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spokane wa critical mass

local news says 11 riders - 9 arrested
over the genocidal holiday i was in eastern washington - the folks i was with left the tv on 24/7 [drove me nuts] - however, the words "critical mass" got my attention. the news [channel i dont know] said in breif that 9 arrests were made in dt spokane, from a group of cyclists doing a critical mass. i am pretty sure they said that the total of riders was 11. thats brutal. anyone know any of those riders or have more info on the story?

spokane local news 02.Dec.2005 00:22

mybehind

Repost

Spokesman-Review
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Our view

No excuse for Critical Mass' Spokane stunt.
Rogue riders only hurt cycling cause

November 29, 2005

Cold and snow are putting a seasonal damper on bicycle riding's popularity in the Inland Northwest, but not before some overzealous enthusiasts put a dent in its dignity.

As Critical Mass demonstrations go, the riders who got themselves arrested in downtown Spokane Friday is skimpy. In San Francisco, where the movement began in 1992, participants have held rides involving hundreds of riders. The Spokane contingent that got in trouble for disrupting traffic consisted of about 10.

Relatively small or not, the Spokane ride had the predictable effect. Regardless of stated intentions to behave lawfully, a couple of riders deviated from the plan. Some spread out into a second lane. Some purposely prevented cars from passing. Police intervened and took the offenders to jail on misdemeanor charges.

It's hard to evaluate the merits of Critical Mass' points because the points are unclear. The worldwide movement, more prevalent in Portland and Seattle, has made spotty appearances in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. But it is loosely structured in something akin to leaderless cells, and its conduct and aims vary from event to event.

It is about bicyclists' traffic rights. It is about bicycles' positive environmental influence. It is, many say, about having fun. In Spokane on Friday, some of the participants said it was about making people less reliant on automobiles.

Certainly, bicycles are an affordable and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. The ability to ride them for recreation or to and from work adds to a community's quality of life. They are an excellent means of exercise and good health. For those and other reasons, Spokane and other cities have dedicated an increasing amount of space in their public thoroughfares to bike lanes.

But cycling is no good for the environment when riders purposely stall traffic, causing them to idle and spew exhaust. And cycling is not healthy when it incites conflicts among those who share the roads. And it only detracts from the quality of life when bicycle riding is a scheme to disrupt traffic and tie up scarce law enforcement resources.

Responsible bicycling advocates have worked hard to raise awareness about riders' rights to be on the streets. "Same roads, same rights, same responsibilities" is a reasonable pact that too many motorists fail to respect. But so do too many bicylists.

For every bike rider who's been honked at and screamed at, brushed by a passing car or otherwise crowded off the road, there's a cyclist who's zipped indiscriminately from sidewalk to street and back, endangered pedestrians, pedaled through a red light after a cursory glance for cars, squeezed between cars in slow traffic.

Making Spokane truly bicycle-friendly requires a little attitude adjustment on everyone's part. But the tactics of Critical Mass don't help. They do more to aggravate than assuage.

Rider's friend 02.Dec.2005 11:00

Greg Brettman

My friend Ben Himley was one of the riders who was arrested during this event. He said that all the riders were being very respectful of traffic and obeying all the traffic laws. Down to signaling their turns. Critical Mass was an easy target and of course the police seized the oppurtunity, whether it was legit or not.


Misleading information. 06.Dec.2005 12:41

Travis spokanelac@yahoo.com

I was one of the riders/arestees on that particular ride.

(The critique offered of Critical Mass and it's tactics in general in the original post is up to debate which i choose not to examine here. The point of my reply is just to clarify what exactly went on. That said, here's the case in SPokane.)

This post was uninformed and misleading, and made no defense for what the actual tactics might have been, and judged Spokane riders based on assumption, and apparently sources of biased corporate media.

"As Critical Mass demonstrations go, the riders who got themselves arrested in downtown Spokane Friday is skimpy. In San Francisco, where the movement began in 1992, participants have held rides involving hundreds of riders. The Spokane contingent that got in trouble for disrupting traffic consisted of about 10"

To clear things up, The "spokane contingent" that "disrupted traffic" consisted of ten bicycle riders, and 12 or more marching pedestrians who were following. Including adults and children, seniors, radical cheerleaders, and youth. While this gathering was particularly small in bicyclists, the pedestrian presence made the mass double in numbers. Also, the two preceeding monthly rides had over thirty bikers.

"Relatively small or not, the Spokane ride had the predictable effect. Regardless of stated intentions to behave lawfully, a couple of riders deviated from the plan. Some spread out into a second lane. Some purposely prevented cars from passing. Police intervened and took the offenders to jail on misdemeanor charges. "

No one deviated from the "plan". Some spread out in to the second lane, to MAKE A LEFT TURN. Before the rest of the riders had the chance to switch lanes for the turn, the cops were screaming and throwing people on the ground. "the offenders" broke NO LAW whatsoever. We were handed the laws beforehand by the police, and followed them consequentially. They seized a contextual opportunity, and arrested us for "disorderly conduct". Not only was traffic suspiciously absent that day, but for a little over TWO CARS, but it as not even obstructed for a time long enough to be considered "obstruction".

Critical Mass in Spokane is relatively small (years ago and now it usually attracts a little over thrity riders), as stated in the original post, and often intentionally or otherwise "obstructs traffic". This ride was particularly small due to weather and the horrifying police tactics of the previous ride, where riders were thrown and handcuffed, and fifteen citations (which were ABSOLVED) were given out. This was later stated BY the police in the newspaper that the citation and drastic police tactics that day were to "make a point" to the riders. The following ride where arrests ensued was explained by police that it's a "quality of life issue", and that people will be reluctant to travel to the cities core if "demonstrations" like this continue.

Millions of cars obstructing traffic in a toxic manner every day goes unpunished, ten law-abiding bikers on the street for ten minutes gets arrests.

"Spokane and other cities have dedicated an increasing amount of space in their public thoroughfares to bike lanes."

Come show me the bike lanes in spokane, and i'll show you a sorry situation.

"Making Spokane truly bicycle-friendly requires a little attitude adjustment on everyone's part. But the tactics of Critical Mass don't help. They do more to aggravate than assuage. "

The arrests were documented in more than three local papers, and was featured on the news. Surprisingly, the articles were sympathetic to what happened to the cyclists, although misleading as to what ACTUALLY took place during and before arrest.

This sacrifice will hopefully raise awareness of critical mass, and the outrageous police tactics will hopefully gain more sympathy and tolerance of cyclists in general by exposing the intolerance of the local authorities for a peaceful and law-abiding event.*

(*when the numbers permit it, whether intentionally or not, traffic is often obstructed... however, this was NOT the case the night of the arrests, and compliance with police wishes got us not only a ride limited to biased rules, but still subject to the arrest while following those rules.)

Hope this clears it up, and hope this makes the energy of the original poster refocus on the actual antagonists, and not the responsive tactics taken by those who have had enough.

sorry 06.Dec.2005 12:49

Travis spokanelac@yahoo.com

My critique and claryfiction was directed at the Spokesman articel sited in the first comment, not the "original post/er".

kinda rushed into it.

also, i wanted to add that it was four males and four females who were booked in jail. One of the females has a prosthetic leg from the knee down, and one of the males was fifty-eight years old.

The big bad terrorist cyclists of spokane.

were trying 12.Dec.2005 14:38

holly bicycleterrorist@hotmail.com

hey were just learning over here in spokane. give us a break. were open to suggestions if anyone has any positive ideas for our CM rides please contact me.