Friday, November 06, 2009

"Critical Mass lost a supporter today"

The comments below are from a new Critical Mass blog by one of the founders of the disruptive, juvenile demo, Chris Carlsson. Apparently even Carlsson is beginning to realize that Critical Mass is counterproductive for the great, planet-saving bike movement: "Are there really still bicyclists showing up who think it’s cool, or radical, or important to block oncoming traffic on the opposite side of two way streets? And how boring is it to 'circle up' in intersections, pointlessly blocking traffic in every direction?"

John wrote:
I would just like to let you know that Critical Mass lost a supporter today. As someone who regularly bikes to work, I totally agree with the need to preserve bicyclists’ safety, and make the city more bike-friendly. However, Critical Mass is completely counterproductive, and only serves to alienate the biking community from the rest of the city by making us seem like a fringe group bent on disrupting motorists’ commutes. After what I witnessed tonight, I would venture to bet that the majority of San Franciscans have a negative opinion of the ride, and possibly of bikers as a whole.

While I prefer biking to work, sometimes I take the bus. Tonight, I was stuck on the 38L with at least 50 disgruntled passengers, as Critical Mass interrupted our route twice (once at Market and Geary, and again at Geary and Van Ness). The bus was filled with people who would probably agree with the goals of easing congestion and having a city less reliant on cars, while providing more space for bikes and public transit. In other words, they were allies. Notice the use of the word *were*. Once we got to Van Ness, and waited for probably 10 traffic light cycles, the general feeling on the bus was one of anger and frustration, and there were quite a few shouts of “I hate bikes”. I guarantee there was not a single person who thought to themselves, “if only there were more bike lanes in the city.”

I would hope that the energy put into Critical Mass could be used for something more productive, like lobbying City Hall for more bike lanes, or at least for something less destructive to the image of bikers. But, alas, I am sure that is a pipe dream, and the ride will continue for the foreseeable future. However, when I get on my bike tomorrow, I know I will feel less safe, as I fear motorists will have no regard for my rights and no respect for my space. Thanks Critical Mass for making the city more dangerous for bikers!

Peter wrote:
Frankly, Critical Mass loses far more supporters than it gains. While waiting through fifteen or so light cycles at Harrison & 3rd on Halloween, I saw Critical Mass riders force a fire truck with its siren on to a complete stop, and terrorize three middle aged women trying to cross 3rd when they had the green light. The only thing CM proves to me is that the drivers in San Francisco have more respect for the bicyclists than the bicyclists do for anyone else.

One of the leading causes of bicycle accidents is the pervasive and totally incorrect belief among bicyclists that the traffic laws don’t apply to them. CM just reinforces that belief when it makes a practice of running red lights, failing to yield to pedestrians, and illegally obstructing traffic. It obscures the fact that most cyclists are not arrogant spoiled brats who feel that the roads were paved just for them.

See also today's NY Times:

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6 Comments:

At 10:05 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"While waiting through fifteen or so light cycles at Harrison & 3rd on Halloween, I saw Critical Mass riders force a fire truck with its siren on to a complete stop"

I was there - not intentionally, my route home went through there. Once in the mass, it was a pain in the ass as it took me 7 blocks to weave through the mass and actually ride home. But I can that the statement above is a lie. I saw the fire truck coming at us and was like "oh shit this can't be good". But the mass moved and the truck moved on.

And I know plenty of people partial to CM (I have better things to do with Friday night) who do not practice "running red lights, failing to yield to pedestrians, and illegally obstructing traffic" when they aren't in the mass. And I know none who do. It's a big monthly parade. And like I said, if "John" is such a cyclist and was previously a "supporter of critical mass" that CM lost, he would know that taking the 38 at 6:20 PM on the last Friday of October was like strolling down Hayes St during the Bay to Breakers. He was never a supporter - this is just hyperbole, probably from a non-cyclist.

"I would hope that the energy put into Critical Mass could be used for something more productive, like lobbying City Hall for more bike lanes"

Even I have only so much energy for telling Rob Anderson what a tool he is. Sometimes you just want to have fun. I mean, if nobody was every allowed to have fun, what would this place be? Rob-Anderson-ville.

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Even I have only so much energy for telling Rob Anderson what a tool he is. Sometimes you just want to have fun. I mean, if nobody was every allowed to have fun, what would this place be? Rob-Anderson-ville."

I never tire of telling you what an asshole you are. On the other hand, most of us learn as children that you shouldn't have your fun at someone else's expense. Seems like your generation's sense of entitlement is enormous. When you aren't behaving like jerks on city streets, you insist that the city make your risky hobby safe. What kind of upbringing spawned a whole generation of assholes like you?

 
At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What kind of upbringing spawned a whole generation of assholes like you?"

I think I can answer that. It's the "my little baby can do no wrong", "Let him express himself, don't restrain him from doing whatever he wants to do," and "You're the most important person in the whole world!" kind of upbringing. An upbringing that emphasizes rights over responsibilities, "free expression" over respect for others, and self-centeredness. And yes, there's far too many of them these days, among my own generation, sadly.

 
At 3:07 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Maybe these folks are a consequence too of the self-esteem movement, which would explain why they seem to think they're adorable no matter how obnoxious their behavior is.

 
At 9:36 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"Seems like your generation's sense of entitlement is enormous."

Which generation is that? Any generation but your own?

 
At 11:16 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Duh

 

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