2004-09-24 Hundreds of Cyclists Gear Up – NY1

Hundreds Of Cyclists Gear Up To Swarm Streets Of Manhattan
NY1 (New York)
Not credited
September 24th, 2004


Hundreds of protesting bicyclists are getting ready to swarm the streets
of Manhattan again Friday night, and police say they are ready.

The environmental activist group Critical Mass plans to hold another one
of its monthly bike rides tonight near Union Square. There are so many
riders that they literally take control of the streets away from cars.

The protest is intended to promote an environmentally friendly
transportation system and an alternative to cars.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says although the message may be valid, the
method of protesting is not, and said traffic jams caused by the
group will not be tolerated.

“They believe that cars are a bad thing, everybody should ride bicycles,
and they have a right to disrupt traffic to push their favorite method
of transportation,” said Bloomberg. “I don’t know that I disagree with
them in terms of cars causing pollution or cars using a disproportionate
amount of the street for one passenger, but you don’t have a right to
go and stop other people.”

Prior to last month’s arrests, no one had ever been arrested at the
monthly bike rides, which have taken place on the last Friday of each
month for the past six years. Last month’s ride came in the midst of
the Republican Convention.

Two hundred and sixty-four people were arrested and some had their bikes

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says while the NYPD aims to avoid another
mass arrest, officers will arrest as many protesters as necessary.

“We look to work with this group, trying to have a peaceful demonstration,”
said Kelly. “We’ll help them or faciliate them. We can’t have them go,
perhaps as many as 1,000 bicyclists, go wherever they want to go, ride
up on the sidewalk, stop traffic, bring about violent confrontations.”

Police are handing out flyers to riders reminding them to follow traffic

Copyright © 2004 NY1 News.