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Invitation to Critical Massholes to Defend Antisocial Behavior

On past rides a handful of cyclists with apparent infantile disorders have aggressively provoked confrontations with motorists, mass transit users and pedestrians. The following is a partial list of such actions. Advocates of such behavior have this opportunity to explain logically why such practices are tactically prudent.
On past rides a handful of cyclists with apparent infantile disorders have aggressively provoked confrontations with motorists, mass transit users and pedestrians. The following is a partial list of such actions. Advocates of such behavior have this opportunity to explain logically why such practices are tactically prudent. Please use logic in your response, refraining from such emotional arguments as "cars are killing the planet!". Be clear and concise if possible. Have fun.

1.Riding headlong into oncoming traffic.

While at first, this appears to be nothing more than aggro kids showing their friends how brave they are, on closer inspection it still appears to be that.

2.Swamping cars, then pounding on them because they are in the way.

Ah, this one is classic. Like grabbing your little brothers wrist and hitting his head with his hand while asking repeatedly "Why are you hitting yourself?"

3.Blocking busses or MAX

More of the "2 wheels good - 4 wheels bad" philosophy?

4.Swamping pedestrians in crosswalk

What can I say?
More 24.Sep.2002 10:57

taxpayer

Let's not forget that all this joy takes place during a time when the average, hard-working, taxpayer is simply trying to get home to enjoy his or her family. Whose streets? MY streets. Paid for with MY property taxes and MY gas taxes. Share the road already.

Laws??? 24.Sep.2002 11:18

Snaggeltooth

Thr tyranny of the automobile is the real crime. How much land has been decimated for roads and parking lots? Cars, cars, cars, like you have some god given right to dive, drive, drive. Tell the fools to get out of there autos and join us. Laws are for suckers and pig-lovers, not for autonomous, free and wild people. Down with cars and all the pollution, wars, laws and wasted space... Up with Bikes, Love and Revolution!!!

C-Ya in the street...

that's beside the point, taxpayer 24.Sep.2002 11:20

icbinb

Keep it on topic, taxpayer. Cars and motorists certainly are doing their fair share of damage to the world. Gas taxes are nowhere near as high as they should be. While I don't support of picking out individuals for abuse during the ride, don't misunderstand this to mean that motorists are innocent. The Critical Mass is also composed of hardworking taxpayers who are tired of air pollution, global warming, wars for oil, highway deaths, drunk drivers, road rage, water pollution, noise pollution and automotive arrogance. Did I leave anything out?

*Our* Roads 24.Sep.2002 13:17

Gollum

The roads are *our* roads, motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. We all pay for them through property taxes (renters pay property taxes indirectly through their rent, but they pay them).

Gas taxes do not pay for the building of roads, they pay for their maintenance and repair. Unlike cars and trucks, bikes cause virtually zero damage to roads. Therefore, it's appropriate that motorists pay for the maintenance through fuel and weight-mile taxes.

Roads are the arteries of industrial genocide 24.Sep.2002 14:54

Osama been Bikin'

A few points:
Capitalism depends on open roads to function. Whenever some genocidal asshole wants to subjagate and exterminate a group of people, or "develop" an ecosystem out of existence, one of the first things they do it build a road or a railroad (notice it has the word "road in it"). The automobile is central to genocidal industrial capitalism - without it, our economy could not function (a good thing in the long run, I would argue). That is the reason that in the global south (also erroneuosly refered to as the "third world"), notably in South America over the last few years, when the people go on general strike in protest of government policy they blockade all the major highways. Most demonstrative tactics in fact involve disrupting the capitalist economy by blocking roads in some way. We're sorry that the insuing gridlock made you late for your "King of the Hill" re-run, but we've got a planet to save and it's going to mean inconvenience for some people, especially since it's the whole culture of consumerist, over-consumptive convience that's destroying the planet in the first place and therefore needs to be destroyed itself if survival is on the agenda. Protest turns the streets into a festival celebrating life as opposed to an artery for the economy that's slowly killing us all. I'd rather die living than continue to live dying.

Going against the direction of traffic, especially on one way streets is a damn good way to ditch riot cops.

Some Critical Massers have been known to retaliate against people who have proven that they are incapable of driving safely in the proximity of groups of people on bikes, usually by slashing tires. (Not all CMers agree with that sort of tactic) CMers do not go out and attack working class people for kicks as some seem to think. It's more a matter of self-defense. People get aggro in their cars and have tried to run people over before. This sort of behaivor (hey, it's a bunch of people on bikes, I think I'll drive straight into them because I'm an impatient asshole) is totally irrational and dangerous, and seems to happen at least once every time there's a critical mass. Look, it's this simple: if your driving style endangers other our lives, then we are going to temporarily revoke your driving priveleges.

Swamping pedestrains at crosswalks? No more than cars do. Less dangerous to get hit by a bike.

Share the road? Look buddy, obviously you don't have any fucking clue what it's like to ride bikes surrounded by cars that haven't been taught how to share the road like they do in the global south, where "Critical Mass" would be the ordinary morning commute. I've lost count how many times I've been nearly killed by some reckless driver only to have him yell at me 'cause he had to hit the brakes for a second or two. The fact that cars are inherently dangerous (and ugly, and smelly) and encourage social isolation leading to road rage seems to be something that the bike riders all understand, but the car folks are oblivious to. Critical Mass is about (in addition to the whole protesting of cars=capitalism=oil=war=genocide=environmental catastrophy, etc, etc) teaching YOU to share the road.

Dangerous cyclists 24.Sep.2002 16:31

up yours

Number of times I've almost gotten run over by an automobile: too many to count

Number of times I've almost gotten run over by a bicycle: 0

Get out of your cave, Osama 24.Sep.2002 16:48

Jack Stone

Hey Osama been smokin, do you recycle your tires? Your inner tubes? What do you use to OIL your chain? Vegetable oil? Im sure they used an aerosol paint to paint that bike didnt they? How about that seat? Foam rubber? Silicone? Is that PLASTIC that coats your brake cables and your shifter? Oh my GOD, are those brake pads made of RUBBER? Is that a plastic stem cap? How do you fill your tires? with a pump that has a PLASTIC handle and uses a petroleum based lubricant? or do you use a "fully recyclable" air compressor!! How about a patch for that flat? Is it rubber? And the glue? All very environmentally friendly Im sure. I would go on about the PLASTIC reflectors, but Im sure your P.O.S. bike doesnt have 'em. Hmmm how about those shoes your wearing, does the term "sweat shop" ring a bell? I know you dont wear a helmut, but dont they use polystyrene? All very Green, all VERY green. It must be great to be a "saint of the earth" like yourself.

Give me a FREAKIN break. Its just an excuse for you to taunt the police and people that drive cars. You will break the law and then post an article on Indy Media about how you were brutalized by a cop. You and people like you are hypocrites. Plain and simple. You are no better than the bible thumpers who stand on the street corner and shove jesus propoganda in our faces. You like to ride bikes? Good for you, but I dont give a shit. You run red lights, go down the street the wrong way, ride on the sidewalks, break every frickin traffic law you can and then piss and moan about automobile arrogance??? You thump on cars and in some cases slash tires to "revoke driving privileges" in protest of road rage? You blow air horns, crank boom boxes, ring bells, yell and scream because you dont like noise pollution?

Its a good thing you dont protest cardboard, otherwise you would burn your own damn house down.

Can I Join the Pissing Match? 24.Sep.2002 17:45

Recovering Car Addict

Bike riders subsidize car drivers, with everything from federal income taxes down to the cells in their lungs, NOT the other way around.

IF car drivers kept their vehicles even half-maintained the solid waste (discarded parts, and finally the chassis and engine) still generated would be comparable to what? 1000 bicycles? Add the gazillion pounds of emissions and the heavy metals from fuel and batteries and, well...duh!

As for reckless lawbreaking, I used to participate in a dangerous group of car enthusiasts who regualrly broke traffic rules, who each endangered the lives of hundreds of others during every "event," who willfully blocked off major transport routes on a regular basis preventing both mass transit and emergency vehichles from getting through. We called oursleves "commuters," and we got off scott free 99.99% of the time. ZERO times were any of us beaten ZERO times were any of us attacked with chemical weapons. ZERO arrests. ZERO files kept on us and shared with intelligence agencies around the country. Occasionally a nuisance fee. WHO'S the hypocrite Jack?

Dear Jack, 24.Sep.2002 18:10

Heck

Jack,
So what's the deal here? Any time somebody breaks a law it's look at thier infintile rage? Cause I break the law all the time and see nothing infintile about it. I do it with the same degree of convition that many resist war.
As far as I'm concerned law and government embodies war. When I'm on the road and there arn't cars around I ride wherever I please. Thats empowering. As a tradesman I'm required to carry heavy tools and occasionally travel long distances. I drive my work truck. I share my work truck with friends and family. Thats why I got it. When I ride the mass I and many other corkers do our best to give cars a way out. You talk about trains and busses- but I expressly remember most of the folks at last mass asking others to make way for trains and the like. Of course bikes are made from non renueable resources- but to what degree? It hardly compares with the the resource drain expressed by auto culture. Does it?
I hear some idiots out there target folks for bieng veg. These people should goto the peoples farmers market- see the many cylcists drawn to fresh LOCAL produce- and watch as thier argument falls to the wayside. I don't know where these people are from- but most people I know buy local and buy organic- when they arn't growing, or dumpstering it themselves. Yes militant anarchists desire sustainable culture. (We eat your trash for hecks sake!)I feel that Do It Yourself has always been a strong idea element in our culture. Increasingly it's becoming a driving force behind this and many resistance cultures. Do we recycle bike tires? Yes, My belt is a bike tire cut in half fastened with thread, and a surplus buckle. Lots of people use them to tie shit to thier packs. Different folks with diverse ideas, fighting a common struggle for a better way.

what a thought,
heck

pay attention when you read 24.Sep.2002 18:35

Jack Stone

I did not make any claims that cars were better than bikes. I did not make any claims that cars were less damaging to the environment than bikes. I did not make any claims that commuters in vehicles were any better than commuters on bikes. In fact, I did not make any hypocritical statements at all. I was simply trying to knock Osama down a notch off of his high horse because he/she advocates starting fires to protest fires. (The previous statement is an analogy for those who take themselves too seriously).

My statement is simple, if you love bikes, good for you. I dont give a shit. Its no different than Mormons knocking on your door to promote THEIR religion. (see the key here is the uninvited element) If you massers are so elite on saving the earth than why dont you all get off your bikes (which, by the way, are not environmentally PURE) and WALK!! Or run around in electric vehicles, or on skates or (?) Why are bikes so elite? Why does Osama advocate slashing tires? Thumping on cars? hitting people in cross walks? (after all its less damaging than getting hit by an automobile according to Osama)

Where did I become a hypocrite?

What the HECK? 24.Sep.2002 18:49

Jack Stone

What? I made no mention of max trains and busses. I made no mention of infitlie rage. I did mention recycling bike tires and Im so glad to hear you use 1 inner tube as a fancy belt.

What I am saying is that the satements made by OSAMA are largely hypocritical.

Geez.

What was the question? 24.Sep.2002 21:16

Curmudgeon

How many fucking roads do you think there would be without any fucking cars?

to all the buttmuches 24.Sep.2002 21:24

taxpayer

words words words....whine whine whine....yea right, we'll ride bikes in the snow....we'll ride bikes in the rain....we'll ride bikes at night and pretend we're not insane!

I ride a bike every damn day at work and dodge dumbass drivers coming out of their driveway. I also know better than to throw the baby out with the bath water. Cars may not always run on fossil fuel, maybe someday they will run on green eggs and ham, but until that day comes, we all must do what we can. Ride your bike. Drive your truck. Live your truth but don't presume you can fuck, with me or my right to choose. Next thing I know you will want me to lose the gun I carry inside my boots.

Buttmunchers 24.Sep.2002 21:31

taxpayer...not freeloading renter

words words words....whine whine whine....yea right, we'll ride bikes in the snow....we'll ride bikes in the rain....we'll ride bikes at night and pretend we're not insane!

I ride a bike every damn day at work and dodge dumbass drivers coming out of their driveway. I also know better than to throw the baby out with the bath water. Cars may not always run on fossil fuel, maybe someday they will run on green eggs and ham, but until that day comes, we all just do what we can. Ride your bike. Drive your truck. Live your truth but don't presume you can fuck, with me or my right to choose. Next thing I know you will want me to lose the gun I carry inside my boots, the Jack I drink to get loose, or the cable I watch with Ruth.

bike vs walk (for Jack) 24.Sep.2002 21:57

like you care!

Jack, on a level surface, the bicycle is the most efficient mode of transportation known to humanity--more efficient than walking. Big picture: it makes no sense to criticize people for biking instead of walking because they are both very green. Driving, however, takes vast amounts of energy. Driving is the single most polluting thing most people do. And for many folks driving burns more energy than all of the energy used in a home. I still drive, but I am trying to break the habit. Our oil addiction is really shafting the world and many innocents.

Curmudgeon, roads predate the automobile by many hundreds of years, and, in the cities (and in many cases between cities), they were level enough for bicycles. To say that we owe our infrastructure to automobiles is, therefore, not entirely true. We would have fewer roads without the auto, but enough for bicycles to get around in cities the size of Portland.

Still, I hope for a day when our energy comes from renewable resources and we can play on the computer without harming Momma Nature as much.

Don't tread on us- jack 24.Sep.2002 21:59

Heck

Osama been biking>
Some Critical Massers have been known to retaliate against people who have proven that they are incapable of driving safely in the proximity of groups of people on bikes, usually by slashing tires. (Not all CMers agree with that sort of tactic) CMers do not go out and attack working class people for kicks as some seem to think. It's more a matter of self-defense. People get aggro in their cars and have tried to run people over before. This sort of behaivor (hey, it's a bunch of people on bikes, I think I'll drive straight into them because I'm an impatient asshole) is totally irrational and dangerous, and seems to happen at least once every time there's a critical mass. Look, it's this simple: if your driving style endangers other our lives, then we are going to temporarily revoke your driving priveleges.

Jack>
I was simply trying to knock Osama down a notch off of his high horse because he/she advocates starting fires to protest fires.

I was fifteen, riding from Oregon city to NE Portland- when some bastard in a big blue truck drove up behind me rode up on me, and drove me up on the curb screaming get off the road faggot. He was driving on the sidewalk trying to chase me down when I ducked into to a sidestreet narrowly avoiding bieng ran over. I continued my ride. This guy and his friend drove around the block and came back for seconds. He rode up along me screaming hate, and I told him I had just as much right to ride these streets as he did. He rode off laughing, apperantly feeling some moral victory.
I was fifteen I believed that if I became a stronger man, and wasn't so afraid, I could be as free as anyone else in this country. Ten years and many masses later, I've seen and had a few bastards armed with a lethal auto try to take my people down. I bear more ill will to those that turn a blind eye to this, than I do to those who act to defend the mass. You wanna support butters blanket lies, and act like a peace cop?

Butter>
On past rides a handful of cyclists with apparent infantile disorders have aggressively provoked confrontations with motorists, mass transit users and pedestrians. The following is a partial list of such actions. Advocates of such behavior have this opportunity to explain logically why such practices are tactically prudent.

Osama>
Swamping pedestrains at crosswalks? No more than cars do. Less dangerous to get hit by a bike.

You'd like to paint this "Osama" as a person that advocates "aggressivly provoking confrontations with pedestrians" your words "hitting people in cross walks?"
When they never said that- and you balk at bieng treated like a hipocrite? You twist thier words, and your only justification is that they millitantly defend thier community? Oh! "fight fire with fire!"

and as a matter of fact no- I use bike tires for everything I can think of. I'm involved in trying to organize a community support network for Anarchists- and have designed a easy to make protest drum that uses croped shattered water jugs and bike tires for straps- we've got about 25. We got drumsticks and a peicemeal drumset thats been converted for use as a marching drum set. If folks support direct action, and you be anachists, contact your A.C.T. fund at  circleacsn@yahoo.com to check the kit out.

Bring the war home,
heck

Heck...relax 24.Sep.2002 22:17

butter

You claim I wrote "blanket lies". I have ridden Critical Mass for years now. I have ridden in midwinter with ten other people. I have likely done more to promote CM in Portland than you ever cared to. What I wrote I have seen personally and disagree with. If you deny that these things occur, then you have either never ridden, or are a liar yourself.

Apart from that though, so far your posts have been the most intelligent in this string. Please keep it up.

Take my People down? *sniff*sniff* 25.Sep.2002 00:11

Jack Stone

i was fifteen and someone called me a fag? Oh, paleez!

"Ten years and many masses later, I've seen and had a few bastards armed with a lethal auto try to take my people down. I bear more ill will to those that turn a blind eye to this, than I do to those who act to defend the mass. You wanna support butters blanket lies, and act like a peace cop?"

Well, I wasnt down on bikes when I started this dialogue, but now your forcing me to go there. I have news for you folks, there are plenty of asshole bicycle riders out there too, every day. They dont follow the rules of traffic, they illegaly pass on my left when Im taking a left (with my blinker on) and get pissed at me. They run red lights, they use the sidewalks, they lean their bikes up against buildings and chain them on stairwells etc. and think they are above the law. I have had them call me names too. (although I havent had the good fortune of being called a faggot such as you have). But I dont gather my car lovin buddies and start driving the wrong way down streets or intentionally going slow with them to jam up traffic on purpose.

My point is; good for you, you are a bike rider, SO WHAT?

I am not misconstruing Osamas message, it is quite clear. All I am saying is you guys are hypocrites. Lets all rage to protest rage. (obviously I am not speaking of all bikers or all massers). You say bikes are better because they are not AS BAD as cars. Oh, I get it, its the lesser of two evils. If I kill 3 people and you kill four I am a better person. (again with the analogy) Osama speaks about going the wrong way is the best way to ditch riot police. DONT GIVE THEM A REASON, the original point of Butters posting in the first place.

(Way to go with the drums Heck, that is real meaningful to the world, Heck made a drum set for protesting. Live large bud and keep those goals high.)

As far as being a peace cop......I'll think about that one, after all I do advocate peace. I also advocate mutual respect, but Im really against people forcing their agenda on others, much like you hate others forcing their agenda on you. And I am even more against people who justify breaking the law because they think their cause is greater than the law, blah blah..rosa parks, boston tea party, blah, blah..trying to run down "my People" gag, choke... I pose a challenge for you guys to follow all the laws of traffic next time so you can stop your whining about the cops. Arm yourselves with video cameras and settle the debate once and for all. Dont give the cops a reason and see what happens, if a cop comes running out in the street and pepper sprays you and your baby while your waiting for a light to change, then you get it on film and become a millionaire martyr. But until then the pictures on this web site do not provide good journalism for the "brutality" argument. They also show cops handing out citations in a peaceful manner. It makes me wonder what the people did who were being cuffed???? (you think they didnt obey when told to move or something?) nahhh.

double standard 25.Sep.2002 10:43

Dave

Why is it that when I'm in my truck I can stop to make a left turn and bring traffic to a total standstill in my lane while motorists behind me accept this as part of driving, but if I even slow them down a little bit on my bicycle I'm treated with utter contempt?

no use in flouting the law 25.Sep.2002 13:40

anon

Just prefatory:
I haven't been to Portland Critical Mass. But I've been to Critical Mass in other cities many times. I don't know what the real state of affairs is there, but this is just a statement of my general position.

I despise cars as much as anyone. I haven't driven one in years. I get around exclusively by bike. I commute 20 miles to work routinely. I agree cars are wrecking our one and only planet. But I usually obey the traffic laws. And during Critical Mass, I consider it all the more reason to obey the traffic laws. Why? Because:

1) No need to give motorists or cops another reason to attack you. They're pissed off enough at just the thought of having to share the road with human-powered vehicles. Why give them a pretext to be more pissed off?

2) If you've got Critical Mass regularly attracting the better part of a thousand riders, then you really ARE the predominant traffic on that section of the road. You can legally take all the lanes. You can go at any leisurely speed. That's the law. (The law requires vehicles moving slower than the PREVAILING speed of traffic to keep to the right. Obviously this doesn't apply to a sufficiently large Critical Mass.)

3) Motorism is not going to end because you piss the motorists off so much they fear and hate you. Motorism will end when motorists think it's less appealing than something else. If Critical Mass is a celebratory and friendly affair, motorists will be a lot more likely to want to abandon their stifling little mobile prison cells and join it, than if they perceive it as a gang of angry cyclists gunning for them.

Bottom line: if you're going to Critical Mass to vent your spleen, you should rethink it. You're only gratifying your own urge to indulge in a temper tantrum. You're not helping the cause of a humane and peaceful future without autos. Find a different way to channel your anger energy. I don't want to ride with you if you're coming at things with this kind of aggression.

Mass Is Not About Flouting The Law 27.Sep.2002 13:53

Masser 197436

The commentary is thick with the common misconceptions about Critical Mass. Like it or not, CM is a protected first amendment event. It's not about flouting traffic laws: riding en masse is simply safer for cyclists participating in this cycling celebration. No freedom-loving American would suggest that people do not have the right to assemble and march in the streets; assembling and bicycling is simply another form of protected free speech.

Thanks to the corporate media and PJTTF (COINTELPRO) hate propaganda aimed at Critical Mass, the event is scapegoated for allegedly causing traffic jams. You know what? It only happens once a month, for a couple of hours, and can be easily avoided just like the traffic going to any sporting event or stadium.

Just one question for all those CM bashers out there. Do you scold your friends who cause bigger traffic jams commuting alone the other 30 days of the month?

When you see a lone cyclist, or a Critical Mass of them pass by, consider the thousands of extra cars that would be in your way every day, polluting the air, slowing you down. Then give them a wave or a big "Thank You!" for reducing traffic and pollution EVERY day.