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Saturday, May 27, 2006

A: On Yer Bike!

Q:How can we move around our crowded and polluted cities?

This, is Critical Mass. On the last Friday of each month for the last 12 years, London cyclists mass together for a random ride with a simple message - "We are traffic too". It goes on around the world, there is probably a ride near you. The ride is good natured and the police generally take a very constructive attitude. Last October, they handed out leaflets saying that the ride was illegal, so a Court case has been brought which is in the News at the moment.

This picture is what happens when 300 cyclists ride around Parliament Square - look - no cars!

(Detailed description of ride with more pictures in the OnionBag or here.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 11

Comments on "A: On Yer Bike!"


Blogger Jean said ... (23:39) : 

Love it! We were in San Francisco and not only was it Friday but it was Halloween. We thought this was rare occurence. Will check to see if Vancouver has it!


Blogger Unknown said ... (07:08) : 

This sounds like a great idea. Save the environment and money!
Great photos by the way. I check this link each day.


Blogger G Fraser said ... (08:04) : 

but how many of them have sent their briefcase and documents along in a car!? Shame on you david cameron!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (09:01) : 

I witnessed the ride last night at the top of Carnaby street. I was absolutely disgusted as a cab driver was harassed by a passing cyclist. Although the cab driver became overly agitated, those participating in the ride turned up their music offensively loud and started jeering at the cab driver.

The cab driver was arrested, and no attempt was made to find the offending cyclist.

There was nothing good natured or constructive about this episode.

For me this has left a bad taste in my mouth about Critical Mass. I counted about 10 accompanying police officers. What a waste of MY income taxes.


Blogger Ham said ... (11:58) : 

Thomas, I'd left the ride by then but there are a couple of points I'd like you to consider.

First and most importantly, the taxi driver should be giving the ride his wholehearted support. If he thought for a moment, he would realise that less cars in London would mean more people needing taxis and less traffic for him to sit in fuming.

Second, and this is opinion, anything that shows that this generation care about more than Big Brother is fine by me, even if I don't agree with them or the way that they demonstrate it. By generation, I mean those born at or after the time I was marching. These days, if students march against anything it is more likely to be a problem with pensions. That matters. So, if there was a rowdy scene, I wouldn't participate but I'd rather have people thinking and caring, whatever the cost.

At the end of it the ride is to make a difference. If by being there they have made you think "I don't agree with the ride, but cyclists may have a point" then it has.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (13:34) : 

Dam' right they're traffic, too, and they break more rules and knock down more pedestrians (or try to) than any car in London. Down with cyclists, say I.


Blogger Ham said ... (14:21) : 

Helen, I agree with some cyclist needing to ride with more consideration, I agree that possibly there are more minor pedestrian accidents with bikes (especially when they ride on pavements) but as far as mowing down is concerned, motorcyles and cars get first place every time. And speaking personally, I have been done to by pedestrians on more (4) occasions than doing (0).

As far as the law is concerned, day after tomorrow's post wil have something there.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (17:52) : 

I'm all for it (cyclists). Cars are enemy #1.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (03:16) : 

First off.... Luggi- thanks for the rounded and considered opinion. You're viewpoint is helpful (not).

Ham- thanks for your reply. I think it's slightly unreasonable to expect the cab driver to be giving his whole hearted support. Unfortunately not all of us have the luxury of being able to swan around london on our bicycles protesting for our cause.

I'd like to ask you what exactly you mean by "I'd rather have people thinking and caring, whatever the cost"

It's all very well and good you telling me "At the end of it the ride is to make a difference.", but I am funding this protest/ride through my tax payments. Consequently I think it is not only your obligation, but everybody who participates obligation to not be so lacsidasical about the process. This also includes protesting peacefully.


Blogger Ham said ... (07:52) : 

I wasn't actually expecting the cabbie to change the habits of a lifetime, but hte interests of both were curously aligned.

What I mean is that even if I disagree profoundly with the method (recent anarchists protest, maybe?) I have to take a deep breath and prefer mayhem on the streets in the name of democracy and expression to bovine acquiescence or, still worse, minority group terror tactics. It is part of the PRICE we must pay for a free society. The alternative is a Big Brother scenario, in all senses of the words.

Sure, it would be nice if only those groups I agreed with (or maybe didn't disagree with too strongly) protested nice and neatly. But it doesn't work like that.

Life isn't neat.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:47) : 

I agree with Helen - cyclists are very keen on their rights but quick to forget anybody else's. The point of Thomas Kay's story is that a cyclist harrassed somebody and that the other cyclists jeered. It is irrelevant what the victim's job is. Nobody should have that happen to them, and the idea that somehow it is OK because the cyclists are making a point is ridiculous.


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Name: Ham Location: London, United Kingdom View my complete profile