17 Arrested at Critical Mass Ride
November 27th, 2004 9:05 am US/Eastern
Seventeen cyclists were arrested in Manhattan on the night of the monthly Critical Mass bike ride, police said.
About 500 cyclists gathered in Union Square Park for the Friday night ride, but police said they would be arrested if they rode in a group, according to Bill Dipaola, an event coordinator for Time’s Up, an environmental group that promotes the rides.
Some riders walked their bikes away from the park and began riding a few blocks away, Dipaola said. Some regrouped in Washington Square Park, and others went to Times Square, he said.
Seventeen people were arrested on various charges including disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic, said said Sgt. Michele Irizarry, a police spokeswoman.
There have been arrests at the rides every month since August, when more than 250 people were taken into custody on the Friday night before the Republican National Convention.
In September, nine people were arrested and 40 bikes were seized. Five cyclists then sued the city, claiming the bikes were wrongfully confiscated, and a federal judge ruled that police could not take bicycles unless their riders violated the law. At October’s ride, 35 participants were arrested.
Police have sought to block the rides unless the participants get a permit. A federal judge has given the cyclists until Nov. 30 to respond. Then city has until Dec. 6 to counter their reply. A hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 8.
Critical Mass rides take place on the last Friday of every month in cities around the world. Riders say they have many reasons for participating, but many say they want to promote bicyclists’ rights and environmentally friendly transportation.
Copyright 2004, MMIV Infinity Broadcasting Corp.