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Critical Massers Take Ross Island Bridge

"Who's Bridge?" "OUR BRIDGE!" That was our battle cry as about 15-20 Critical Massers rode in both west bound lanes of the Ross Island Bridge backing up traffic and pissing off a lot of motorists. It was all possible because of the absence of the Portland Police who decided shortly before, we took the bridge, to pack up and go home because there were to few of us left to follow around any longer. We showed them.
The ride started off pretty mellow tonight with about 100 riders, maybe even less. Everyone seemed a little bit low key and not as wild, except of course for the naked girl. The cops even seemed in very low numbers tonight. Once the ride started it even took the cops quite a few blocks before they even showed up. Maybe the season change put everyone in different mood but I just wasn't expecting much from this ride. After we got started we did the usual snaking around town and then over the Hawthorne Bridge. We continued up Hawthorne with no highlights except for the usual traffic citations. The ride at this point seemed at least nice and pleasant with a lot of people from the street showing their support. We then shot over to Powell and finally started causing a lot of traffic congestion as we headed back toward the city. As we got farther down Powell the Mass seemed to have broken up or maybe split up, I am not sure. I do know that I was in the front of the Mass and the remaining group of us, noticing that the cops had vanished, had decided we were going to go across the Ross Island Bridge. The excitement grew and we proceeded on our course yelling and screaming not knowing what to expect. We all stayed in a tight cluster because of our numbers but still made sure we took up a full lane. We got to the bridge and because it was dark you could tell that you were greatly out numbered by all the headlights that were all around you. As we started across the bridge, trying not to get hit, the energy of the Mass grew. Screaming and chanting "Who's Bridge?" "OUR BRIDGE!" Someone in the group yelled out "lets take both lanes". No one responded but someone decided to go out in between cars, then I followed with a few others and we again chanted "Who's Bridge?" "OUR BRIDGE!". We chanted loud and it meant something because we had taken the bridge even if it was only one direction. Right before we got off the bridge someone said to look back at all the cars we had backed up. I looked back and I felt as if I had won a battle, it felt like instead of riding my bike and being scared of the cars racing past me that the cars instead had to slow down and notice that they are not the only people on the streets. After the Ross Island Bridge we went across the Hawthorne bridge again and then went our separate ways.
If this sounds overly dramatic its because it was only my second Critical Mass ride but they both have been great. I hope all future rides are as exciting as this one and I hope a lot more people can join us. Remember next ride is the Halloween ride. Critical Mass meets the last Friday of the month downtown at the North Park Blocks. See you there.

I was there too 27.Sep.2003 03:54

Me

This was the first crictical mass I have ever been to, and damn was it fun... I was one of the people on skateboard. Unfortuanately I was unable to go the whole route and support the riders in solidarity the whole time. I have a couple of good pictures if anyone is interested. I'm from salem and I'd like to say to portlanders... thank you for being some damn radical (the one salem protest i was at took to the sidewalks) talke about boring. Maybe I'll get a bike next maybe not any mode of transportation other than car during critical mass is alright with me. I hope to come to it next time. I'll post pictures when I have time.
bug and bikes
bug and bikes

Roger 27.Sep.2003 10:13

purple punk

The last time I checked, the Zoobombers mostly took the Max to get to the top of the hill.

Anyway, I agree with much of your sentiment. It seems that the original Critical Mass was not intended to slow down traffic and piss off drivers, but instead to celebrate biking. Celebrating biking may mean slowing down traffic, but it's quite a bit different from deliberately slowing down traffic. I've yet to meet a Critical Masser who was convinced to stop driving by being pissed off at the Critical Massers.

All that being said, I welcome the diversity that CM brings to Portland and yes, the cops are sometimes excessively thuggish in dealing with them.

irritating? 27.Sep.2003 13:09

g bug

I agree with raising awareness for diversity, but have to wonder why pissing off motorists is such a hoot. You have no idea about who those people driving on the bridge are. Some are assholes for sure, but some are just ordinary folks like yourselves, trying to make a way in the world and have no choice but to use a car to get around. I have a handicap which prevents me from cycling, though I admire folks who do and applaud those who use a bike to reduce pollution. I have to do other work. Why do you think it is a good idea to piss off people anyway?

Why piss everyone off ??? 27.Sep.2003 14:01

mike h

I do not understand, why CM consistently wants to piss off motorists, and pick fights with the police.

Sure looks like the whole reason CM was formed, has been lost. By doing this, your not going to attract "family and children" to ride with you, as your whole point is confused.

Like the reader said above, you may be preventing a parent picking up their kids from somewhere, preventing an ambulance of police to get somewhere effectively in case of an emergency, or decent people, who may even SIDE with you about riding bikes, but need to use a car to get to where they need to go.

Critical Mass now, is very hypocritical, and your not making friends with anybody. I know of more people who ride bikes (including myself), who do NOT want to be associated with CM now at all, because of the "general" stance that CM has taken.

Maybe some of you should sit back and think what the real purpose of this was, because your not going to get people to support you, when you keep pretending that just because you ride a bike, that you are "holier than thou".

Maybe have rides that are organized, in safer places where families and kids can join, and have informational booths set up near parking garages and lots, to help educate drivers on the safety or driving where there are bike lanes present, and how to make themselves more aware of their surroundings. Things like this, would be MUCH more positive, and rewarding, that just going out trying to "pick fights" with the rest of society.

Critical Mass 27.Sep.2003 17:14

Free Wooky

A Bike Rider comments...

I was on the way home from painting all day, coming down Hawthorne Blvd driving my car. ( I am a painter, I have to move ladders, partners and paint to several sites on a daily basis/impossible to do with a bicycle). Critical Mass was coming from the opposite direction, as I was turning on to my street, with plenty of space and time between the group and my vehicle.

One rider saw me turning off, sprinted forward and tried to cut me off. I accelerated, and turned. He flipped me off, screaming curses etc. We had ample space between us as I stated.

Why would someone try to provoke a negative response like this? What does this do for bicyclist, safety issues and the like? What does it serve, how does it build support, and broaden community?

Not one bit.

Today, Ross Island Bridge. Tomorrow, the world! 27.Sep.2003 21:41

Sergeant Lemming

Aggressive.

Arrogant.

American.

Just the kind of buck we're looking for!

Stop in and see us next time you're passing by Lloyd Center. And bring your pals, too!

We have seats reserved for you on an all-expenses-paid one-way flight to Baghdad.

Sincerely,

Sgt. Lemming

United States Government Defense Dept Of Army Dept Of Army Recruiting Station
1317 NE Broadway
(503) 284-4005


That'll teach em!! 27.Sep.2003 22:22

Overtaxed

That will teach the PoPo for packing up and going home. Next time they'll know better, and say "Remember the Bridge!" when asked why they're cracking down harder than ever on CM rides.

Why? 27.Sep.2003 22:39

Rodney King

Why can't we just get along?

you punks! 27.Sep.2003 23:44

solid gold

jesus, why do you "bicycle people" have to ride your fucking bikes in the road?! why don't you all just get cars and TV's, like me and my friends! i can't believe the gall of you people to , *gasp* ride your bikes on the road! don't you know that slowed me in my car (carpool, whats that?) down at LEAST 2-3 MINUTES!!!!!! god, why are you people so angry at cars, its not like global warming and pollution and smog and noise pollution and the wars in the middle east and the destruction of the community is MY fault, i'm just driving my car......

anyway, i'm no CM spokesperson, but to all you fucking whining babies in your cars, yeah, sorry we slowed you down a whole 2-3 minutes. i know that must have been extremely important to you. oh, and next time you fucking hypocrites are bitching about CM slowing you down a minute or two, take that minute and think, HUHM HOW MANY IRAQIS DIED TO FUEL MY VOLVO? before you start getting self rightous about CM slowing you down and being angry at your obnoxious car, think about how YOUR actions affect the world. think about how many TONS of air pollution your car dumps into the air, just so your lazy ass can get to the movies ten blocks away. think about how much you hate bush and his war for cheap oil as you sit in line at the gas pump, blissfully ignorant OF YOUR TACIT SUPPORT OF THE WAR BY FEEDING YOUR OWN OIL ADDICTION. it takes a lot more than a bumper sticker on your car to stop a war, and as long you keep driving cars, we'll keep fighting wars for oil. i can't even believe you hypocrites would get on a high horse about CM. at least they LIVE their politics, instead of just giving lip-service to environmentalism and peace-work. every mile you drive your car, you are directly polluting the environment and giving cause to war, in which case you are a hypocrite and your whining means nothing.

ok... 28.Sep.2003 00:00

solid gold

admitedly, i was pretty pissed while writing that last post, but still, it just gets me mad to hear people dissing CM for getting angry at car culture. because honestly, protests of any sort don't change peoples mind, they only reinforce previous opinions. people in cars either hate CM for slowing them down, or like the CM as a pro-environment/peace/community protest (even though, they are still sitting there in cars pumping out all that fucking smog and other badness). to me, CM is just a way of reinforcing bike culture as superior to car culture (and yes, in every sense, it IS superior), bringing solidarity to those who choose to live their politics. but i highly doubt it CHANGES anyone's mind per se. everyone knows cars pollute and oil causes war. its not about "educating" anyone, since everybody knows.

solid gold 28.Sep.2003 09:21

purple punk

"because honestly, protests of any sort don't change peoples mind, they only reinforce previous opinions."

Would the polls have shifted against Bush if not for the fact that we all protested? Hard to say for sure--the protests I like to think had a bit to do with it, but you're pretty much right. What really changes people's minds is to have a fairly open mind and to discuss things. Thus when the media finally stopped kissing Bush's ass, and when we continued to talk with the fence-sitters among the pro-Bush crowd, things did change. And that's the point--pissing people off isn't going to leave them with a fairly open mind. It's probably going to blind them.

So when you deliberately slow people down (as on the bridge), it's not doing anything to bring people to you (as you've said). And it may be developing a sense of solidarity among the riders (as you've said). But look at some of the comments up above. The painter, for instance... look at the bonehead he had to deal with. Do you really want to build solidarity with people who try to fuck with drivers for no reason? When I went on critical mass and the group took the bridge, I can assure you that it slowed things down a lot more than 2-3 minutes and pissed people off. And when a cyclist got hit by a car, the police wouldn't lift a finger to help. That attitude from the cops, perhaps thanks in part to CM, covers the entire city of Portland cyclists who don't get all tricked out in stupid biker gear...

I can see the good in CM, but it's disappointing to see how much more good there could be that isn't. We both want more people to cycle. But how about a little more understanding? We're all energy addicts. We don't want to give up our stereos, and walkmans, and lighting, and heating, and so on. I would hope that as a fellow addict you could be a little more kind to your brethen. You've taken a great first step by admitting you have a problem and cutting back on usage, but you aren't free of the addiction yet and you probably won't ever be. What you can do is take methadone (ie use mostly renewable energy) and help other, more addicted folks, get to the clinic. Once enough check in, methadone production will be ramped up.

I like people, just not thier cars 28.Sep.2003 11:53

the "naked girl"

Hey, so here's my opinion. I really don't think critical mass has been doing a whole lot to convert people to riding instead of driving. This may not ever happen. But my goal, as a first step at the very least, is to get people not to hate bicyclists. If we have fun, and show that we are having fun, while we are all out their riding our bikes, it has the ability to make drivers smile as they are stalled for a few minutes (and yes, Ross Island was only a few minutes, I was there too), thus lightening the mood and not making them hate us. That is positive, and their is a big difference between stopping people to make them smile and stopping people just to fuck with them.

In being a part of critical mass, I think all the riders need to allow for some amount of realism to pass through the almighty shield of bike culture. We're not going to get everyone to stop driving thier cars, at least not any time soon, and we have to deal with that. Their are parents who need to pick thier kids up from day care, people with disabilities who can't get around on bikes, people with jobs that require vehicles to haul supplies. I understand this.

But also, on the part of the rediculous multitude of car drivers out their, you all need to realize that this doesn't apply to all of you. Most of you are just lazy and use other peoples neccessity for driving as a way for you to justify a blatant disregard for your own irresponsible oil consumption.

I want to appoligize to any of the motorists that I may have pissed off (since I can't speak for all of CM) who had a good reason to be pissed off, but honestly, I don't think that was too many of you. I do know that I made a lot of you smile though, and for that, I won't appologize. Hell, I even made some of the cops smile, actually got some of them to treat me like a human, and I fucking hate the assholes. But that's what CM needs to be about. Just a little bit of realistic comprimise. Cause hey, we're all on this earth together (until America's consumer ideology finally demolishes it for good).

Purple Punk, Zoobomb? 28.Sep.2003 12:04

SKiDmark

Do you Zoobomb? Cuz I go to Critical Mass and so do a lot of other Zoobombers. Zoobomb is something we do for FUN. Are you anti-fun?

dump truck honk 28.Sep.2003 18:01

epic

When we got off the west end of the ross island bridge 5 large dump trucks parked in the gass, blasted there large horn at us. They blasted there horns for a good minute.

SKiDmark 28.Sep.2003 21:22

Purple Punk

Hi. No. I don't Zoobomb. I also don't hear about many folks getting pissed off at Zoobomb. You probably know me by sight and visa versa 'cause I cheer on Zoobomb sometimes when they go past, and I also cheer on CM, and have been in several CM's (some of which really do slow things down more than a couple of minutes). If your Zoobomb question was derived from my first posting, please don't take it out of context. It was in response to a posting from a seemingly angry person who slammed Zoobomb by saying that people hypocritically drove all the bikes up to the top of the hill in trucks (that comment and a couple others have mysteriously vanished since then). Of course, I am not claiming that Zoobomb is trying to make an environmental statement like CM.

So, please, do have fun. But if your idea of fun is based upon stopping traffic and pissing people off rather than enjoying riding, then please grow up. I have seen quite a few CMers set out to piss people off and it's really asinine. How's that supposed to accomplish anything positive? Naked Girl has the right idea.

Trying to help 29.Sep.2003 08:12

Blue lion

I met a friend that I hadn't seen in quite a while this weekend and was suprised to see that he and his girlfriend had sold their vehicles and are now biking everyday. As one of the annoying smog producing masses I was suprised to hear someone making a difference. Seeing someone that close to me making a decision like that really made it more personal and attainable. I think their example did more for me than any stall on a bridge would have done. It is because of them that I'm taking public transportation now.

??? 29.Sep.2003 08:57

Hitler

You guys are the idol Americans your What I wanted America to be like after I took it over.

Yours truely
Hitler...

Hey Purple Punk 29.Sep.2003 13:19

SKiDmark

Sorry bout the mixup. The way it was written it looked like a slam, like we don't ride our bikes, just take them on the MAX. There are actually quite a few Zoobombers who ride their 16" bikes as daily transportation.

SKiDmark 29.Sep.2003 20:56

Purple Punk

You and me, all good. Catch you riding some time.

Critical Mass maximizes traffic flow 30.Sep.2003 18:57

Skwirl

Everyone goes to Critical Mass for a different reason. I'm personally wary of the road rage inducing aspects of the Mass, but there's not a hell of a lot we can do about it. The cops insist on outlawing corking and they insist on forcing hundreds of bicyclists to inhabit the bike lane. Anybody who's seen the difference between before the cops started these polices and afterwards knows for certain that we really wouldn't slow any cars down for more than five minutes at any point if we were left to our own devices.

Bicyclists can be villified because they've given us a label. As much as I hate it, I think we need to sometimes play by the rules we're dealt. We need to start villifying the single occupant driver. There's no excuse for 90 percent of the automobiles on the road. A road with 200 CM bike riders going 20 MPH has incredibly more bandwidth than the same road with 20 cars going 35 MPH. That's efficiency. That's productivity. And that's exactly what we need if we're going to save our economy and our ecology. Critical Mass is the only time in the month when roads are utilized to their highest ability. Indeed, it seems to me that traffic flow is maximized by Critical Mass.

As for the Ross Island Bridge, it is a horrible abomination and we can only serve the community by bringing its failings to light. If we happened to inconvienence any motorists, then it was merely in memory of all the times that pedestrians and cyclists were denied passage by the fact that the west end of the Ross Island Bridge's sidewalk has absolutely no pedestrian access. You can't cross the Ross Island Bridge as a pedestrian without confronting three or more lanes of high-speed, low visibility traffic.

Skwirl - an idiot like the rest 01.Oct.2003 11:20

Dave

Skwirl,
You're an idiot. I'm one of those single occupant vehicle drivers that you wish to vilify. I work odd shifts. I need to carry about 50 pounds of crap with me. Sometimes I have to get to work at zero dark thirty. Sometimes I leave well after dark. Public transportation around here is a joke. My 20 minute drive would be a 3 hour bus adventure. None of you CM morons have a job that is difficult to commute to on a bike or you'd be driving like the rest of us. Get off the fucking high horse and get a clue and a life.

Dave - reactionary driver like the rest 01.Oct.2003 11:37

listener

Skwirl: "There's no excuse for 90 percent of the automobiles on the road."
Dave: "I work odd shifts. I need to carry about 50 pounds of crap with me."

So, in other words, Dave, like some percentage of drivers (I think 10% is too high personally) needs a car. That's fine, but instead of attacking people why don't you realize it is in your best interest to support those who want to reduce the number of cars on the road. Either that or learn to read more carefully before becoming defensive and reactionary. The true idiot is the one who responds to their assumptions and errors rather than what is actually said. Maybe it's time to learn to listen and discuss solutions that are in all of our best interest.

question for listener 01.Oct.2003 12:14

a CM detractor

Who made you God? What gives you any right to declare that only 10% of the population should have a car? Do I have the right to let air out of your bike tires and slow you down? If not then you have no right to deliberately inconvenience drivers. I'd like to see fewer cars on the street but that's simply pie in the sky thinking. I've lived in Europe. There they have a pretty good public transit system. I rarely drove when I lived there. It wasn't because of the price of gas either. I was well compensated for working there so gas price was not an issue. Public transit was efficient and got me where I needed to go. Public transit doesn't do that here. If you are lucky enough to work near a convenient busline or MAX station then good on ya for using it. I don't. To be honest I wish I did. I hate driving downtown and would gladly take the bus or MAX if it ran anywhere near me and I didn't have as much to carry.

CM'ers happen to be in a situation where they are fortunate enough to live in a situation where bike travel is practical for them. To stand indignantly and try to cram their way of thinking down our throats is an affront to people who aren't as fortunate. Frankly I think most CM'ers don't have jobs, house payments, or kids to support, or they'd be like the rest of us drivng a car trying to get home and be with the family. They are selfish uninspired anarchists that delight in inconveniencing those of us that were smart enough to graduate college and land a decent job. Like I said, you need to get a life , a clue, or both asshole.

CM violates people's rights. We have the right to as citizens to transit our streets as smoothly and quickly as traffic conditions and the law allows. CM is not encouraging anyone to think the way they do. The dirty truth is most people wish some of you would get run over during your little protest so as to discourage future CM activities.

dave, you need to calm down 01.Oct.2003 12:45

listener

And you need to read more carefully. I suspect this is not going to get through to you because of your anger and defensiveness over this issue. It shows you have no interest in creating a real dialog. I never claimed that only 10% should have a car, but that many people who do drive cars do not need them. Many people do have access to public transportation and do not use it. Many people could use a bicycle and choose not to. I agree, as most people would, that public transportation in this city could be greatly improved and that would be a wise investment for the city. The reason the city (and cities in this country in general) do not make such investments is because they fear having to overcome the mindset so ingrained in people that they *need* their cars or that public transportation is fine for poor people, but for them, or that their time is so important that they can't be inconvenienced (despite that many, but obviously not all, would spend less time commuting).

"Frankly I think most CM'ers don't have jobs, house payments, or kids to support"

Well, you know what they say about when you assume... I have a job and house payments, and no kids, but many CM'ers do, at one time there were a fair number of kids in the rides. Making such baseless assumptions and accusations just makes you look impressively uninformed.

"you need to get a life , a clue, or both asshole"

Can't you do better than this kind of tired rhetoric. Maybe you'd like to call people dirty hippies or commie pinkos next?

"CM violates people's rights."

That's funny; I remember something in the constitution about the right of people to peaceably assemble. Don't remember where there was an exception stating that you could only peaceably assemble if you weren't impeding traffic. Maybe you could point that out to me.

"The dirty truth is most people wish some of you would get run over during your little protest so as to discourage future CM activities."

Every ride I've been on there's been more support from people in cars than not. Of course, there are always a few people every ride that do hit bicyclists. Are those the kind of people you want to be supporting? Those that believe in endangering people's lives because they feel inconvenienced. What kind of morality is that?

But the bottom line is don't take things so personally. You need a car, then use it, but you would do well to support those who are trying to get more people out of there cars. We could discuss whether actions like the ones in this article are effective ad nauseum. No one is trying to force anyone to do anything. Critical Mass is just a means of showing how many people support and encourage using bicycles, and even that riding a bike is a lot more fun than driving a car.

Take a deep breath, and do some thinking.

you have a twisted view of constitutional rights 01.Oct.2003 16:27

me again

About your drivel:
"That's funny; I remember something in the constitution about the right of people to peaceably assemble. Don't remember where there was an exception stating that you could only peaceably assemble if you weren't impeding traffic. Maybe you could point that out to me. "

Your right to peaceably assemble ends where my right to to pass unimpeded begins. You are demonstrating a lack of courtesy and respect when you impede traffic. We could take it a step further and say you're impeding commerce since some of us evil car drivers are on our way to a meeting or a jobsite. The Constitution does not give you the right to impede traffic. I defy you to come up with a legal ruling that supports your premise.

I am all for reducing the number of cars on the road and pollution in general. I've said that before though. I give money to environental groups. I've written articles expounding the virtues of fuel cell vehicles and other environmentally friendly transportation. CM will never gain respect for its cause until it finds a less arrogant way to express its views.

You suggested that I come up with a more creative name for the rabble of CM. You even suggested "commie pinko" and "hippie." Don't go there friend. I've got some respect for the so called "commie pinkos" and "hippies" and you sir don't deserve that level of respect.

and you are an arrogant hypocrite 01.Oct.2003 17:15

listener

Should we go on slinging insults? Or haven't you blown off enough steam yet? I think you'll find serious, respectful discussion to be much more rewarding.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There you are; there's my twisted view that "Congress shall make no law...abridging... the right of the people peaceably to assemble." Or, as the US Supreme Court put it, "[the right to assemble is] one that cannot be denied without violating those fundamental principles which lie at the base of all civil and political institutions."

"You are demonstrating a lack of courtesy and respect when you impede traffic."

And you are demonstrating a lack of courtesy and respect with your writing here. Doesn't that seem a bit hypocritical to you?

"We could take it a step further and say you're impeding commerce "

Oh no, impeding commerce... that's much more important than showing people sustainable alternatives. Especially since we all know how stable and sustainable capitalism is.

"The Constitution does not give you the right to impede traffic. I defy you to come up with a legal ruling that supports your premise."

Well, you're talking about two different things. The Constitution is quite clear, "Congress shall make no law...abridging... the right of the people peaceably to assemble." No exceptions, not even for traffic or commerce. And why should there have been, disrupting traffic and commerce was immensely important to the revolutionary war. But I agree you will very rarely find a court willing to take that perspective. Imagine all the polluting factories and corrupt corporations that could be shut down if they did. And we wouldn't want that, now would we?

"CM will never gain respect for its cause until it finds a less arrogant way to express its views."

Again, this has been discussed many times, and there is validity to the critique. But it is your words that have come off as arrogant, as being unable to enter into a real dialog. Do you deny that many people in cars don't need them? Do you deny that there are many more people who could use public transportation or a bicycle than do so? Do you deny that many more people could car pool (hence the "vilification of the single occupant driver")? No one is saying no one should have a car, or that no one needs a car. But you come here and say: "idiot" "morons" "get a life" "get a clue" "you don't have a job" "you don't have house payments "you don't have kids" "get off your fucking high horse" "Who made you god" "what gives you any right" "selfish uninspired anarchists" "asshole" "your not smart enough" "your drivel" "rabble of CM". I think that you, sir, are projecting for it is you who are being arrogant and disrespectful when you could be offering valid critiques and suggestions instead of berating people that you don't know (but whom you have plenty of misguided assumptions about).

"you sir don't deserve that level of respect"

Well, since you're so comfortable in your judgment of what respect others deserve maybe you should not be so upset by others deciding the same thing for themselves. If you cannot respect others, why should they respect you?

oh boy 02.Oct.2003 08:13

arrogant hypocrite (good grief)

Who is being the hypocrite here? You agree with me that the courts responsible for intepreting the Constitution support my views. Yet you claim your interpretation of the Constitution is the correct one. Every society must have laws and order to survive. When you consciously choose to violate the laws then you must be willing to accept the scorn and lack of respect. You can't have it both ways my friend.

I totally agree with you on the need to reduce dependence on oil and congestion. Yes more people should avail themselves of public transportation. We're on the same page here.

I don't feel that bikes are all that plausible as a form of mainstream transportation. I've got two friends that took medical discharges from the Army due to bicycling accidents. In Portland we have inclement weather and limited daylight hours for almost half the year. There is some risk to bicycling within an urban area that might be a bit much for some people. I ride my bike primarily on designated bike paths or lightly used streets due to safety concerns. I don't really trust motorists because in this country anyone can get a license.

The way you express your views is what we disagree on. If I support your contention that CM should be allowed to "take the bridge" then I must also give the same approval to neo-Nazi's or the Ku Klux Klan. How would you feel if a bunch of hooded KKK thugs blocked your street and prevented you from leaving your neighborhood? They feel their views are correct in the same way we feel our views are correct. Should the KKK be allowed to disrupt the flow of traffic in the same manner as CM? Unless you can answer yes you need to analyze your actions.

Unfuckingbelievable! 02.Oct.2003 23:54

burr

"I don't feel that bikes are all that plausible as a form of mainstream transportation. I've got two friends that took medical discharges from the Army due to bicycling accidents. In Portland we have inclement weather and limited daylight hours for almost half the year. There is some risk to bicycling within an urban area that might be a bit much for some people. I ride my bike primarily on designated bike paths or lightly used streets due to safety concerns. I don't really trust motorists because in this country anyone can get a license."

The above statement suggests that you are projecting your own personal fears and excuses for not cycling onto others who choose to do so, and that you are prejudiced against bicycles and bicyclists as a result. Countless cyclists in Portland could prove your fears and biases wrong and help educate you to cycle safely and comfortably, including in the rain, in the dark and in traffic. Unfortunately, the motorists who refuse to share the road responsibly with cyclists are also in dire need of educating--motorists are responsible for almost 60% of motorist-bicyclist crashes. In the absence of a state-run motorist education program, CM fills the void (250 cities world-wide and counting...).

I'm really sorry that you take such a defeatist attitude to cycling, which is an extremely elegant solution to traffic congestion problems and a very healthy, efficient and non-polluting form of urban transportation. There are a million more motor vehicles than people in the Portland Metropolitan area. Most trips of less than five miles could easily be biked instead of driven. Cars, not bicycles, are responsible for 99.9% of all day in and day out traffic tie-ups. Motor vehicles kill 40,000 + people a year in the US, and injure and maim countless others.

Get a clue, dude, and stop living in fear and denial. Motor vehicles are the problem. Bicycles are part of the solution. Stop whining and making excuses and work with us for positive change!

Motorcycles? 03.Oct.2003 11:35

Bystander

What about motorcycles. I never see any mention of them at all.We who ride them save gas that a car would burn through in the same commute and can go farther than a bike faster. I ride everyday and feel that I have a decent solution as I do have a car that doesnt get driven except for days that I need to move more crap or four people.

wtf? 03.Oct.2003 15:27

guess i'm being called a coward now

"The above statement suggests that you are projecting your own personal fears and excuses for not cycling onto others who choose to do so, and that you are prejudiced against bicycles and bicyclists as a result. "

I am not prejudiced against bicycles or those who ride them. As I mentioned I ride a bike myself although I choose to stay out of the higher risk urban environment when I do. Even if I wanted to ride to work I couldn't due to logistics. I don't discourage anyone from riding their bike anywhere. Frankly I don't think you're going to have much luck talking the average soccer mom tying up traffic in her SUV to switch to a bike though. You've got to get it through your head that bikes are part of your solution but they are not the solution for everyone. You can ignore published statistics all you want but there is a risk to riding bikes in downtown on a rainy night. Perhaps you need to spend some time with an ER nurse who has seen the results firsthand. I agree with you on the need for better motorist education. We need to be more like Europe where getting a driver's license is expensive and requires real training. Unfortunately that thinking doesn't catch on here. Nor do many think socialized health care which every industrialized nation except RSA has.

Why can't you people debating me get it through your thick noggins that we share many of the same views? The only problem I have with CM is their means of expressing themselves. I notice none of you want to debate me on the real issue which is how can I support CM's illegally impeding traffic and commerce if I won't allow the Nazi's and KKK to do the same thing? It's that simple. If it's OK for CM to obstruct traffic then it's OK for any other group with strong feelings to do the same. That is unless you admit to being a holier than thou hypocrite which I suspect you might be.

wtf? (continued) 03.Oct.2003 15:31

dave

Can any of you CM'ers respond to the crux of the matter in this debate?

How can I support CM's illegally impeding traffic and commerce if I won't allow the Nazi's and KKK to do the same thing? It's that simple. If it's OK for CM to obstruct traffic then it's OK for any other group with strong feelings to do the same.

lesson: don't feed the trolls 03.Oct.2003 16:55

just another hypocrite

But now I'll not take my own advice and just point out that reading through these comments it's easy to see who was trying to find the common ground and who was slinging insults. And for the record, the people on the Ross Island Bridge were not illegally impeding traffic. They were just biking, and yes, the KKK and neo-nazi's have the same right to ride bikes on public streets. Do you think that they shouldn't? Trying to take the high road now just makes you look like you're covering your ass for slinging insults around earlier and not responding to legitimate questions or criticisms. Can you admit that you were not trying to have a dialog but only insult people? If not, I don't think trying to act differently now will leave you with much credibility.

Common Ground? 03.Oct.2003 19:11

burr

CM does no more to impede traffic and commerce than rush hour motor vehicle traffic does. Rush hour occurs twice a day, every weekday / workday of the year. CM may be a bicycle traffic jam, albeit a minor one. It occurs only once a month, for two hours, during an off-peak hour. Why is that so unbearable to some motorists, who put up with a hell of a lot worse from their fellow drivers? BTW -- most motorists are generally supportive of, and patient with CM, although there are those occassional angry few...

Public streets are for all people, and not just for people in cars and trucks. Bicyclists have as much right to use public roads as anyone else, and pay their fair share for road construction and maintenance through property taxes and sundry other financial contributions to the City's general fund which are used to pay for transportation infrastructure construction and maintenance.

All bicyclists ask is to be able to ride safely on any public street, the same as motorists, by the most direct route, to any destination that motorists expect to have direct access to. I don't really think it's too much to ask of motorists -- to drive safely and responsibly when they encounter bicyclists on the road. This is the basic message CM is trying to put out, plus that bicycling is a hell of a lot more fun than driving!!

Responses from all of you naysayers and detractors are welcome, although I do ask that you please try and be constructive rather than insulting.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem...

re: feeding the troll post 03.Oct.2003 23:06

dave

I'm confused. You claim that CM'ers were only riding their bikes and not doing anything wrong. Here is the lead paragraph of the article:

"Critical Massers Take Ross Island Bridge
author: Asodeon
"Who's Bridge?" "OUR BRIDGE!" That was our battle cry as about 15-20 Critical Massers rode in both west bound lanes of the Ross Island Bridge backing up traffic and pissing off a lot of motorists. It was all possible because of the absence of the Portland Police who decided shortly before, we took the bridge, to pack up and go home because there were to few of us left to follow around any longer. We showed them. "

You either didn't read the article OR you're the one trying to backpedal now. Which is it my friend?
The article deosn't sound like the motorists were particularly supportive. Does it sound that way to you?
Maybe you've fallen off that bike a few too many times. The cumulative effect of concussions can be quite harmful and cause memory loss and lack of reasoning ability. Would you like to be referred to a neurologist for consultation?

Were you there, Dave? 04.Oct.2003 00:00

burr

Were you there, Dave? Have you ever been seriously personally inconvenienced by CM? Was it worse than the usual car traffic that you have to deal with on a daily basis?

Dave, I read your original comment and it has nothing to do with the original post by Asodeon, either; it was a response to a previous comment by Skwirl. As far as I can tell, Asodeon isn't participating in this discussion anymore, and the discussion has moved on to other issues related to CM, with new participants. We're trying to work with you in a constructive way, and all we're getting in the way of responses from you is a bunch of negativity related to your own personal fears and biases regarding bicycling.

Nobody is saying you shouldn't drive if you really have to; we're saying (1) that there are too many motor vehicles and too much unnecessary driving being done in general, and you might benefit from rethinking your percieved attachment to your motor vehicle, (2) traffic would be less if more people bicycled instead of driving, (3) bicyclists are allowed to ride on all public streets and motorists should respect that and drive more safely around bicyclists, and (4) that CM is a celebration of bicycling, and a direct action aimed at making motorists aware of bicyclists' presence on the street, and not simply a way to piss you off.