2004-12-31 CM Without A Hitch - NY1

New Year's Eve Critical Mass Bike Ride Goes Off Without A Hitch


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NY1 News


December 31th, 2004


By Amanda Farinacci

Critical Mass cyclists rang in the New Year with another of their monthly rides Friday night.

The city had requested an injunction to stop the riders from holding the event until particpants got a permit. However, a judge denied that request last week.

Riders say the ruling gives them a chance to celebrate and continue to work toward creating a cleaner New York City.

NY1's Amanda Farinacci was at the ride, and she filed this report.

Hundreds of cyclists took to the streets to ring in the New Year, riding in a rally.

It's just a nice evening to ride, said Critical Mass rider Warren Karp. It’s the last day of the year; why not go for a ride?

It's a fantastic event with a really deep history in this city, and it's a lot of people who gather to celebrate the city and to celebrate people who are committed to getting around it in ways that are less destructive, said fellow rider Danielle Sered.

Critical Mass riders, who promote alternate modes of transportation, gathered at Union Square last night, despite objections from the city. The city requested a federal injunction to stop the rides until they get a permit, citing safety and security issues.

Last week, a judge ruled the rides don't need a permit, because for 10 years previously, police had been letting the rallies go forward without a permit.

It was reasonable on the judge's part. The cops have been assisting the ride for the past 10 years, said Critical Mass rider Seth Prince.

We really shouldn't even be in court, said civil liberties lawyer Norman Siegel. I think that the Police Department's interpretation of the law is wrong.

The case stems from this summer's ride before the Republican National Convention, when 260 riders were arrested for traffic violations. Riders in that case say they were unfairly arrested, and many were wary of authorities at Friday's ride.

However, with a much smaller turnout than usual, police presence did not appear heavy.

You have to obey the rules, said Critical Mass rider John Macintosh. You're part of the traffic, and you have to stop at red lights and yield right of way and things like that, and if you do that there shouldn't be any problems.

Critical Mass riders NY1 spoke with say they have special resolutions for 2005.

To stay on my bike - I'm not getting off my bike, said rider Dan Leeb.

I wish Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg would fulfill his promise to become the transportation mayor, added fellow rider Pat Russell. He rides the subway, but I wish he'd get on his bike and come down and ride with us.

Ride organizers say they wouldn't even think of riding through Times Square, but they did head uptown to Central Park to watch the fireworks after the ball dropped.

Copyright 2005, NY1 News