these days we're being corralled into one lane and kept there, split up into a dozen little groups, and left unable to offer solidarity to riders detained by police. i got a 175 dollar ticket, as did many others, supposedly for not stopping at a red light (witnesses were adament that in fact i hadn't run any red lights, and i was stopped past an intersection where there was no light at all.) and by the time i was free again the ride was long gone. the city has realized that this is all indeed a wonderful strategy of harassment, and is hoping, you can bet, that more and more of us become demoralized and stay home. this sort of thing seems to go in cycles (no pun intended), and i think it's high time that we turn this one around in our favor.
numerous friends of mine who used to ride regularly have given up on it because it's NO FUN and infuriating. i can't blame them, and i'm thinking about reluctantly joining them.
i propose that next month we start out by going west on burnside riding close together very slowly and simply refuse to move into one lane. yes, there will be some conflict and some arrests (hopefully with serious difficulty/consequences for the ppd), and maybe the cops will simply shut it down with brute force. but at least it will be highly visible immediately to pedestrians up around powells, and hopefully folks with video will be waiting around there for us. the power of a multitude of people refusing to obey orders in the initial stages of the ride should not be underestimated. once they have us effectively controlled it's just impossible to break out of it-- if we put THEM on the defensive initially, it becomes that much harder for them to control things.
i'd also like to suggest that if things do get violent, and/or the ride is severely inhibited, that we at least consider the option of taking over a major intersection (at least temporarily) in protest, and refusing to budge-- and SHOW SOLIDARITY with anyone who gets fucked with. hell, maybe we can embarrass kroeker enough that vera finally fires his ass. some of the cops reading this would probably appreciate that idea.
the bottom line is that we need to put the police and city back into a compromise position where they are forced to lay off of us (relatively, at least) again.
the original goal of crit mass was to TAKE OVER THE STREETS in a celebratory manner for a few hours each month in recognition of the magic of cycling and the insane domination and danger of the automobile. the authorities of this city need to be given a choice (til we get rid of them): let us sail joyfully through the city occupying all or most lanes--appropriate to the size of the ride of course--while corking at intersections and watching out for each other, or...
we resist and wreak havoc, causing much more in the way of disruption and media attention than the first option.
any thoughts, fellow riders?