2004-12-30 Cyclists to Celebrate Federal Ruling

December 30th, 2004

In Two-Wheeled Victory Lap, Critical Mass Cyclists to Celebrate
Federal Ruling on New Year’s Eve

Riders to Drop Off Coats at NYPD Precinct
in First “Winter-Coat Drive Critical Mass”

New York, NY — Hundreds of cyclists will gather Friday for their
monthly Critical Mass ride to celebrate last week’s federal court
decision, in which Judge William H. Pauley III ruled that the cyclists
did not need a parade permit to continue their beloved ride. Friday
marks the first ever Winter Coat-Drive Critical Mass, which will help
collect unneeded coats and jackets (no sweaters, please!) brought to
the ride by cyclists and deliver them to coat drop off centers at
local NYPD precincts.

In an annual competition, organized by NY Cares, precincts compete
against one another to see which will receive the most donated coats!
(See www.nycares.org for more info.)

In light of last week’s ruling, Critical Mass riders hope for an
end to the arrests that began at August’s ride prior to the Republican
National Convention.

“Judge Pauley’s ruling legitimized what cyclists have been saying
all along: that we’re not stopping traffic, WE ARE TRAFFIC! Traffic
doesn’t need a permit,” said Leah Rorvig, a volunteer with TIME’S UP!,
an environmental advocacy organization that promotes the ride.

In his decision, Judge Pauley wrote: “The applicability of the
parade permit has not been adequately delineated by any federal or
state court decision.” In so ruling, Judge Pauley affirmed the right
of New York City’s cyclists to gather and ride together in Critical
Mass. In an earlier decision in the same case, Judge Pauley granted
five cyclist’s injunction to prevent illegal bicycle confiscation by
the police.

“We believe that the judge was legally correct, and hopefully the
strength of his legal argument will deter the city from seeking to
appeal,” said attorney Norman Siegel, who represented cyclists in the

“As Judge Pauley pointed out, Critical Mass has been going on
peacefully for more than a decade. The only thing that’s changed in
recent months is the sudden police hostility towards the ride,” said
Bill DiPaola, a TIME’S UP! volunteer. “The holiday season is a time
for peace and love. In the spirit of the season, I hope the police
respect the beautiful community event that is Critical Mass and avoid
making further arrests.”

TIME’S UP! recently created a legal defense fund, which will help
those cyclists whose bikes have been confiscated, aid those who were
arrested for riding in Critical Mass, and attempt to repay both the
private attorneys and the National Lawyers Guild attorneys who
generously advised and represented cyclists in legal proceedings.

Started in San Francisco in 1992, Critical Mass rides now take
place monthly in almost 400 cities on six continents. Critical Mass is
an organic and self-sustaining event with no leaders and no central
organization. In every city that has a Critical Mass ride, some local
residents simply picked a date, time, and location for the ride and
publicized it, and thus the ride was born.

Schedule of Events for Friday, Dec. 31:

7:00 p.m., Union Square North — Critical Mass cyclists gather to
collect coats for the coat drive. Shortly thereafter, the ride will
depart and stop at a local police precinct nearby to deliver the
donated coats.

8:30 – 10:20 p.m. — INTERMISSION party at the TIME’S UP! Space, 49
East Houston Street

10:30 p.m., North Side of Washington Square Park — Cyclists will
gather for the start of the seventh annual TIME’S UP! New Year’s Eve
PARTY ON WHEELS, featuring a ride to Central Park’s Belvedere Castle
to watch the evenings fireworks display organized by the Road Runners
Club. See www.times-up.org for details!