28 Jul 2008 11:48 pm   //   Filed under: Bicycles, Planet earth, Transit

Critical Mass meets Officer Danger

The last Friday of every month in major cities, a pack of cyclists takes over the streets with the Critical Mass demonstration bike rides. By terrible luck, I got caught in San Francisco’s Critical Mass in my rental car last week.

I support Critical Mass; I participated in it once in New York. But it’s not really my thing, since it reminds me too much of 1990s-style anti-globalization protest politics. I’ve said before that the best way to get people riding bikes is to make cycling so mainstream that practically everybody finds it normal and appealing. And as more people ride bikes, the streets will change to accommodate them, and things will get better for all cyclists. That was the initial idea behind Critical Mass, as I understand it.

But one police officer patrolling the Critical Mass ride in New York last Friday had other ideas, as seen in this YouTube video…

The stupid actions of one violent cop put several cyclists at risk of injury, and will doubtlessly fan a lot of negative feelings in the bike community. Not cool. (The 22-year-old rookie officer, meanwhile, has been stripped of his badge and gun, per the Post.)