As with any article where Critical Mass is mentioned, our piece on Deputy Chief John Murphy’s publically stated assumption that CM actually has leaders ended up with some commenters debating the merits of the civil action, instead. And the discussion was interesting enough that I thought, what the hell, let’s make this a separate article?!*

After directing readers to the above video that he took in April, 2007, Appeal contributor Matt Baume commented “If you believe that Critical Mass is not an impediment to mass transit, I would like you to watch this video in its entirety.”

Commenter lookeveryone responded:

nice video, but did you really post this on the comments to your video:

“Commenters,? please try harder. Going forward, comments with grammatical or spelling errors will be deleted, as will comments that are neither funny nor polite.”

grammatical or spelling errors? So this is all about CM offending your sense of order and adherence to authority. That flagrant violation of the _rules_ is viscerally difficult to watch for you. You’ve flipped my chart upside down. DAILY, CITY_WIDE traffic jams are not an issue because that is the norm. They are the dominant group and we are the minority group and we should behave accordingly, hmmm?

Yes, CM is challenging the established order and prIorities not just in transit policy, but also in the assumptions of the rights and uses of _public_ space and beyond. Big changes are usually messy. Think about it as cleaning out the cupboards and putting it all back in a more logical order.

What an interesting point! Readers, what do you think? Do you see a co-relation between good spelling and grammar and hatred of CM? Do you believe that CM truly challenges the established order and priorities not just in transit policy, but also in the assumptions of the rights and uses of public space and beyond? Does spelling poorly make you a badass anarchist? (If the last point is true, somebody get me one of those A in a circle t-shirts, stat.)

Let’s hear what you have to say in the comments! Before you ask, correct spelling and grammar are optional, and if you want to swear, please just do it — those little fake profanities with a dollar sign or whatever are an embarrassment to all.

*I mean, does anyone really feel like working today anyway? NOT ME.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • Matt Baume

    I do not understand the cupboard analogy. It is more like clearing off a table while everyone is in the middle of eating.

  • Matt Baume

    I do not understand the cupboard analogy. It is more like clearing off a table while everyone is in the middle of eating.

  • kl2real

    Stand for something or fall for anything. Most Critical Mass riders seem to be in the latter category. They are clueless and only out to cause disruption, which is unfortunate because there is much to admire about the cause of alternative transit, reduced greenhouse emission and a city full of beautiful biker butts in tight spandex pants with a maxi pad down the back.

  • kl2real

    Stand for something or fall for anything. Most Critical Mass riders seem to be in the latter category. They are clueless and only out to cause disruption, which is unfortunate because there is much to admire about the cause of alternative transit, reduced greenhouse emission and a city full of beautiful biker butts in tight spandex pants with a maxi pad down the back.

  • PhilD

    Critical Mass is an institutionalized, regularly scheduled form of civic disruption, allegedly aimed at enacting social change. But how, exactly, does a form of protest that has become an accepted part of city life expect to compel anyone to support and enact change? Ordinary things are not compelling, and Critical Mass is nothing but ordinary.

    There are many other valid critiques of Critical Mass, but I think the most obvious is that it is not a worthwhile form of protest. The means don’t help achieve any ends. I would personally expect any truly committed group of political activists to make their number one priority to be developing (and evolving) their techniques to maximize their influence over individuals and policy-makers. Critical Mass, as a movement, just doesn’t seem to care.

    I am curious – why do the police continue to exempt Critical Massers from the law? Does anyone know about how that deal works? It seems like an arrangement that is well past its usefulness.

  • PhilD

    Critical Mass is an institutionalized, regularly scheduled form of civic disruption, allegedly aimed at enacting social change. But how, exactly, does a form of protest that has become an accepted part of city life expect to compel anyone to support and enact change? Ordinary things are not compelling, and Critical Mass is nothing but ordinary.

    There are many other valid critiques of Critical Mass, but I think the most obvious is that it is not a worthwhile form of protest. The means don’t help achieve any ends. I would personally expect any truly committed group of political activists to make their number one priority to be developing (and evolving) their techniques to maximize their influence over individuals and policy-makers. Critical Mass, as a movement, just doesn’t seem to care.

    I am curious – why do the police continue to exempt Critical Massers from the law? Does anyone know about how that deal works? It seems like an arrangement that is well past its usefulness.

  • codesmith

    I can’t believe someone made that video over being mad about being stuck in traffic for 10 minutes. 10 minutes! That happens all the time and rarely is it critical mass’ fault. It’s part of life in the modern world and our auto-centric society. They really want their ’10 minutes back’ – how long did it take to make that video?

    We all suffer inconveniences in City life, especially when it comes to traffic and commuting. Everyone gets stuck in it now and again. Politics aside, Critical Mass is very much a celebration and can be a very fun bike ride. I do believe it’s taken a turn for the worse with the behavior of some cyclists but that’s up to everyone else who does the ride to call people out on it. A group of concerned massers have started http://www.sfcriticalmass.org to get people talking about what used to make Critical Mass work well and to bring those ideas back.

    Oh and PhilD – they did try to end the arrangement in July 1997. In the end it didn’t work out so well for the authorities…

  • codesmith

    I can’t believe someone made that video over being mad about being stuck in traffic for 10 minutes. 10 minutes! That happens all the time and rarely is it critical mass’ fault. It’s part of life in the modern world and our auto-centric society. They really want their ’10 minutes back’ – how long did it take to make that video?

    We all suffer inconveniences in City life, especially when it comes to traffic and commuting. Everyone gets stuck in it now and again. Politics aside, Critical Mass is very much a celebration and can be a very fun bike ride. I do believe it’s taken a turn for the worse with the behavior of some cyclists but that’s up to everyone else who does the ride to call people out on it. A group of concerned massers have started http://www.sfcriticalmass.org to get people talking about what used to make Critical Mass work well and to bring those ideas back.

    Oh and PhilD – they did try to end the arrangement in July 1997. In the end it didn’t work out so well for the authorities…

  • Greg Dewar

    Hey kids, as I said before – right now Critical Mass is the lefty biker equivalent of a civil war re-enactment. Yeah you really pissed of Willie Brown in the 90s but now? you schedule it , you get a stupid police escort you don’t pay for, and you get away with it because the liberals like it.

    I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU to try this en masse in a non -leftist enclave. Do so and I’ll have some respect. But until then, you’re all a bunch of civil war re-enactors with no courage. When I see CM busting ass in San Jose, or on El Camino, or in Contra Costa County, and so on,where maybe that would really impact people, THEN you can get your moral supremacy on.

    Until then, keep on shopping at pricey chain stores and keep on riding your stupid bikes around town. You’re about as righteous and courageous as a Republican on the Fox News Network.

  • Greg Dewar

    Hey kids, as I said before – right now Critical Mass is the lefty biker equivalent of a civil war re-enactment. Yeah you really pissed of Willie Brown in the 90s but now? you schedule it , you get a stupid police escort you don’t pay for, and you get away with it because the liberals like it.

    I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU to try this en masse in a non -leftist enclave. Do so and I’ll have some respect. But until then, you’re all a bunch of civil war re-enactors with no courage. When I see CM busting ass in San Jose, or on El Camino, or in Contra Costa County, and so on,where maybe that would really impact people, THEN you can get your moral supremacy on.

    Until then, keep on shopping at pricey chain stores and keep on riding your stupid bikes around town. You’re about as righteous and courageous as a Republican on the Fox News Network.

  • Peter smith

    Don’t forget — Critical Mass, this Friday, Pee-wee Herman Plaza. Hope to see you there, you crazy kids!

    p.s. check out a new, local blog covering all the fun, here:

    http://www.sfcriticalmass.org/

  • Peter smith

    Don’t forget — Critical Mass, this Friday, Pee-wee Herman Plaza. Hope to see you there, you crazy kids!

    p.s. check out a new, local blog covering all the fun, here:

    http://www.sfcriticalmass.org/

  • PhilD

    That’s one thing that always bothers me about Critical Mass – proponents are always claiming how fun it is. I’m not denying it’s fun, and I don’t want to rain on any parades, but how thick does your skull need to be to not realize that your fun is NOT fun for bystanders caught in your fray?

    The attitude seems to be that since it is fun, it doesn’t matter how it impacts other people. Do I have that about right? Is there some other way I should interpret it? Is there something I am missing that makes this particular event an OK way for you to have fun at other’s expense?

    I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but you’d have to wager that some of these people caught in your “fun time” actually have very important things to be doing, perhaps caring for ill loved-ones, going to work to earn their keep, picking up children, etc. Yes, a city is full of disruptions, but why go out of your way to create an additional disruption?

  • PhilD

    That’s one thing that always bothers me about Critical Mass – proponents are always claiming how fun it is. I’m not denying it’s fun, and I don’t want to rain on any parades, but how thick does your skull need to be to not realize that your fun is NOT fun for bystanders caught in your fray?

    The attitude seems to be that since it is fun, it doesn’t matter how it impacts other people. Do I have that about right? Is there some other way I should interpret it? Is there something I am missing that makes this particular event an OK way for you to have fun at other’s expense?

    I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but you’d have to wager that some of these people caught in your “fun time” actually have very important things to be doing, perhaps caring for ill loved-ones, going to work to earn their keep, picking up children, etc. Yes, a city is full of disruptions, but why go out of your way to create an additional disruption?

  • Juan

    I’m not certain how tied it is to the “official” Critical Mass crowd, but this headline made me think of the grammatical disaster that is the “One Less Car” sticker.

  • Juan

    I’m not certain how tied it is to the “official” Critical Mass crowd, but this headline made me think of the grammatical disaster that is the “One Less Car” sticker.

  • PhilD

    Oh, and if someone wants to tell me the route for this Friday, I’m borrowing a car and leaving town for the weekend and would hate to get stuck on my way out.

  • PhilD

    Oh, and if someone wants to tell me the route for this Friday, I’m borrowing a car and leaving town for the weekend and would hate to get stuck on my way out.

  • lookeveryone

    Matt Baume, i dont like the clearing the table analogy, it’s more like setting the table and enjoying a nice meal while a raging war goes on around you.

    PhilD, you’re talking about it, i guess it hasnt lost all of its noticeability. but either way, the ‘political statement’ is one of many motivations for the ride. so many motivations!

    Greg Dewar, i triple-cog dare you to take a peek at how many hundreds of cities worldwide have had ongoing Critical Mass rides over the last 18 years, rides in decidedly conservative locales, facing lots of supremacist assholes who have hurt and killed participants. maybe some of us arent willing to die for the right to ride together in our own streets, but that is irrelevant bc the correct answer to your specious argument is that it has to be a local event to make sense.

    The critiques of disruption to others is valid i think. codewarrior has provided a lot of context and i added this (on that other thread):

    “Getting rid of critical mass would be on par with getting rid of the Pride Parade. It would save some disruptions, true, but the loss is just not worth it in sum. (and btw, like the pride parade, CM is more than just raising awareness for an issue, much more. It is a party, it is a liberation, it is a right, it is a social experiment, it is an experience, it is important to a lot of people for many reasons. it is legal and a valid use of public space. IOW, not just a disruption)”

  • lookeveryone

    Matt Baume, i dont like the clearing the table analogy, it’s more like setting the table and enjoying a nice meal while a raging war goes on around you.

    PhilD, you’re talking about it, i guess it hasnt lost all of its noticeability. but either way, the ‘political statement’ is one of many motivations for the ride. so many motivations!

    Greg Dewar, i triple-cog dare you to take a peek at how many hundreds of cities worldwide have had ongoing Critical Mass rides over the last 18 years, rides in decidedly conservative locales, facing lots of supremacist assholes who have hurt and killed participants. maybe some of us arent willing to die for the right to ride together in our own streets, but that is irrelevant bc the correct answer to your specious argument is that it has to be a local event to make sense.

    The critiques of disruption to others is valid i think. codewarrior has provided a lot of context and i added this (on that other thread):

    “Getting rid of critical mass would be on par with getting rid of the Pride Parade. It would save some disruptions, true, but the loss is just not worth it in sum. (and btw, like the pride parade, CM is more than just raising awareness for an issue, much more. It is a party, it is a liberation, it is a right, it is a social experiment, it is an experience, it is important to a lot of people for many reasons. it is legal and a valid use of public space. IOW, not just a disruption)”

  • PhilD

    I talk about a lot of shit, doesn’t mean any of it is relevant. Anyway…

    “It is a party, it is a liberation, it is a right, it is a social experiment, it is an experience, it is important to a lot of people for many reasons. it is legal and a valid use of public space. IOW, not just a disruption)””

    Can’t you find a way to have your party/liberation/social experiment without messing up other people’s day? Remember other people? They also make up society, and most of us try not to go out of our way to disrupt each other’s lives. Critical Mass could be held in the Avenues and it would disrupt vastly fewer people. But the point of CM is, and has always been, to cause a disruption. Is it more than a disruption? Sure. But you are still disrupting other people’s lives, which is particularly infuriating because you don’t seem to even care.

    Naysayers like me wouldn’t have much to talk about if CM would just grow up and pre-plan their routes with police cooperation. The disruption would be minimized and the nature of the ride would be largely unchanged. We could all coexist without one group forcing their agenda on other people who may not share that agenda.
    I mean hell, we already know what day it’s going to be. Why not just tell us the route? What’s the point of clinging to the notion that it is an impromptu, gorilla-style movement? The police actually protect you and help you close off streets! Go anarchism!

    And I don’t want to dwell on this particular point, but it should be noted that most of CM’s activities are illegal, but are simply exempted by law enforcement.

  • PhilD

    I talk about a lot of shit, doesn’t mean any of it is relevant. Anyway…

    “It is a party, it is a liberation, it is a right, it is a social experiment, it is an experience, it is important to a lot of people for many reasons. it is legal and a valid use of public space. IOW, not just a disruption)””

    Can’t you find a way to have your party/liberation/social experiment without messing up other people’s day? Remember other people? They also make up society, and most of us try not to go out of our way to disrupt each other’s lives. Critical Mass could be held in the Avenues and it would disrupt vastly fewer people. But the point of CM is, and has always been, to cause a disruption. Is it more than a disruption? Sure. But you are still disrupting other people’s lives, which is particularly infuriating because you don’t seem to even care.

    Naysayers like me wouldn’t have much to talk about if CM would just grow up and pre-plan their routes with police cooperation. The disruption would be minimized and the nature of the ride would be largely unchanged. We could all coexist without one group forcing their agenda on other people who may not share that agenda.
    I mean hell, we already know what day it’s going to be. Why not just tell us the route? What’s the point of clinging to the notion that it is an impromptu, gorilla-style movement? The police actually protect you and help you close off streets! Go anarchism!

    And I don’t want to dwell on this particular point, but it should be noted that most of CM’s activities are illegal, but are simply exempted by law enforcement.

  • lookeveryone

    PhilD,

    I have already acknowledged that disruption is a valid complaint. If it had a published route, it would still disrupt. youre right that that is a feature, but also right that it sucks for some.

    And let’s be honest, you’re talking about disrupting _motorists_.

    Why does the minimal disruption of CM bother you more than the daily mega-disruption, death, maiming, public cost and toxicity by city-wide use of automobiles?

    Projected selfishness i say.

  • lookeveryone

    PhilD,

    I have already acknowledged that disruption is a valid complaint. If it had a published route, it would still disrupt. youre right that that is a feature, but also right that it sucks for some.

    And let’s be honest, you’re talking about disrupting _motorists_.

    Why does the minimal disruption of CM bother you more than the daily mega-disruption, death, maiming, public cost and toxicity by city-wide use of automobiles?

    Projected selfishness i say.

  • PhilD

    Well, I don’t own a car, so I’m not sure in what way I might be projecting selfishness. Just because I don’t have a dog in this fight doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion.

    Aside from your personal attack, you raise a good point… “Why does the minimal disruption of CM bother you more than the daily mega-disruption, death, maiming, public cost and toxicity by city-wide use of automobiles?”
    That “mega-disruption” is what the rest of the city calls “everyday life”. I’m not saying it is good or right, but it is what the vast majority of our society agrees on (and depends on every single day). Let’s face it, what you and other CM proponents really want (and hell, what I really want) is a dramatic transformation in the way we transport ourselves and goods from point A to point B. We want it to be safer, more practical, less environmentally damaging and more equitable, among other things. Thats a big task.

    Im not sure of the best way to go about it. But I am sure that simply distrusting what you dont like (on a regular schedule for the last 16 or so years) is not the best way. At best it is ineffective. At worst it is mean-spirited. If you want to change things, work towards change, dont mess with other peoples lives just because they dont agree with you.

  • PhilD

    Well, I don’t own a car, so I’m not sure in what way I might be projecting selfishness. Just because I don’t have a dog in this fight doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion.

    Aside from your personal attack, you raise a good point… “Why does the minimal disruption of CM bother you more than the daily mega-disruption, death, maiming, public cost and toxicity by city-wide use of automobiles?”
    That “mega-disruption” is what the rest of the city calls “everyday life”. I’m not saying it is good or right, but it is what the vast majority of our society agrees on (and depends on every single day). Let’s face it, what you and other CM proponents really want (and hell, what I really want) is a dramatic transformation in the way we transport ourselves and goods from point A to point B. We want it to be safer, more practical, less environmentally damaging and more equitable, among other things. Thats a big task.

    Im not sure of the best way to go about it. But I am sure that simply distrusting what you dont like (on a regular schedule for the last 16 or so years) is not the best way. At best it is ineffective. At worst it is mean-spirited. If you want to change things, work towards change, dont mess with other peoples lives just because they dont agree with you.

  • lookeveryone

    PhilD,

    Sorry for the misdiagnosis, I apologize. Glad you are on the same team vis a vis transportation policy, i appreciate your poise and intelligence.

    CM is still not about simply changing that policy, it is a phenomenon apparently touching on more symbolic spheres as witnessed by its organic and viral life. You or i can’t really change it from above if we wanted to. The cops tried to shut it down by force more than once and gave up, the same has happened in many cities.

    And one point of order; the ride is perfectly legal, (though rude), except for the running of stop lights. But funny story, on the last police crackdown, the ride stopped at every single light. After a few months the cops were ordering us to continue through the light bc it caused too much mayhem. it was much faster to wave it through and get it out of the way asap! If rudeness was the main goal, we’d stop at those lights, (and much more) but it really isnt the main motivation for most participants.

  • lookeveryone

    PhilD,

    Sorry for the misdiagnosis, I apologize. Glad you are on the same team vis a vis transportation policy, i appreciate your poise and intelligence.

    CM is still not about simply changing that policy, it is a phenomenon apparently touching on more symbolic spheres as witnessed by its organic and viral life. You or i can’t really change it from above if we wanted to. The cops tried to shut it down by force more than once and gave up, the same has happened in many cities.

    And one point of order; the ride is perfectly legal, (though rude), except for the running of stop lights. But funny story, on the last police crackdown, the ride stopped at every single light. After a few months the cops were ordering us to continue through the light bc it caused too much mayhem. it was much faster to wave it through and get it out of the way asap! If rudeness was the main goal, we’d stop at those lights, (and much more) but it really isnt the main motivation for most participants.

  • codesmith

    @PhilD – in your earlier comment you seemed to make light of the fact that it is regularly scheduled – isn’t this actually a plus? You know when it’s going to happen (and roughly where) and can plan accordingly. You’d do that for known rush hour traffic right? And that’s an accepted disruption. What makes the Critical Mass bicycle traffic different in that respect – as @lookeveryone said we all the right to be there. Is waiting 10 or 15 minutes really that big of a deal? (I know there are occasions like the Halloween mass which has longer waits due to the unusually large size.) Have you personally ever been “stuck in mass?”

    (Really appreciate the civil tone of the discussion.)

  • codesmith

    @PhilD – in your earlier comment you seemed to make light of the fact that it is regularly scheduled – isn’t this actually a plus? You know when it’s going to happen (and roughly where) and can plan accordingly. You’d do that for known rush hour traffic right? And that’s an accepted disruption. What makes the Critical Mass bicycle traffic different in that respect – as @lookeveryone said we all the right to be there. Is waiting 10 or 15 minutes really that big of a deal? (I know there are occasions like the Halloween mass which has longer waits due to the unusually large size.) Have you personally ever been “stuck in mass?”

    (Really appreciate the civil tone of the discussion.)

  • PhilD

    @codessmith

    First off, I really get bothered by this attitude…
    “Is waiting 10 or 15 minutes really that big of a deal?”
    Maybe, maybe not – it’s really none of your or my business. Most people can probably wait 10-15 minutes with no consequence. For some people it is actually going to be a big deal. Who knows? The point is, big deal or not, CM is causing the delay and most riders don’t seem to care. They don’t care if the person is just trying to catch their favorite TV show. They don’t care if a parent is rushing home to a sick child. The circumstance of the Other People is, apparently, of no concern. And yes, yes, other things can cause delays. But on those Fridays it isn’t other things causing the delay, it is Critical Mass.

    It certainly is a plus that it is regularly scheduled. Now, if the route was also declared ahead of time, full arrangements could be made, as they are for the countless other street-obstructing events in then city. This is something that hadn’t occurred to me prior to this comment thread. Sure, I might still have beef with CM for other reasons, but the only thing I find truly problematic about it is the seeming disrespect of fellow citizens. Giving motorists (and bus routes!!!) fair warning seems like the cordial thing to do – and probably the wise thing to do since I assume CM aims to inspire, not frustrate, onlookers.

    So declare routes (like the anti-war marches did years back) and give those people who truly do have urgent things to do on that particular Friday their fair chance to bypass the blockage. Then watch as the ire of the ferocious anti-CM folks dies down. Hell, the change to declaring routes may itself be a news story – and you can bet radio traffic reports will be talking about the street closures and bus reroutes every last Friday.

    I’ll leave it at that, and agree that it has been a pretty good tone for a topic that tends to inflame people on both sides!

  • PhilD

    @codessmith

    First off, I really get bothered by this attitude…
    “Is waiting 10 or 15 minutes really that big of a deal?”
    Maybe, maybe not – it’s really none of your or my business. Most people can probably wait 10-15 minutes with no consequence. For some people it is actually going to be a big deal. Who knows? The point is, big deal or not, CM is causing the delay and most riders don’t seem to care. They don’t care if the person is just trying to catch their favorite TV show. They don’t care if a parent is rushing home to a sick child. The circumstance of the Other People is, apparently, of no concern. And yes, yes, other things can cause delays. But on those Fridays it isn’t other things causing the delay, it is Critical Mass.

    It certainly is a plus that it is regularly scheduled. Now, if the route was also declared ahead of time, full arrangements could be made, as they are for the countless other street-obstructing events in then city. This is something that hadn’t occurred to me prior to this comment thread. Sure, I might still have beef with CM for other reasons, but the only thing I find truly problematic about it is the seeming disrespect of fellow citizens. Giving motorists (and bus routes!!!) fair warning seems like the cordial thing to do – and probably the wise thing to do since I assume CM aims to inspire, not frustrate, onlookers.

    So declare routes (like the anti-war marches did years back) and give those people who truly do have urgent things to do on that particular Friday their fair chance to bypass the blockage. Then watch as the ire of the ferocious anti-CM folks dies down. Hell, the change to declaring routes may itself be a news story – and you can bet radio traffic reports will be talking about the street closures and bus reroutes every last Friday.

    I’ll leave it at that, and agree that it has been a pretty good tone for a topic that tends to inflame people on both sides!

  • lookeveryone

    regarding the ‘published route’ idea. problem is that there really isnt a leader or a group of leaders. if someone tries to force a route, they would be laughed at and the route ignored.

    people who commute from downtown by car are pretty much used to being stuck by any number of snafus, every, single, night, for, years. as are their children. only a small percentage of them decide that this particular delay is invalid. why these few think thousands of people all riding in their own personal motor-coach is a valid delay is not logical or reasonable.

    i think they hate our freedom. 😉

  • lookeveryone

    regarding the ‘published route’ idea. problem is that there really isnt a leader or a group of leaders. if someone tries to force a route, they would be laughed at and the route ignored.

    people who commute from downtown by car are pretty much used to being stuck by any number of snafus, every, single, night, for, years. as are their children. only a small percentage of them decide that this particular delay is invalid. why these few think thousands of people all riding in their own personal motor-coach is a valid delay is not logical or reasonable.

    i think they hate our freedom. 😉

  • Alex Zepeda

    Critical Mass is nothing but a bunch of self-righteous people with bicycles. It’s not a positive action by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn’t raise awareness, and I doubt that most people give it any thought — save those actually stuck in its wake.

    Here’s the thing. The previous Critical Mass ran down mid-Market. Private auto traffic has been reduced dramatically in the eastbound direction, and somewhat in the other. What does Critical Mass do? They run down both sides of Market. Wanna know who I saw getting stuck? MUNI buses, ambulances, and police cars. Perhaps MUNI riders are used to random 10-15 minute delays, but who are you to impose a delay on anyone else? Who are you to condemn public transportation? Despite popular belief, holding up a bunch of MUNI vehicles doesn’t improve public transportation.

    Perhaps the police were stuck in the Critical Mass gathering because they were there to deal with a Critical Mass problem. Who are you to divert police resources that could have been better used elsewhere? What if those police cars were heading elsewhere? What gives you and the rest of the Critical Mass cronies the right to delay access to police or paramedic services?

    To compare Critical Mass (a destructive gathering) to pride (a positive celebration) is akin to comparing apples to cephalopods. One event is planned — people can avoid it if they want to. One is not — it imposes its will upon anyone they see fit. One event does some community outreach and has sponsors and whatnot to cover the expenses. The other simply tells the community to suck it.

    For what it’s worth, actually planning these things out would go a long way towards reducing animosity. Of course, that would detract from the screw everyone else juvenile ANARKAY mentality that makes it so fun. But it would show that people participating in Critical Mass are trying to make the world a better place.

    And, yes, I’ve been stuck in Critical Mass. I was trying to walk from the Caltrain station to Market to catch a… train back home. It certainly wasn’t a life or death situation, but it was demonstrative of the disrespect that an event like Critical Mass perpetuates.

  • Alex Zepeda

    Critical Mass is nothing but a bunch of self-righteous people with bicycles. It’s not a positive action by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn’t raise awareness, and I doubt that most people give it any thought — save those actually stuck in its wake.

    Here’s the thing. The previous Critical Mass ran down mid-Market. Private auto traffic has been reduced dramatically in the eastbound direction, and somewhat in the other. What does Critical Mass do? They run down both sides of Market. Wanna know who I saw getting stuck? MUNI buses, ambulances, and police cars. Perhaps MUNI riders are used to random 10-15 minute delays, but who are you to impose a delay on anyone else? Who are you to condemn public transportation? Despite popular belief, holding up a bunch of MUNI vehicles doesn’t improve public transportation.

    Perhaps the police were stuck in the Critical Mass gathering because they were there to deal with a Critical Mass problem. Who are you to divert police resources that could have been better used elsewhere? What if those police cars were heading elsewhere? What gives you and the rest of the Critical Mass cronies the right to delay access to police or paramedic services?

    To compare Critical Mass (a destructive gathering) to pride (a positive celebration) is akin to comparing apples to cephalopods. One event is planned — people can avoid it if they want to. One is not — it imposes its will upon anyone they see fit. One event does some community outreach and has sponsors and whatnot to cover the expenses. The other simply tells the community to suck it.

    For what it’s worth, actually planning these things out would go a long way towards reducing animosity. Of course, that would detract from the screw everyone else juvenile ANARKAY mentality that makes it so fun. But it would show that people participating in Critical Mass are trying to make the world a better place.

    And, yes, I’ve been stuck in Critical Mass. I was trying to walk from the Caltrain station to Market to catch a… train back home. It certainly wasn’t a life or death situation, but it was demonstrative of the disrespect that an event like Critical Mass perpetuates.

  • kl2real

    It seems like the fire hoses in this City could be put to better use from time to time. We need to test those hydrants in case the big one strikes, right? Seems like the last Friday of the month at Justin Hermann Plaza might be a good place to start. Better yet, pump salt water so their chains rust. Then they’ll be disrupted like the rest of us.

  • kl2real

    It seems like the fire hoses in this City could be put to better use from time to time. We need to test those hydrants in case the big one strikes, right? Seems like the last Friday of the month at Justin Hermann Plaza might be a good place to start. Better yet, pump salt water so their chains rust. Then they’ll be disrupted like the rest of us.

  • pepper

    The longest I wait to cross the street on most days is 90 seconds. The longest I have waited on a Critical Mass day is 12 minutes. This is why pedestrians hate Critical Mass so very much. Enjoy your fun, jackasses. Smile and wave at the elderly people leaning on their canes, nowhere to sit, as you go by.

    Maybe there is something to the grammar thing. BTW, it’s “correlation,” not “co-relation.”

  • pepper

    The longest I wait to cross the street on most days is 90 seconds. The longest I have waited on a Critical Mass day is 12 minutes. This is why pedestrians hate Critical Mass so very much. Enjoy your fun, jackasses. Smile and wave at the elderly people leaning on their canes, nowhere to sit, as you go by.

    Maybe there is something to the grammar thing. BTW, it’s “correlation,” not “co-relation.”

  • Eve Batey

    Hi, Karen! Please consult our comment policy, specifically the part about overly-literal tools. Thanks!

  • Eve Batey

    Hi, Karen! Please consult our comment policy, specifically the part about overly-literal tools. Thanks!

  • lookeveryone

    Alex Zepeda said: “Critical Mass is a bunch of self-righteous people with bicycles”

    Alex, the definition of “self-righteous” makes that statement self-righteous. please try again with some effort to engage honestly. also, please read the previous comments to avoid redundancy as regards the rest of your rant.

    Pepper, my observation over many years is that the majority of pedestrians wave and smile at the mass. I’m not sure of your data, did you say that just to support your personal indignation?

    It is true that CM incites rage and indignation from a range of places for a range of reasons. Some rage is misplaced, some rage is absolutely valid. It is also true that some of the rage is directed at specific assholes who happen to be riding in the mass who are legitimately despicable assholes. they are targeted by the mass riders with more venom than the bystanders and are pushed out. what’s the bottom line here? it ain’t perfect, but it is a phenomenon that grows and things get better for both the participants and for the community. not without bumps and noise, but better and better and that is why is has survived and grown as it has. Evolution says that CM will eventually become superfluous or extinct.

  • lookeveryone

    Alex Zepeda said: “Critical Mass is a bunch of self-righteous people with bicycles”

    Alex, the definition of “self-righteous” makes that statement self-righteous. please try again with some effort to engage honestly. also, please read the previous comments to avoid redundancy as regards the rest of your rant.

    Pepper, my observation over many years is that the majority of pedestrians wave and smile at the mass. I’m not sure of your data, did you say that just to support your personal indignation?

    It is true that CM incites rage and indignation from a range of places for a range of reasons. Some rage is misplaced, some rage is absolutely valid. It is also true that some of the rage is directed at specific assholes who happen to be riding in the mass who are legitimately despicable assholes. they are targeted by the mass riders with more venom than the bystanders and are pushed out. what’s the bottom line here? it ain’t perfect, but it is a phenomenon that grows and things get better for both the participants and for the community. not without bumps and noise, but better and better and that is why is has survived and grown as it has. Evolution says that CM will eventually become superfluous or extinct.