According to the Examiner, our new police chief, George Gascon, says that “a review of the SFPD’s policies regarding the monthly bike ride/protest, Critical Mass, is under way” and that he is “not satisfied with Critical Mass,” saying that “I get pounded regularly on both sides.” REGARDING THAT ISSUE, you perv! GOD.

From the article, it looks like this was said at last Friday’s Newsom-attended presser in which Gascon vowed to reduce citywide serious crime by 20%. At the presser, Gascon apparently said “he thinks a ballot measure banning Critical Mass would pass would flying colors” before Gavin Newsom, perhaps thinking about the shitstorm that erupted when Willie Brown tried to kill off the monthly bike event by confiscating bikes, hastily noted that “there was no such ballot measure in the works.”

But what if there were? If a measure to ban Critical Mass made it to the ballot, how would you vote? (If it helps you decide, the Guardian is piiiiiiised.) There’s only one way to find out: Poll time!

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

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  • troymccluresf

    Fuck Critical Mass with a U-lock.

  • Haze Valet

    Critical Mass happens once a month, and the only people who are getting their panties in a bunch are the trolls who commute from the east bay and the north bay on their crumbling troll bridges. With Muni fares and bridge tolls increasing, and metered parking on Sundays there are going to be a Shee-ton of folks riding bikes who will support what CM is about. amirite?

    Can’t we just ban the trolls and their SUVs who make up for a majority of the traffic problems in downtown SF 29 days out of the month?

    Looks like the Chief is focusing on the large scale crime problems by repeatedly bringing up minor bike crime as a “major” issue. Newsom will never go for it. Next up… banning people from Dolores Park to decrease the crime rate!!!

  • troymccluresf

    “the only people who are getting their panties in a bunch are the trolls who commute from the east bay and the north bay on their crumbling troll bridges”

    Tell that to the people stuck trying to get home on the J as CM descend upon Church & Market.

  • kl2real

    I’ve been stuck on plenty of Muni vehicles (ANY Market Street traveling or crossing surface transit: F, 5, 21, 6, 71, 38, etc.) doing my part to ride transit and make the world a better place despite Muni making it as miserable as possible, only to have my trip brought to a screeching halt by these ignoramus Critical Ass thugs. It’s one thing to ride your bike and advocate for safer streets for all, but it’s quite another when you run like a bunch of traffic vigilantes. I’ll vote to ban these pricks as soon as I have the chance.

    As an avid runner, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to move out of the way of some douche bag biker flying down the sidewalks instead of the streets where they belong. I’m far more endangered by bicyclists in this town than I am by cars. I never cry when I hear about a cyclist getting hit by a car. Never.

  • Haze Valet

    Critical Mass is ONCE A MONTH. Wait 30 minutes, grab a bite to eat, grab a cocktail, take in the beautiful sight of the bay and downtown SF on a Friday night, ONCE A MONTH.

    Idiot bikers on a sidewalk are idiots, I agree, and the vigilantes in Critical Mass are total jerks, but trust me, cars are much more dangerous to a runner’s health than a biker. When was the last time you heard: “pedestrian killed by cyclist on the corner of Haight and Divisadero.”

    I always cry when people have emptied themselves of human empathy… Always. womp womp :’-(

    My main point was, WHY is the Police Chief making a publicity stunt out of Critical Mass, when every day there are shootings, muggings, B and Eeezz, rape, runner-snobbery, etc. rampant in the city every day… with NO ARRESTS, as the Crime Blotter is wont to say.

    Breaking skulls on this one will only make things worse, and spending tax dollars on a ballot measure is foolish, and WILL NOT REDUCE THE VIOLENT CRIME RATE IN SAN FRANCISCO, which is our beloved Chief’s Job. Mostly…mostly.

  • rgm

    “I never cry when I hear about a cyclist getting hit by a car. Never.”

    That’s, uh, pretty bad.

  • Matt Baume

    I am going to sneak into SoMatar’s apartment once a month and leave a decomposed cat on his kitchen table. It will smell bad and take about a half hour to clean up. But I’m only going to do it ONCE A MONTH. And there are plenty of worse things that happen in this city. So what’s the big deal?

  • raqcoon

    Critical Mass brings together people of all ages, races and creeds. You can’t say that about parties, raves, workplaces and households. CM happens once per month and if I had a bad month on my bicycle, getting banged around by motor vehicles and flipped off like crazy, I’ll join mass, knowing we might pull out a dweeb from a vehicle and work him over, y’know, vent some built-up frustration.

    OTOH I’ve been a dweeb in a gas guzzler during mass (“oops, I forgot, it’s the last Friday”) and ended up having to wait. Well, just watch the parade. Speaking of parades, I know when and where they are and will avoid them, especially big ones like the Veterans Day parade that attracts millions of people on Market Street. If you don’t like parades or Mass, either deal with them or avoid them, mark it on your goog calendar.

    I’ve met ped and driver friends stuck in Mass while I was riding and helped them out, got the ped through the crowd and ran an errand for the driver, before rejoining the peloton. I often let people I know to be aware of Mass.

    I read in the Chron after the small Dec. ride that the heat was disappointed by the miniscule Mass. It’s a plush job for the heat, and sometimes they seem to even lead the crowd, with a couple on bicycles, too. I think some heat like this job because it beats trying to go after gangsters, or worse, sitting around on an uneventful shift. “Dispatch, I’m 10-8, any action?” “Negatory, no reports of incidents. Try to stay awake.” “10-4.”

    I abstain from voting. CM is not totally legal, but it’s a flash mob effort. If CM is there, I ride. If it disappears, I ride solo. No thing.

  • Erik

    They shouldn’t ban it (and probably couldn’t if they tried) but they should enforce traffic laws during.

  • Haze Valet

    Nice… free food!!!

  • PhilD

    Screw all the Massers who proclaim “its only once a month, relax, do something else lol!!!” because I’m pretty sure you don’t know (or care about) the details of my life, which makes you thoroughly unqualified to decide when it is a good time for me to “relax and do something else”. I’ll decide that on my own, and you can just stay the fuck out of my way in the meantime.

  • Haze Valet

    I dont know about the rest of you, but I think that Solipsism is great!!! And the only way I get through the day without crying, is by being angry to hold back the tears. But people tell me to “relax, do something else.” so I write backhanded comments on blog posts about things that people throw unnecessary hissy fits about. Its amazing that it takes something like kicking bike parades off the street to get you people to vote. But why vote anyways. Relax, do something else. Think ahead on the last friday of the month and the first tuesday in November. 😀 LOL!!!!

  • sagitta100

    I wouldn’t vote to ban it. I would vote to require Critical Mass to obtain a permit (and all that entails), just like every other major scheduled event in San Francisco.

  • sfresident

    Critical mass sucks, but it’s pretty low on the list of things that are screwing up the city.

    And what sucks even more are people like kl2real who think dead and injured bicyclists are no big deal. Dead bicyclists like Joshua West who just today was killed in Los Gatos by an out of control SUV, leaving behind a young daughter. These are real people with lives and families, not some sort of cartoon “douchebag hipster” (and even if they were, wishing harm on them simply for riding a bicycle makes *you* the asshole).

    In any case, critical mass is a lot like PETA. They exist primarily to piss you off. They *want* you to get mad at them. The way to win is to nonchalantly ignore them.

  • kl2real

    It was a low moment, and I apologize. I felt bad for the guy who got killed this week in the Los Gatos. Obviously that is a terrible tragedy, and I don’t celebrate or gloat about it.

    What I really meant is that when I see law-breaking, cavalier assholes on wheels careening between cars, bikes and pedestrians without concern for anybody but themselves, then I don’t feel bad when the inevitable happens. We all have to share the road. Automobile drivers, cyclists and pedestrians need to be respectful and defensive in the way they conduct themselves. The problem with Critical Mass is that the majority of them tend to be law-breaking, cavalier assholes. It hurts their cause.

  • Cyclomania

    I don’t understand why there are such haters. What’s wrong with an event in the city that brings people together? Do you hate the other SF events such as Mardi Gras, the pride parade, LovEvolution, Bay to Breakers, Folsom street fair, North Beach Fair and the multitude of other events that make living in a city such as ours so wonderful. Isn’t that the point of living in a city?

    I admit there are many events that I don’t partake in, such as the Bay to Breakers which incidentally has SOME people pissing in the streets, breaking bottles and basically not caring about their surroundings, but I don’t think we should ban it. There will always be jerks who ruin it for the rest of us but punishing a certain group because you don’t like, or understand, them would leave us in a pretty boring, sterile existence.

    If you don’t want the spice of life then stay in the burbs because to be honest I only want the people here who are tolerant of others.

    Incidentally I don’t recommend moving apartments the day of the LovEvolution Parade when your destination is 1 block from the epicenter like I did, or having to dodge joggers jaywalking, or avoiding the taxi cab swerving into you, or praying that the bus doesn’t squeeze you into the curb, or all the other myriad of things a biker has to deal with every day! NO! I don’t want to ban any of these things!

  • MD


    “The problem with Critical Mass is that the majority of them tend to be law-breaking, cavalier assholes. It hurts their cause.”

    Where do you get your statistics from? I wasn’t aware that there was any agency currently engaged in a study of the proportion of massers falling into the category of “law-breaking, cavalier assholes”…

    Have you ever participated in CM? Sounds like the answer is probably no. If you had, you would find yourself in the company of many, many non-cavalier, non-asshole, generally nice people who just happen to be breaking the law (ie staying with the group and proceeding through red lights) because it actually reduces the delays for people who are just trying to get home from work on a Friday.

    Can you imagine how much larger the delay would be if the 1000’s of cyclists participating in Mass stopped at every light? It would break up the group into a bunch of mini-masses, greatly increasing the adverse traffic effects compared to one large group staying together with only the riders at the front stopping for red lights.

    Just my 2 cents.