Interesting comments this morning, and some that I wanted to get to last time and didn’t have a chance to n
Regarding the Critical Mass “dunderheads,” I have mixed feelings. I recognize and admire the goal in the ride, which is to make sure people know that bicyclists are a part of society, part of our transportation system, and are allowed on the roads. Sometimes you have to fight for your rights. But I’m not sure that aggravating motorists, pedestrians, and other bicyclists is the most productive way to do it. And I think unlawful behavior undercuts the bicycling message. Clearly being quiet and trying to chip away at the edges of the transportation bureaucracy isn’t doing the job, so I understand the impulse for Critical Mass. I prefer to do my advocacy as a critical mass of one, where I’m following the laws and getting along with the other road users, maybe educating them one at a time. At the Coalition we never promote unlawful behavior.
But what Critical Mass does very well is create a sense of community for the bicyclists who participate. We need to be doing more of that somehow. We do have activities and rides (like the Bike the Bay Ride on September 7th over the Coronado Bridge) that we hope to use to build a community of two-wheeled citizens. I think Fred is onto something when he proposes a high-profile bicycling event that brings people together. We need community events that bring together not only the cycling community, but the entire community, to celebrate the bicycle.
One of the things that I notice is that there are a lot of bicyclists out there, and you probably know some of them, but you don’t know that they ride. We tend to keep our bicycling activity to ourselves n unless you’re another bicyclist you probably don’t talk about the 50 miles you rode this weekend. I think that if more people were a little more vocal about BEING bike riders, it could go a long way toward building bridges between people who drive and people who ride. And it changes how people treat you if they think they know you. Think about it n are you going to harass the bicyclist ahead of you if you think it’s your neighbor, your kid’s teacher, or your dentist? Probably not. We need to stop being anonymous.