs acts of defiance such as the circle of death.


Also, the ride sticks mostly to larger streets, has fewer turns and sticks to a set route. All that said, I left the ride believing that Critical Mass is a positive force for change in perception of law enforcement and the greater community.


Note: For cyclists eager for a more authentic mass experience, try checking out the Santa Monica Critical Mass, which meets the first friday of every month. The ride numbers in the dozens of riders, not hundreds. Also, check the Midnight Ridazz calendar of group rides happening throughout Los Angeles. There's one nearly every night of the week, with different themes and flavors.

1 comment:

Ross Hirsch said...

Great pix, good write-up.