February 24, 2005
Prosecuting Critical Mass Bike Rides
Bike Riders Urge City to Spend $$$ on Housing, Education
New York, NY — Manhattan’s car-clogged streets will once again be
reclaimed by hundreds of cyclists this Friday during the monthly
Critical Mass bike ride. At least one arrest has occurred at every
Critical Mass ride since August 2004, when the arrest of 264 cyclists
prior to the start of the Republican National Convention marked the
beginning of a period of intense police interference with the
“New York City has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to
stop a bike ride that promotes environmentally sustainable
transportation. We’re intending to file a FOIL action to find out
what it costs the city every time they send a police helicopter to
purportedly watch a bunch of us ride around the city on bikes,” said
Matthew Roth, a regular Critical Mass participant and volunteer with
TIME’S UP!, an environmental advocacy organization.
For years prior to the August 2004 Critical Mass, the NYPD had
maintained a minimal presence at the monthly rides, with police
scooters escorting cyclists. But since the now famed August 2004
ride, every month police have deployed dozens — sometimes hundreds —
of officers as well as communications vans and even helicopters to the
event. A police injunction to attempt to force cyclists to obtain a
parade permit for the ride was denied by federal Judge William H.
Pauley III in a December ruling.
“With the new federal budget crushing social service programs and
with a city that faces enormous fiscal problems, we should be spending
money on issues that matter: education, affordable housing, and health
care. Shame on the Bloomberg Administration for wasting the City’s
precious dollars policing one of many non-permitted bike rides; it
makes about as much sense as the West Side Stadium project,” said
Leah Rorvig, a regular Critical Mass participant and volunteer with
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.
Video footage of the Critical Mass ride will be available upon
WHAT: Critical Mass Bike Rides
WHEN: 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: The ride begins at Union Square North and follows a route
determined by the riders as they go.
ON THE WEB: