Police Critical of Bikers – Nab 33 The NY Daily News
October 30, 2004
By David Epstein
COPS ROUNDED up 33 bicyclists who strayed from the designated path of last night’s Critical Mass ride, authorities said. A day after a federal judge denied an NYPD request to stop the event, police handed out flyers in Union Square telling bikers they could ride but had to stick to a particular route. Those who didn’t were busted, cops said. “Whatever the court’s expectation, Critical Mass . . . posed unacceptable safety hazards,” Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said. The monthly event, which advocates alternate forms of transportation, raced into the news in August when 264 cyclists were arrested in a huge ride before the Republican National Convention. Last night’s rally drew about 1,000 people, some in Halloween costumes. Police told bikers to ride north from Union Square on Park Ave., turn on E. 55th St., and go back downtown on Broadway. Critical Mass had never before had a predetermined route, and some surprised riders said they did not even realize they had veered off it. “I followed two cops on motorcycles the whole way,” said Scott Kerns, 50, a medical researcher from Kips Bay who was cuffed at W. 26th St. and 10th Ave. “I got off my bike and followed the cops. They told me to wait and then they arrested everybody.
” Police said errant riders were a traffic hazard. They “rode against oncoming traffic and stop signals,” according to Browne. But some bikers thought the cops should hit the road. “I got picked up walking my bike from work,” said East Village resident Lou Asaro, 25. Cops shut down an after-party at the Time’s Up storefront at 49 E. Houston St. after a plainclothes officer got into a confrontation inside. About 30 patrol cars arrived and shut down the south side of Houston. Witnesses said at least four people were arrested.