[*BCM*] A report from the front lines of last night's CM
Hiroyuki G Yamada
hyamada at MIT.EDU
Tue Aug 9 11:02:54 EDT 2011
I'm all for asserting my rights as a cyclist in Boston. I think CM does a
relatively good job of that, but when I see things like this (the
*unnecessary* corking for an extended period of time), all I can think is
that it's going to infuriate some people. There may be those who say "oh
those silly cyclists, look at them go," but most will think "dammit get the
fork out of the way, I'm already 2 hours into my friday night commute!"
- Riding in a big mass, for safety, visibility, and for fun == good
- Riding through the tunnel at Harvard, whooping and enjoying the night,
without obstructing traffic significantly more than we do on any other
street at any other point in the mass == good
- Corking, to maintain that safe "critical mass," before moving the ride
in its entirety on to another location == good
- Corking for a few minutes at a single intersection, just to circlejerk
and holler gleefully at the drivers stuck at the red light == *not good*
Yes, asserting your rights in an obnoxious and aggressive fashion will
result in change *eventually* (if all the aggressive car-loving drivers in
the world are stopped from breeding and eventually die off...). In the short
run, however, it will piss people off and generate road rage. either
immediately, like this past month, or in the longer-term. what about the
next time that driver is cut off by a bike, still with the foul taste of
encountering a rowdy CM in his mouth. when it's not 300 bikes, but 1 or 2;
maybe he drives too fast, too close. maybe he doesn't indicate and just
takes a sharp right turn. maybe he kills you.
CM, and anytime anyone rides a bike anywhere on any street in any city, is
putting all of cycling, all cyclists everywhere, on trial. every time you
run a red light, or every time you don't indicate before turning, every time
you break even minor traffic laws (which cyclists are required to follow, as
a vehicle on the road) you make cyclists a less legitimate occupant of the
road. and yes, corking an intersection for an impromptu dance party falls
into the category of "breaking the law."
*TL;DR -- we need to promote sharing the road, not fighting for it.* *that's
not a battle we can win.*
(note: I wasn't at this CM, so I don't know how long the intersection was
blocked off, or how dangerous the road rage was. I've seen similar
situations, though, at CMs in Boston and elsewhere, where drivers are
unnecessarily antagonized and provoked, simply for the sake of "taking back
On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 10:38 AM, Matthew Gilbert <mpgbikes at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 9:22 AM, Mars <martian at mit.edu> wrote:
>> I think it's fair to say that the message received (as as this action is
>> the sole reason I stopped riding with CM) by motorists is a clear "ha ha
>> fuck you". It is my opinion that this type of behavior is doing nothing but
>> making cycling conditions in Boston MUCH worse. Thanks, and good job.
> Some of us don't see it that way. Did you catch this?
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> From: Rebecca Albrecht <ralbrecht at speakeasy.net>
>> Date: Sun, Aug 7, 2011 at 12:59 PM
>> Subject: Re: [*BCM*] Bostoncriticalmass Digest, Vol 85, Issue 3
>> To: list at bostoncriticalmass.org
>> I am
>> uncomfortable with the circling at the intersection of Comm.Ave.&
>> Harvard Street & I usually leave at that point since I am close to my
>> home. It’s a big intersection that requires corking for about seven
>> lanes of traffic so I understand the empowerment that is felt to have
>> those streets for a short period of time. I found it interesting that
>> the video clip of the corking at the July CM ride was 34 seconds long.
>> My guess is that the bike riders were there at most for one minute. Not
>> an awfully long time for cars to be held up except of course it was
>> bicycles that were obstructing them. In general very few cars are
>> affected by CM on the vast expanse of our city streets. There have been
>> a few times when I had been in my car during CM & I had hoped that our
>> paths would cross. Most people seem happy to see us and give us high
>> fives or a friendly toot on their car horns. Car drivers need to chill
>> out because CM passes fairly quickly but some car drivers are rude & hey
>> they just ruin it for all of us more tolerant, fun-loving car drivers!
> However you see the message, there is no way that a group of anyone drawing
> attention to themselves and asserting their rights is going to lead to worse
> conditions. Not unless we happen to live in a repressive fascist state,
> which we don't.
> And what would you have us do, then? Crowd on to the road alongside the
> cars like we do every day? Split the ride into small, un-assertable groups
> at every stop light? What is your vision for a better, bike-friendlier
> Boston and how do you propose we get there?
> Boston Critical Mass mailing list
> list at bostoncriticalmass.org
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