Friday, January 05, 2007

Critical Outcomes of Critical Mass

As I mentioned previously tonight there is a Critical Mass Ride scheduled to begin at 6pm at Dupont Circle. I am tentatively planning on attending this ride to try and get an idea of what it is all about and to try and see if it is something which I think is done well and is worth putting my support into. I also think it’d be a great way to meet other like minded individuals who live and cycle in the area that might be good to know if I really start getting involved in the world of cycling advocacy. I passed the idea along to the guys at the Racing Union and the first response I got about it was a pretty negative one. I was surprised by this at first but there was a very good argument laid out about it and I completely understand the feelings behind the issue.

I of course have never seen joined in on one of these rides so I don’t know enough about them to really form an opinion other then what other people feed me about them so I’ve decided that I’ll still try and go check it out. I’d like to at least get an idea for myself as to what the intentions of the group are both as a whole (likely the stated purpose) and those of the individuals involved.

One of the biggest issues raised about these rides is that by going out in a group of 100+ riders and touring slowly through the city streets they achieve their goal of making drivers aware of their presence but in doing so just cause more anger towards cyclists instead of causing people to look at the situation in a new way. This of course in turn leads to further aggravation and future aggression by these drivers when they see cyclists on the roadways.

On top of that, last night as I was riding up 18th street I struck up a quick conversation with a bike messenger and asked if he’d heard about it and what he thought. He basically said the same thing the guys on my team said and told me he used to go to them but decided they were not something he felt he should be involved in. This all leaves me to wonder what kind of people I should expect to see down there tonight (assuming it is not storming and I still decide to go down). In any event, if I do attend expect a full recap of the event to post soon after.

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