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Critical Mass, a small victory!

less oppression, more bike riding.
CM this friday, was actually not bad! for the last two years, it's been a constant barrage of harrasement and brutality by the police. the noticeable exception was january's ride, when the Mayor rode with us (big props to the Mayor for having the political guts to stand up for us). no tickets were issued that ride. we thought it may be the return of the Golden Age of CM. february proved us horribly wrong, with no mayor and a whole bunch of harrasment, tickets, and motorcycle cops. the motorcycle cops are the worst. they have some sort of macho chip on their shoulder, and love trying to intimidate riders by swerving their motorcycles into you, or nudging you off the road into a car. they're real peices of shit, and i let them know that in several confrontations over the years. there's rarely any bicycle cops to balance it out either. until last night. apparently, due to pressure from a handful of dedicated bikers from Shift to Bikes.org, the police heirarchy has agreed to only have bicycle cops follow the ride. yes, i know this sounds like a hollow victory, after all, we're still being policed. but, compared to the last couple years of beat-downs, this was a vast improvement. i don't think any tickets were given to cyclists, just a few verbal warnings. that's one of the first official CM rides we've had without a slew of tickets in the last two years! and apparently, that's the new protocall for dealing with CM, issue verbal warnings first, then ticket second, and bicycle cops only, no moto-pigs.

and believe it or not, i actually saw some bike cops PULL A CAR OVER! (for unsafe driving) this is the first time in my 3 years of monthly CM riding that i've ever seen a cop enforce laws on cars, not just on bikes. a cop actually doing his job! kickass! the rest of the police force could learn from that example.

through the years of harrasment, we persisted and kept the ride going, even if it meant getting ticketed and arrested (my current bill from CM rides=$1700 of tickets), and finally, it looks like we're getting somewhere. like i said, it's a small victory, but it's a victory nonetheless.
Not Small 26.Mar.2005 16:44

Den Mark, Vancouver

Not a "small victory". It's a big victory. I hope it's permanent. You outlasted the opponents. That's what happened in the Civil Rights Movement. We outlasted the opponents, to whatever extent we accomplished anything. You went out there month after month, year after year, defying the illogic of arbitrary policing. Good Job!

(I myself am not a fan of bike cops & the way they use their bikes as battering rams against on-foot protesters. My body's been at the receiving end of hubs & pedals & handlebars too many times. Doesn't stop me, but each time lowers my attitude about cops.)

awsome 26.Mar.2005 17:20


Its wonderful to finally hear of some change in the Mass. Keep up the good work and persistence everyone! noice article gold! see u sunday?

Glad To Hear Things Are Better For You In Portland Now 26.Mar.2005 18:09


It can always change though, and the cops can always go back to their rioting ways.

Here in Seattle we have rides of about 70 -80 people and we've never been hassled by the police. I remember one time I saw a squad car follow us, but they've never cracked down on us. That can change when there are large demonstrations happening in the downtown area, but otherwise they leave us alone.

Where does CM start these days? 27.Mar.2005 10:51

anonymous or made up

I know it changes every once in a while. So where does CM start these days? I would love to ride with everyone next time! I stopped a while ago going after I couldn't afford any more tickets/confiscation of my bike. I'm a wimp, I know. Props to all of you that kept up CM, bearing all the intimidation and ticketing, until you achieved this victory! My helmet goes off to you.

CM start point, website, thank you 27.Mar.2005 19:32


Critical Mass in Portland starts at the North Park Blocks: NW Couch and Park, last Fridy of every month, meet at 5:30PM.

The new website is at: www.rosecitycriticalmass.org

Thanks to all those dedicate community cycling activists who doggedly stuck it out for the last couple really shitty years of riding Critical Mass. If it hadn't been for your persistent loyal dedication to a cause that the police were trying to harass into oblivion, Critical Mass wouldn't have survived to see a new mayor and a revamped city council (thanks to Portland voters for that last part).

And thanks to indymedia for providing a focal point for people on this issue.

For those curious about numbers, we had a small turnout: ~57 riders (+18 bike cops). Down from 100 in Feb, and 175 in Jan, so April should be bigger. April's ride is on the 29th.