Critical mess

Starting in the early 1990s, on the last Friday of every month, bicyclists in San Francisco take to the road in the evening to flex their muscles — and to prove to cars that massed bicycles can create gridlock. (I always liken it to the fact that enough mosquitoes can kill a horse by draining it of all blood.) I was living in San Francisco during both my pregnancies and had this terrible fear that I’d go into labor on a Critical Mass evening, blocking my access to the hospital. As it happened, I avoided that outcome, but it was a worry that I always thought should have been unnecessary. That is, I don’t think a City should allow its streets to be rendered impassable on a monthly basis because of mob activity.

It turns out that I wasn’t so far afield in my worries about the mob mentality (as opposed to the bicyclist joie de vivre) behind Critical Mass. This past Friday, it turned into a terrorist attack on a family in a minivan:

It was supposed to be a birthday night out for the kids in San Francisco, but instead turned into a Critical Mass horror show — complete with a pummeled car, a smashed rear window and little children screaming in terror.

The spontaneous Critical Mass bike rides, in which thousands of free-spirited cyclists roam the city, have been a fixture on the last Friday night of the month since the early 1990s. But even bike-weary cops, who have seen their share of traffic disturbances and minor skirmishes, weren’t prepared for what happened during the latest exercise of pedal power.

Here’s the story:

Susan Ferrando, her husband, their two children and three preteens had come to San Francisco from Redwood City to celebrate the birthday of Ferrando’s 11-year-old daughter. They went to Japantown, where they enjoyed shopping and taking in the blooming cherry blossoms.

Things took a turn for the worse at about 9 p.m., when the family was leaving Japantown — just as the party of about 3,000 bikers was winding down its monthly red-lights-be-damned ride through the city.

Suddenly, Ferrando said, her car was surrounded by hundreds of cyclists.

Not being from San Francisco, Ferrando thought she might have inadvertently crossed paths with a bicycle race and couldn’t figure out why the police, who she had just passed, hadn’t warned her.

Confusion, however, quickly turned to terror, she said, when the swarming cyclists began wildly circling around and then running into the sides of her Toyota van.

Filled with panic, Ferrando said, she started inching forward until coming to a stop at Post and Gough streets, where she was surrounded by bikers on all sides.

A biker in front blocked her as another biker began pounding on the windshield. Another was pounding on her window. Another pounded the other side.

“It seemed like they were using their bikes as weapons,” Ferrando said. One of the bikers then threw his bike — shattering the rear window and terrifying the young girls inside.

All the while, Ferrando was screaming, “There are children in this car! There are children in this car!”

She had the presence of mind to dial 911 on her cell phone — and within minutes, the squad of motorcycle cops who were assigned to keep an eye on the ride descended on the scene.

Horrible as all of the above is, there’s actually more, which you can read here. By the way, I can virtually guarantee you that the same people involved in this incident are the people you’ll see at the types of rallies recorded here.

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

UPDATE: The Chronicle has more on the story today, showing the bicyclists doing what looks like factual retrofitting (see my comment in the comment section below).

UPDATE II: John’s comment was so interesting, I followed up on it. The following are a few examples of “advisories” and “suggestions” from websites supportive of the critical mass phenom.

One site has detailed strategies for dealing with cars, none of which involve actually following the rules of the road, some of which are illegal, and all of which have the potential, when mixed with the cares that have a right to be on the road can end up being obstructionist and threatening:

TRAFFIC TACTICS

When bicyclists take to the streets en masse, there will be a certain percentage of motorists who will not be amused. These motorists—a minority, to be sure—will have a hard time seeing a group of bicyclists as legitimate traffic, and may insist on forcing their way through the crowd. The interference of these frustrated individuals, trapped as they are in their cars, are a CONSTANT problem for Critical Mass. Tactics have to be developed, understood, and implemented by as many people as possible in order to ensure that this problem does not become too much of a drag on an otherwise fun and good-natured ride. Here are the ones we’ve found work.

DENSITY—STAY TOGETHER!

Think of Critical Mass as a density. It works by forming a mass of bicyclists so dense and tight that it simply displaces cars. Anytime the ride begins to spread too thin, with areas large enough for a car to drive into, you have a potential trouble spot developing.

The simplest and easiest way to deal with this problem is to encourage people to be aware of what’s going on around them, and to act when they see things go awry. If a gap large enough for a car develops, someone needs to ride into it and call over a friend. If the head of the ride moves too fast and the Mass becomes too thin, someone in front needs to call out for people to slow down, and for the ride to regroup. The same goes for those at the tail of the ride, who may be riding so slow that the ride, again, spreads too thin. Diagrams on the route sheet pointing out trouble areas and regrouping points are a great way to bring all this across.

Density is vital in ensuring safety and a solid image of bicycling as practical, safe and fun for the ride’s participants. When Critical Mass is still passing through an intersection after the light has turned red, in rush hour traffic, it is important to justify the long wait for cross traffic by maintaining a steady mass of bicyclists riding through the intersection.

CORKS

Corks are the diplomats of the ride. Their title comes from their function. Here’s how they work: one or two bicyclists block each lane of oncoming traffic as the ride goes through an intersection, making sure that even if a gap large enough for a car to drive through should develop, cars are stopped where they are. This tactic is especially effective if the cork takes a friendly, non-antagonistic stance with motorists, even holding up signs that say “thanks for waiting” and “honk if you like bikes!” Corks need to protect the rear of the ride, too, from cars turning into it. Of course, no one needs to be officially designated as a cork, and people will largely take on this role of their own initiative.

Red Lights

Should Critical Mass obey the same traffic laws that motorized traffic follows? Yes and no. For the most part, traffic laws were made for cars, as anyone who routinely bicycles through stop signs can attest, and they certainly weren’t written with large groups of bicyclists in mind. So the answer to this question is obvious: Critical Mass should bend or ignore existing traffic laws where the group’s safety and effectiveness will be served, and follow the law where it serves our interests and needs.

Red lights are a perfect example of this principle. When the head of the ride reaches a red light, it only makes sense to stop. This way, a) no one endangers themselves by riding into oncoming traffic, b) we allow motorists the simple courtesy of their right of way, and c) we give ourselves an opportunity to stop, regroup and form a solid Mass. But if, as Critical Mass passes through an intersection, the light changes, it does not make sense to break into two groups, and the ride should just continue through the intersection, shielded from the waiting cars by corks. (Yes, from a safety and legal point of view, it makes perfect sense for those who miss the light to stop, just as cars would. The practical effect of this “the law doesn’t apply to us” attitude is gridlock on a frightening scale, not to mention a vast increase in pollution from the idling cars stuck in this mess. –Ed.)

Breaking Mass

When the Mass thins out too much to justify holding an intersection through a red light, it can be useful for someone to yell out “BREAK MASS!” The first section of Critical Mass would continue through the intersection and the second part would wait for the light to turn green. If all goes well, the two groups will be reunited at the next light. This tactic is most often used when the Mass gets larger and less cohesive. (Emphasis mine.)

A Berkeley site shows, in charmingly optimistic fashion, the anarchist side of critical mass (ignoring the ugly side of anarchism):

Anarchism and Critical Mass

You certainly don’t have to be an anarchist to participate in Critical Mass, but like so many other things in life (from going on a picnic to making love), anarchist principles are in effect.

Anarchism is the belief that people are fundamentally good, and fully capable of organizing themselves to allow maximum freedom without oppression and exploitation. Critical Mass is considered an anarchistic event in that there are no designated leaders or hierarchy, and because people spontaneously self-organize to protect and facilitate the ride.

Bicycling already appeals to the anarchistic sense in that it is more free and natural (like hang gliding or sailing) than driving a motor vehicle, and because each individual does ahz own work for travel in a way that essentially does not oppress others or the environment. Motor vehicles are fundamentally oppressive in numerous ways: from the noise, pollution, and danger that they inflict upon the commons, to the intense exploitation of labor and environmental resources that they require, to the anger and violence they engender.

Because Anarchism is the most credible and natural way to ethically organize a society, those who choose to be oppressors (who profit from exploiting workers and the environment) have always used their worst repression for Anarchists, and subsequently use predictable public relations strategies to demonize anything that liberates people via demonstrating anarchism in action.

This manifests itself with relation to Critical Mass in a number of ways. For one, there is no end to the frustrated reactionaries who claim that Critical Mass causes traffic havoc by disobeying traffic laws. This is most ironic as a critical mass of motorcars causes traffic havoc and indeed, mayhem and murder, everyday, and those participants routinely disobey traffic laws. Further, the traffic laws and traffic infrastructure (lights, lanes, parking, bridges, etc) are set up almost exclusively for the benefit of motorcars over bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit users. The idea that streets are solely for maximizing motorcar traffic is rooted in fascism. Why can’t the commons be used for the many wonderful ways of people, as well? Even as Anarchists are falsely characterized as terrorists, more people are run down by cars than are killed by firearms, and the number one reason people say they aren’t walking and biking more is fear of cars. And let’s not even discuss foreign policy.

And one site, in a single paragraph, makes us all aware of the Utopian idiocy powering the whole Critical Mass movement:

We know that you aren’t responsible for the organization of our cities around motorized traffic, and if we’ve contributed to your delay, WE’RE SORRY! But maybe you can take this opportunity to reflect on what a world without cars would be like. Or better yet, join us next time!

A world without cars (and feel free to join in): a world without access to medical care (leaving all women, like me, afraid to die in childbirth, as I would have with my second had I not had swift access to a hospital); a world without easy access to food; a world with less food altogether; a world of inbreeding and parochialism; and a world of minimal education. There’s a reason why, in every place in the world that has been exposed to cars, and that has achieved even the minimal economic wherewithal get cars, cars have instantly blossomed and multiplied. As anyone who has lived an old-fashioned, limited agrarian life knows, cars are a good thing and one of the blessings of the modern era. I’d love future cars to be less polluting, but I shudder at the thought of a world without them.

UPDATE III: Thomas Lifson, in a post about Critical Mass that is kind enough to link to me, makes a good point: although the bikers’ behavior was extreme, it wasn’t anomalous. They routinely harass drivers.

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  • Marvin

    Would it have been legal for them to shoot the attackers? I hope it would and I hope one day somebody does shoot a few of them.

  • Zhombre

    I doubt that would be legally justified, Marv. Besides, I’m fairly sure the City of San Fran doesn’t recognize the Second Amendment as an individual right. I suspect pointing your finger at somebody and saying ‘bang’ is considered a misdemeanor if not a low-grade felony there.

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Run. Them. Over. It’s APC vs insurgents with rocks and IBDs. (Improvised Bicycle Devices)

    “We sit there and they just go right through the red lights,” Sgt. Callejas said. “What else can we do? Arrest one rider while 500 keep going?

    Break out the riot gear and hose them down with water. It’s not like you’re going to stop traffic, right?

    As for reaction from City Hall, Mayor Gavin Newsom said such acts of violence — if true — “only serve to undermine the worthwhile message of Critical Mass, which is to raise the awareness of bike transportation issues.”

    Sure it raises awareness of bike transportation issues. Issues like bikes don’t need to obey traffic lights or safety procedures. Issues like how without Law and Order, corruption of the human spirit takes place and we have these things occuring, and accelerating.

    People in San Fran must think they can do anything unrestrained by law and order. The universe has a surprise for them, I dare say.

  • Trimegistus

    It’s beginning. Liberal hate for mainstream America is boiling over into violence. A family in a minivan represents everything they despise, so they attacked. It’s not politics, it’s total hatred for America and Americans.

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  • John Hags

    From the SF Chronicle:
    “Many witnesses state that Ferrando recklessly accelerated into a crowd and hit the bicyclist so hard the bike was lodged under her vehicle.”
    Although it’s horrible someone would smash the car window, the story sounds different when you know she purposely ran over the cyclist in question.

  • Chris

    I just read that story in the Chronicle, and I did not see the quote above. I saw unnamed witnesses who blamed the driver for starting the confrontation, and some quotes from one of the organizers, who claimed to have witnessed the event, that blamed both sides. The police report that the driver may have inadvertently tapped a bicycle.

    I guess San Francisco will have to ban bicycles now, because they can be used as weapons.

  • http://wytammic.wordpress.com/ wytammic

    I read about this yesterday on HotAir. I think these thugs should try this in other states and see what happens. It would be interesting in “Do Not Retreat” states.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Sorry, John (#8), that sounds like bicyclist retrofitting. In today’s Chron, the bikers suddenly announced that as a fact. However, both today’s Chron and the original story yesterday make it clear that no one was hurt — and that the alleged “victim” simply walked away without even pressing charges. The fact is, you have to have seen critical mass to appreciate what it’s like to be a car caught amongst these bikes.

    Keep in mind a car’s accelerative power, even at the lowest end of the speed — it’s more powerful than a bike and less wieldy. Then, remember that there are thousands of these bikes riding randomly across the road: running red lights, running stop signs, ignoring pedestrians, and turning all roads into one way streets. And consider that, even if it was true that she tapped a bicyclist (which seems to be the most she did), that’s not an excuse for vigilante justice against a vehicle filled with children.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    It used to be that when people saw a machine of war like a SUV, Tank, or APC they paid some respect to the superior force via simple pragmatic caution. Now a days, people are so coddled that they think they will go to heaven if they stand up to the Machine. Kids throwing rocks at Jewish tanks is one example of Rage Against the Machine.

    This is anti-survival, because technically, the car, tank, and APC can run you over and end your pathetic existence. Respect should be paid to such a power, even if you don’t like it. But alas, we live in a world where the powerful (The Good) are surrounded by little evil fools (Amanie and the Left). The lack of horrendous casualties inflicted upon the inferior party encourages bad behavior by the inferior party. The Meta-Golden Rule is destabilized, if inferiors can treat their superiors anyway they prefer without pain being on the way. For if there is no threat from a higher force, then people will misbehave like Iran misbehaved in taking people hostage in various times of human history.

    Jacksonians say smite any who resist the path of human enlightenment, but only if they get really close to your face. People can argue about who was right after they win. The people who act out are a destabilizing influence on the path of progress. Their behavior will only get worse the more they are rewarded and the less they are smited. This is of no benefit to anyone except an anarchist.

    Many witnesses state that Ferrando recklessly accelerated into a crowd

    Many Iraqi insurgent witnesses state (as opposed to claim) that American forces fired indiscriminately into the streets of Fallujah, killing women and children.

    Curiously, there seems to be a lack of dead bodies and respectful silence after all that smiting. Smiting just isn’t the way it used to be I guess. People spring back like Lazarus or something, acting like they were never hurt to begin with. Amazing. It is amazing because such acts should bring at least some intimidation value, it should bring at least some modicum of respectful silence. The Islamic Jihad seems to have achieved this respectful silence through their smiting of the infidels. What makes their consequences from acts of random mayhem different from people driving cars over bicyclists? Or cars over bystanders walking, for that matter.

    There’s this eternal struggle between victim and criminal, that I find interesting. Because a lot of human behavior can be directly attributed to the desire to initiate violence and use momentum to become powerful, contrasted with victimhood which is the psychological integration of feeling and being helpless.

    There are just as many victims who wish to stay victims as there are victims who wish to fight back. But who initiated force is always constant.

    I asked what makes so and so different, and this is it. Who initiates force and who responds to force with force.

    Because the person that initiated force will always say that his target did something or this to deserve being targeted. It is an internal rationalization that has little to do with the constant.

    For any two parties, only one of them initiated force. Defined as physical violence on people’s persons or property. Just to discard all the libel and personal attacks. Forget about those.

    Those who initiate violence know that they have the advantage of surprise. They can shock and awe you, and carry this momentum for personal gains. That’s why they often lie about it being your fault, because as the attacker they have an advantage and therefore wish to keep it, and they will keep it by keeping you always on the defensive. You will always react to their violence, never they reacting to yours. They give you no respect because you cannot make them.

    As I said, this is an interesting duality. Remember John Kerry attacking the Swift Boats for making things up, when Kerry was the one who was not only the one who was actually doing those things, but was the one who made them up first?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Bicyclists who witnessed the event countered that Ferrando had accelerated recklessly through a crowd of riders, hitting one and knocking him from his bike, then attempted to flee the scene before riders surrounded the vehicle.

    Ooo, I can just see it now. 3 people on Bikes (not motorcycles) standing in front of a car going 55 miles per hour. That’s a really courageous stand right there. I don’t think you can pay me enough for me to do that.

    She did, however, condemn the confrontation, saying, “The driver started a chain of violence that escalated. Both sides are to blame.”

    See Book. The driver started a chain of violence. The US started the war of aggression. We’re just fighting back, like freedom fighters, fighting for the good of us all through bicycling and good environment…

    Sometimes human self-deception is a group’s highest economic product.

    “the aggression (against bicyclists) happening on our streets every day of the month.”

    The “aggression” of the United States “military industrial complex” in the holy lands of Arabia… that must be why they hate us, must be.

    Like I said to Laer, there’s always a successor. There was on to Nazism, one to Communism, and there will be on after the Islamic Jihad is dead and gone. Human beings love anarchy and chaos. Well, except for the Law and Order folks, but you know how they are.

  • dpt

    Welcome to liberal and tolerant San Francisco.
    This is Pelosi’s America!

  • Danny Lemieux

    Let’s see – family, mini-van, lives in suburbs…yep, Republicans! Must be humiliated and eliminated. Anyone remember Don Sutherland in that last scene from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”?

  • John

    It’s well known among CM participants that cyclists will pull in front of cars and ride as slowly and erratically as possible on purpose so as to encourage an “accident”. Then the cyclist(s) feign outrage over the “crazy” motorist. I’ve seen this written as a suggestion in comments sections on several CM websites. If the mini van raced recklessly in the cyclists, where is the photo of the damaged bicycle? How about a photo or medical report of the injured cyclist?

  • Greg

    1 – way to water own the notion of terrorism to very thin soup.
    2 – a car might be useful, but literally shuddering at the prospect of life without a car signals it is time for the ‘get a life’ comment to show up :p

  • Nora

    Your use of the phrase “terrorist attack” is extremely loaded, unnecessary, and wrong. Compounding the (wrong) actions of Critical Mass with terrorist activity just shows you do not respect true rhetoric and you delight in confusing true threats for ulterior purposes. It is Orwellian language at its best, and does not fool anyone.

  • http://www.marchhareshouse.blogspot.com March Hare

    “Bicycling already appeals to the anarchistic sense in that it is more free and natural (like hang gliding or sailing) than driving a motor vehicle, and because each individual does ahz own work for travel in a way that essentially does not oppress others or the environment.”

    An interesting comment as sailors have to obey The Rules of the Road on bodies of water as well.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Nora, considering that it was an attack meant to inspire fear and terror into people, terrorist attack is accurate. In this, it different from other criminal activities that have different goals such as theft, sexual assault, greed or passion inspired murder, etc. If your goal is to create terror, you’re a terrorist.

  • mary martha

    I am a cyclist who rides to work every day weather permitting here in the suburbs of Chicago. Idiots like this make all cyclists look bad.

    I have been hit by a car. It was an accident, they didn’t see me – the driver felt worse than I did. Let me tell you – when a cyclist is REALLY hit by a car they don’t hop on their bike and ride away.

    I rode away in an ambulance and had to buy a new bike (actually, the driver bought me a new bike and we called it even).

    It is possible for cyclists to SHARE the road with cars. But the key is that we have to share.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Excellent point, Mary Martha. I ride bikes; my kids ride bikes. We’re careful, courteous, and follow road rules. When I drive, I’m terrified of bicycles because of their vulnerability. I give them a wide margin, I avoid pressuring, I pay attention to their whereabouts. This post is certainly not meant to be an attack against bicycles or bicycling. It is meant, however, to be a fulmination against people who use massed bicycles aggressively and dangerously to make a broader, and manifestly foolish, political point.

  • Tim

    I’m sorry Bookworm, but if you were really more terrified of going into labor during a single Friday evening at the end of every month and getting stuck in gridlock than you were of getting caught in traffic caused by motor vehicles at any given moment on any given day, then your fear was clearly irrational and misplaced.

    As for CM, I skipped it this past month in NYC to avoid the confrontation between police and cyclists, only to be nearly hit (at least once intentionally) by cars while biking home from work that night. Next month I’m going.

    And before you people condemn those who use “massed bicycles aggressive and dangerously,” please why don’t you, show for me the number of people killed by cars versus the number of people killed by bicycles in any given day, week, month, or year. Then tell me which you fear more.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Tim: Have you had a baby lately? Without medical intervention, my second would have killed me. Had I been trapped in my house or gridlock because of CM’s callous disregard for traffic flow, that would have been a very bad thing. You can’t plan labor; it just happens.

    As for the number of car versus bicycle deaths, the first are usually accidents, the second invariably a result of anarchic conduct — i.e., intentional conduct. Bikes are great; critical mass is a socially aggressive act aimed to create as much inconvenience as possible. In that way, of course, it’s entirely counterproductive, making drivers only more hostile to, instead of more inclined to, bikes.

  • Tim

    Bookworm,

    Thank you for responding.

    I’m not saying there is no risk from traffic caused by CM, but it’s just not comparable to the far more frequent and dangerous risks you’re willing to accept on a daily basis in the form of excessive motor vehicle traffic in major cities.

    “As for the number of car versus bicycle deaths, the first are usually accidents, the second invariably a result of anarchic conduct — i.e., intentional conduct.”

    That is absolutely not true. I’ll narrow it down even further, and wager that the number of people killed by drunk drivers alone far outweighs the total number of people killed by bicycles. Then you can add in the drivers who intentionally run red lights, intentionally speed, tailgate, or intentionally engage in any number of reckless acts behind the wheel which result in injury or death. Again, there is no comparison.

    As far as CM is concerned, if we can create transit systems where bikes, pedestrians, trains, and vehicles can coexist routinely, there would be no need for CM. But it’s currently the only pro-biking movement garnering any attention.

    Thanks again for engaging me on your site. (Here via Lifson via Sullivan.)

    Tim

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    I’m not quite sure I made myself clear, Tim. You’re absolutely right about the sheer numbers of deaths and injuries from car accidents. You’re right that drunk drivers are inexcusable, although I’d acquit all but the rare one of an intentional act of vehicular violence (never mind that getting drunk is an intentional act). I’m focusing on motives, though. The CM bikers truly intend to drive cars off the road, whether by irritating them to death or by frightening them.

    In any event, it’s simply unreasonable to imagine a transit system given more to bikes than to cars. Women’s lives would be reduced to the home, since transporting kids is difficult without a car (one of the reasons women’s lives in the pre-modern era were bound to the home). Weather would make commuting difficult, whether rain or sleet or snow. Modern cities, even if they did have bike lanes, are impossible reasonably to traverse on a bike, whether because of the hills in San Francisco (making it an impossible task for all but the strong); or the vast dimensions of a place like LA or Dallas.

    Given that the essential demands the CM people want to make are the dominance of bikes over cars, and given that this is an impossibility, just what are they doing aside from making the majority of people in any given City miserable?

    Let me end this rant (and I’m in a ranting mood tonight, sorry), by saying that I like bikes; I think they’re great; and I admire those fit souls who ride them, although I’m infuriated by how often these vulnerable travelers ignore the rules of the road, blithely assuming (a) that they’re actually visible and (b) that I can readily control a fast moving heavy vehicle so as to provide them with maximum protection.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    From my brother, who has lived in SF (off and on) for almost 30 years:

    “It’s been going on for decades. She says early-90’s but it seems like longer than that. I didn’t drive to work and usually left early of Friday so I was only occasionally inconvenienced but I saw some potentially ugly situations (x-rated shouting matches, bike riders pounding on cars as they went past, etc). The city government facilitates the law breaking instead of trying to stop it, but what else is new?”

    I agree that CM seems to have been active earlier than the ’90s, but that’s beside the point. The reality is that they started out breaking the traffic laws, and when they found they could do that with impunity, they moved up to intimidating motorists. Having not been held to account for that, they appear in this instance at least, to be trying assault and battery. Anyone want to speculate when it will stop?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    I’m not saying there is no risk from traffic caused by CM, but it’s just not comparable to the far more frequent and dangerous risks you’re willing to accept on a daily basis in the form of excessive motor vehicle traffic in major cities.

    It is comparable, if only because the folks who want to attack drivers are tracing a line from bikes to cars.

    It’s not about risk, it’s about accelerated crime, violence, and terrorism. The man with an increasing expenditure and a higher increasing income, is stable. Even if he spends more. Another man with a stable income (comparable to the low risk argument, how cars have more problems in aggregate than bikes), is having his expendititure rising a little at a time while his income stays the same. The first person has a low risk of serious systemic economical problems, while the latter will eventually run into serious economic collapse. The system of cars is stable, there are laws and they are enforced. The revolutionary movement that is CM, seeks to overthrow the system with violence and intimidation. It is not enough to talk about how systems, bikes or cars, are right now. People need to extrapolate at the rate it is getting worse or better. A small problem in an isolated system, if growing at exponential rates, is worse than a numerically large problem stagnating.

    As far as CM is concerned, if we can create transit systems where bikes, pedestrians, trains, and vehicles can coexist routinely, there would be no need for CM.

    As far as criminal and sadistic organizations are concerned, revolutions are an end to themselves, there is nothing better they will replace the current system with, because that isn’t in the works. The justification of one cause or another is simply an excuse to act in a fashon that they wish to.

    CM after all has no central authority, which is in line with anarchic groups. Cellular system of operation. It doesn’t seek to organize something that can replace the status quo or improve it with something better, and therefore it has no need of an “organization” or a heirarchy to take responsibility.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Bikes are great; critical mass is a socially aggressive act aimed to create as much inconvenience as possible. In that way, of course, it’s entirely counterproductive, making drivers only more hostile to, instead of more inclined to, bikes.

    The Revolution is a method by which you sow vast discontent and feed off of it, hoping in the end that it will not eat its creator.

    Few revolutions end well. Almost no violent revolutions or slave rebellions end well. The ability to create stable systems that were better than the original, requires something more than the childish ability to wreck towers of plastic blocks in a fit of rage.

    Weak people cannot build, Book. They can only destroy. That is why they are weak.

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