There were two serious Critical Mass incidents last Friday evening; one in New York, and one in Seattle. In New York City a cop was video-recorded knocking a cyclist from his bike, later the video appeared on U-Tube.
The incident in Seattle, I think is far more serious, but it has been overshadowed by the one in New York. I wasn't in Seattle so I don't know the details or who started it, but the facts appear to be that a car had its windows smashed, tires were slashed and the driver was attacked.
If someone runs over a cyclist by either by accident or deliberately, he can be prevented from leaving the scene until the police arrive. However, it is not okay to vandalize his car and hit him over the head with a U-lock; this is mob violence of the worst kind.
Critical Mass in the US needs to cease, it no longer serves any useful purpose. If there are more incidents like the one in Seattle, eventually someone is going to die. If a member of the public is beaten to death by a mob of angry cyclists, there will be a backlash against all cyclists, the like of which I find hard to even imagine.
There are enough people out there with a strong dislike even a hatred for cyclists, one that is bubbling just beneath the surface; the death of what would be perceived as an innocent citizen, and no cyclist would be safe anywhere in the US. It would be open season for bike riders on our roads.
The problem with Critical Mass is that it has no organization; it is a spontaneous form of protest. The danger is, with no one responsible for the behavior of individuals, violence can become just as spontaneous.
If no one is responsible, then everyone is responsible. It is time to protest against Critical Mass, to urge people not to participate. The idea has run its course and is no longer valid. It is no longer cool to be a part of a lawless mob that disrupts the normal way of life, pisses people off, and worst of all perpetrates violence.
I could maybe have a little more sympathy for the New York cyclist if he was not taking part in a Critical Mass ride, not my favorite organization. (Or rather disorganization.) I could also have a little more sympathy if it were not for the Seattle incident.
What I saw on the U-Tube video before the cyclist was taken down was a large group of cyclists taking up the entire street unnecessarily; they could have made the same point using half the street. What I saw after was no different from what I can see any evening on the TV program “Cops.” People suspected of wrongdoing are knocked down and handcuffed all the time.
I keep reading wonderful things about New York City and the efforts they are making to accommodate cyclists. I am left to wonder what are these people protesting against, when NYC is really trying to improve the cyclist's lot.
Do you think maybe that same thought was going through the cop’s mind, just before he took out the cyclist?