What is Critical Mass?
“Critical Mass” is a movement of bicyclists trying to assert their rights to the road. Bicyclists do have a right to the road, but they need to be just as careful and considerate as motorists do. I commuted every day on bicycle to and from work in Seattle until I moved in close enough to just walk, so I understand the concerns of these bicyclists intimately. However, instead of behaving like responsible citizens and showing the benefits of bicycling vs. driving, members of the Seattle Critical Mass have become increasingly violent and confrontational on their monthly rides.
Critical Mass bicycle rides take place on the last Friday of every month and are intended to be a massive act of civil disobedience aimed at forcing motorists to recognizing bicylists equal rights to the road. The Critical Mass bicyclists mostly just enrage everyone else in the city to the point where drivers become more aggressive towards all bicyclists. People in Seattle are usually pretty laid back, but the Critical Mass bicyclists have done a lot to stir up rage and bitterness towards all bicyclists from normal citizens. The rage is starting to come to a head now (I’ll talk about this in a moment- one driver was physically assaulted).
The members of Critical Mass in Seattle block traffic on a randomly selected road on the last Friday of each month. Think about it- not only are they blocking already bad traffic that angers most regular people, but they are doing it on a FRIDAY when everyone just wants to get home to their family and enjoy their weekend. The technique Critical Mass bicyclists use to block traffic is called “corking”. Corking is a tactic that has a few riders block traffic from side roads so that the mass of bicyclists can move through red lights freely. Corking directly violates Critical Mass’s stated goal of being ordinary traffic, since they are violating all of the fundamental traffic laws and harming ordinary citizens.
Critical Mass Assaults Motorist in Seattle
At 7 pm on Friday, July 25th 2008, Critical Mass was moving through Capitol Hill and performing their corking maneuver to block traffic when a guy and his girlfriend in a Subaru tried to pull out of a parking spot. The Critical Mass bicyclists immediately moved to prevent him from getting out and a bunch of the cyclists jumped on his car and were banging on it. The man, becoming fearful that he was about to be further assaulted by the cyclists, tried to back up but bumped into a cyclist who was parked behind him. A bunch of the Critical Mass participants became very enraged according to witnesses and they started to bash on the Subaru, shattering the poor mans front & rear windows. The driver was now scared absolutely poo-less and tried to drive away, but the bicyclists followed him down about a block before the Critical Mass riders cornered his car and started spitting on him and hitting him and his girlfriend through their open windows. The bicyclists than slashed his tires and when the driver got out, he was hit in the back of the head and suffered a large head wound. The police arrived shortly after that and witnesses identified two of the assailants who were then arrested. The driver was taken to a hospital and his injuries were not life threatening.
I am seriously concerned that something like what happened to this poor driver and his girlfriend might happen to me at the next Critical Mass. Critical Mass is making Seattle unsafe for ordinary citizens. I have put a can of pepper spray and a golf club in the back seat of my car for self-defense against these criminals. Seattle police and mayor Greg Nickels need to ENFORCE THE LAW and put an end to Critical Mass bike rides.
How Can We Stop Critical Mass Bicyclists?
The Seattle police and Mayor Greg Nickels need to enforce the law. Bicyclists should be allowed to ride, as long as they follow the rules of the road like everyone else. That means no corking, no assaults, no running red lights, no stopping in the middle of the road and laying down.
Unfortunately, since Mayor Greg Nickels and the Seattle Police Department are either unwilling or unable to enforce basic laws in our city, citizens need to protect themselves. Seattle Police are too busy hunting easy targets on I-90 to fill their ticket quotas to take on the real criminals. I strongly recommend that Seattle citizens get concealed weapons permits and carry their own protection until such a time that Mayor Greg Nickels and the Seattle Police Department makes our city safe again for ordinary, law-abiding citizens.
What Happens If Critical Mass Continues?
I am afraid we will begin to see a lot more signs like these on the right. I love riding my bicycle in Seattle, but I am becoming afraid that motorists and other people will become so hostile towards cyclists because of what Critical Mass is doing that people will no longer be as careful as they should be when driving around us. Bicyclists are very vulnerable to cars and people are ordinarily pretty careful, but if they are angry they are likely to not give a cyclist quite as much room and that will create many deaths.
Please, if you are a bicyclist in Seattle, DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE CRIMINAL CRITICAL MASS BIKE RIDES ANY LONGER!