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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Critical Mass or Critical "Mess"?

Looks like the police are cracking down on Critical Mass. Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa is calling it "critical mess."

I've always had a love/hate relationship with Critical Mass, it's an amazing thing to see, but not if you're in a car trying to get around the city the last Friday of every month. After all, the event is a protest, so those thousands of people while having a good time, are still breaking laws in some instances.

Orosa wants to sit down with organizers and make it a organized. Can you organize thousands of bicylists?

Critical Mass has never needed permits before because it's a "spontaneous" thing, people just show up and ride. The problem is there are just too many of them, they clog traffic lanes and some get violent, they go through red lights and really just control the streets trying to prove some sort of point.

One rider said that it's not a good idea for them to stop at red lights because it would just slow the ride down. 

Orosa sent a couple of certified letters to Rydel Deed, founder of The Miami Bike Scene, warning him to get the necessary permits. And telling him to have the riders act in a reasonable and responsible manner.

Miami Bike Scene just posts a map of each month's ride, so I'm not sure if they should be responsible; they post everything bicycle related from the Bike Prom to stolen bicycle alerts.  It's like me posting the Halloween listings for Coconut Grove, here in the Grapevine and then being responsible for the thousands of people that show up on Halloween night.

Critical Mass began in the early 90s in San Francisco. The main purpose was to show drivers that bikers are out there and the streets should be shared.

I do have to admit that I get giddy when I see all the bicyclists coming through, I have stopped and watched in awe with my mouth open just taking in the scene. I also have gotten frustrated by their overtaking of local streets. 

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25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Critical Mess should be banned, it's dangerous and unreasonable. Certainly at a minimum, cops should camp out at the intersections they plan to ride through and arrest those riders that do not obey traffic laws.

June 26, 2014 6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While driving home one time from Friday dinner with wife & kids, we were cut off on Bayshore & Mary Street by a group of cyclists who threw a huge fit when I honked at them for nearly crashing into our car. One of the morons even rushed the car screaming obscenities with our baby crying and younger son asking "daddy what's going on???". He's lucky I did not blast him in the face & claim I was protecting my family from a madman in spandex.

June 26, 2014 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all for bicycle safety and adding bike lanes to major streets in Miami, (Bayshore Drive for example) but this is just obnoxious.
Some of these ideas work better on the "left" coast for a variety of political and cultural reasons than in Miami.

June 26, 2014 10:31 AM  
Blogger Sledge said...

There are good, educated cyclists and drivers, and then others. Critical Mass is only 20 mins on Friday, and serves a good purpose: educating cyclists and drivers on how to co-exist. We all need to get better at it. Share the road.

June 26, 2014 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be reasonable folks. How do you ban a bunch of cyclists? Use your head...
So if 20 people decide to cycle together do we ban them? There are dozens of such groups on any given weekend. What if the group gets up to 50? Where do you draw the line? What if a group of 500 splits in half? Is it allowed then? Who is going to count? What if 1,000 cyclists stop at every stop sign and light? Is that going to speed things up for the cars in line? I understand that cars and cyclists should obey laws.. But I also understand that this is hugely popular (thus the current attention) and more like a parade than an actual leisurely bike ride. By the way you don't arrest a driver for running a stop sign. You stop them, ask them a bunch of questions, run their drivers license, and issue a citation. All together it takes about an hour. So what is your logical proposal for the bikers? Write 1,500 citations? At 1,500 man hours a cop would probably be writing tickets till 2AM.

DKF

June 26, 2014 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sledge, you once again prove that you are bad with numbers. Riders begin meeting up between an hour and 30 minutes prior to the event start. They also cover over 12 miles. That's hardly "20 minutes."

Also, I like how they promote sharing the road by blocking whole intersections. Don't believe me? They have a diagram on their Facebook page showing bicyclists blocking an intersection and it is labeled as "safe." Sharing the road? More like taking over.

June 26, 2014 3:45 PM  
Anonymous That Guy said...

Yep, bikes take over the roads for a short time once a month. Cars take them all the rest of the time. You guys are right, that is not fair - bikes aren't getting equal time. maybe Critical Mass should be more often - like every day.

Or, you could just realize that this is a short period of time once per month, and avoid driving, or realize that there will be traffic issues.

We block/disrupt traffic for a lot worse reasons - eg - any sports team, even college level, traveling to or from games. low level politicians with police escorts, etc.

Maybe we should just have 1 hour a month, when it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle other than true emergency situations - why not????

June 26, 2014 4:05 PM  
Anonymous GroveGirl said...

I rode with CM in the early days. It was a great group of people and we were respectful. The stops for refreshments and food were great for small businesses and everyone gained from the experience. I, and many others stopped riding with the group when the morons took over.

Traffic laws are in place to protect us all. When we as cyclist choose to ignore traffic laws and block intersections for 30 min to over an hour, then we become the problem. Sorry critical mass, your original mission has been lost to those too ignorant to care about bicycle access, road sharing, and safety. Shame on you for ruining a great event.

To the non-cycling world -- we are NOT all a bunch of morons. Thank you.

June 26, 2014 4:32 PM  
Anonymous GroveGirl said...

Hey "That Guy" you are one of the morons. Get a clue. Being "That Guy" is not a good thing.

I ride all the time. And I am cautious. As the 2nd smallest mobile unit on the road (skateboards are smaller) I do what I do when I drive, I look and I obey traffic laws. Maybe you should try that for yourself. If you do you may just find that cars are not always trying to run you over. Just saying...

June 26, 2014 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off Chief Orosa should ban texting/talking on the phone while driving. This happens every moment of the day in Miami and we all know it is more dangerous than drunk driving. Scores of people have certainly been killed because of someone texting/Phoning in Miami. GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT Chief!!!!!

June 26, 2014 6:03 PM  
Anonymous That Guy said...

Grove Girl,

There is no reason for a personal attack on me or for you to make assumptions about me and what I do. I don't take part in Critical Mass, but I've considered it. Moreover, I am very cautious when riding either my bike, my motorcycle, or driving my car.

I was merely making a reasonable point, and what I thought was an intriguing suggestion - an hour a month without cars would be amazing - on so many levels. In addition, I made the comparison to the other inconveniences foisted upon the citizenry that delays our oh so important travel in this city, with far less noble objectives.

Please take a pill or something, your vitriol is not warranted here. Good day.

June 26, 2014 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Historically speaking "critical mass" and/or the forming of groups; the beer halls (Hitler), the "Crusade's", etc., etc., etc., football, soccer, war(s); just several years ago it was the bicyclist vs. the skateboarders, vs. the pedestrian's, etc., etc., etc., when you see em just stay away as if they were a swam of African piss-off bees. Jobie Steppe

June 26, 2014 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When cyclists are required to pay road taxes like cars are required to every time we fill up then let them "share" the road.

June 26, 2014 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taxes, taxes and more taxes will solve all your problems by funding corrupt officials to fill their donors bank accounts. Is there any freedom left untaxed? Soon you will be taxed for leaving comments, if you don't believe me read about new restrictions on net neutrality.

June 26, 2014 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, I'm all for bicycle safety, and I really think the city and county have been coming around to the need for more biker friendly roads. What I'm not into are flash mobs that jam up the streets for long periods of time, which is basically what Critical Mass is. I really think this is just an exhibition stunt and thrill ride and not about raising bicycle awareness.

June 26, 2014 8:13 PM  
Blogger Grovie Mom said...

Maybe cyclists should start getting pulled over and ticketed for failing to obey the laws.

June 26, 2014 9:34 PM  
Blogger William Anderson said...

I support CM, as let's be honest - Miami has much larger and more important issues for the Police to foucus on. Our chief is spending time on this issue... I would think violent crime would be the most pressing issue.

And CM just doesn't happen that often to require this much attention. Plus it's cool that such a thing can even happen in Miami.

June 27, 2014 5:17 AM  
Blogger Sledge said...

Anon, first get a name if you wanna point fingers.

Second, yes, to any driver the MAXIMUM inconvenience would be 20 minutes on some Friday if not 10 minutes or less. Comprende Einstein?

June 27, 2014 7:34 AM  
Blogger Sledge said...

Agreed. Bikes and cars no to learn how to co-exist, and they will HAVE to, like it or not. Traffic gets worse every day, people get more and more OBESE in their cars driving through always in a hurry through mc Donalds..

I hardly ever drive anymore in the Grove or nearby, the bile is a lot more fun, healthier and even more effective for small errands.

One favorite errand I may recommend right now, hop on a bike in the old Grove, back around Tiger Tail and collect some delicious mangoes. they're all over. Enjoy the ride, take some pictures and take it easy!

June 27, 2014 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Sludge said...

You didn't say inconvenience, you said "Critical Mass is only 20 mins on Friday." So apparently you don't "comprende" what you wrote.

For the record, last time I got caught in a critical mess event, I was delayed 45 minutes in what should be a 10 minute drive.

June 27, 2014 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if some anon claims to have once in his life been delayed 45 minutes, we should probably break out the pitchforks and torches and go burn these monsters. Who are they to once per month delay oblivious people who failed to note that it was the one day per month that critical mass occurs, then failed to avoid the very limited effected area during the very limited effected time.

Let's get 'em boys!!! whoooo hoooooo

seriously, listen to yourself sometimes...

June 27, 2014 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

someone will wind up taking over CM similar to what happened with the kind mango strut and commercialize it essentially ruining the spirit of it. nothing is sacred anymore.

June 27, 2014 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What I'm not into are flash mobs that jam up the streets for long periods of time, which is basically what Critical Mass is."

Yeah. Except that they are scheduled on the last Friday of every month, and the route is publicized. Other than that, they're just like a flash mob... In other words a flash mob without a flash...

Yeah getting caught behind a bunch of bikers can be frustrating. So can getting caught behind a funeral procession. Of at the bridge opening on Brickell. If you are ever in this position just take a deep breath and enjoy the view...life is short...

DK

June 27, 2014 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today it happen again I have a green light i get cut off by a bike rider I honk the horn to warn him what do I get from him and his tiny pack a great middle finger and screaming profanity . This has to stop they have to follow the law just like cars and motorcycle. By law they have to and can get tickets for not following the law. Next time I am going to get a bunch of friends on tricycles ( 3 wheels children toys) and block them on the road and see what they do when we stop at a red light.

June 29, 2014 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I have observed it appears that this critical mass event isn't composed of dedicated bicyclist. I define dedicated as those who ride regularly, say twice weekdays and several times on weekends. CM riders appear to be much heavier/big, couch potato types, both males & females - out of shape where the dedicated bicyclist are 95% slim, muscular and go very, very fast. Why the difference? Could this be a class issue?

June 29, 2014 8:38 PM  

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