Headlines: A Critique of Critical Mass; Potentially Deadly Yard Mushrooms

Photo of the underside of the Galveston Island Causeway: Stephen Alexander via Swamplot Flickr Pool

9 Comment

  • I am a huge proponent of cycling, but wow, does CM have it all wrong. Breaking traffic laws to the point of endangering motorists, pedestrians & other cylcists (not to mention themselves)–you’d almost think that some of them want to get hit to make a point. I hadn’t encountered them until last weekend–I think we ran into a rogue faction–the group was relatively small, but they were riding across all lanes of traffic, as well as corking, and oh yeah–not a helmet or light to be seen. It’s a wonder there weren’t multiple accidents. My husband, an avid cyclist, has nothing but disdain for this group as all they do is give a bad name to people who take cycling safety–and courtesy–very seriously. I really wish HPD would do more than just smile and hand out safety cards.

  • CM had the potential to be a great demonstration for normalizing the idea that bikes belong on the road. So it’s especially disappointing that it has become little more than an excuse for assholes to be assholes, giving all cyclists a bad name. It’s counter productive in its current form – all it does is reinforce the ideas many drivers have that cyclists are lawless and reckless and don’t belong on the road.
    I agree with sara. In the name of safety and promoting courteous road sharing by both cyclists and drivers, HPD needs to start handing out red light citations at CM like candy. If CM riders want to have an uninterrupted course to ride around on, they can apply for a parade or special event permit like anyone else.

  • Per the CM article: I’m not a chronicle subscriber. Are there any ideas that aren’t simply about complying with regular traffic laws?

  • CM isn’t about being friendly, or promoting cars/cycles together. it’s about the shock of thousands of people riding together. and if there are this many willing to coalesce in one place, how many others are there?
    I think that’s wrong though. They should have multiple different start locations all over the city, not just downtown. they should then break into groups of no more than 100 riders and all take different routes.
    This would take massive organization, but would have massive effect, yes corking would still happen, but with 100 riders it would be far less, if they can regularly draw 2500 to the ride, then there would be 25 masses rolling around houston which would give far greater coverage and impact far more people.

  • I used to do CM a few years ago when it was just a couple hundred riders. The riders that used to participate actually knew what they were doing because they were actual cyclist. Now it has exploded in popularity with people in the burbs who bought a bike from academy because some of their friends do this cool bike ride in town. So they tote their huffy downtown and ride around not knowing what to do because the haven’t rode a bike since the 5th grade. Then with all the popularity and big crowds brings the bad apples. The crowd is so big that its easy for the bad apples to get away with the foolish crap. Basically CM participants come in 3 categories: 1) The handful of people who actually know how to ride a bike. 2) The majority of folks who do not ride and just bought a bike from academy, store it in the garage in katy, then attempt to ride it at CM when the weather is nice. 3) Finally, the handful of jackasses who can get away with crap because of the crowd.

    All that said, I love riding in Houston. You have time to appreciate the architecture of our city while riding around town. You just don’t have enough time to look around when driving a car through downtown. Try it, you may learn a few new things about this great city.

  • Actually, bl, Critical Mass was much worse a few years ago. Now, with so many officials and residents watching, CM goes out of its way to keep the anarchists in line. But, here’s the problem. CM is not an “organized” ride. Sure, there are a few people at the front who tend to guide where the rest go, but there are no leaders of the group. Everyone just shows up on the last Friday at 7:00.

    You can’t really stop CM, and it would be far worse if HPD tried to disperse the crowd. Try to imagine 2500 pissed off cyclists cruising through downtown. They would block virtually every street.

    The only thing the residents are annoyed with is sitting at the light while CM cruises through. I hear demands that we get a permit. Will you feel better if you sit at the light because a cop told you to? Because that is all that would change.

  • @ Dave – Being forced to wait at a light is the least of my issues. I can’t speak for everybody, but I don’t particularly mind that one.
    On the other hand, how about CM riders tooling down downtown sidewalks, CM riders kicking cars patiently waiting, CM riders aiming at people on foot, and a variety of other (anatomical feature) moves that make me wish I still had the mostly blue ’68 Chevy truck that my folks bought for their young sons to beat up further? Not to mention that many of these goobers have NO idea how to parallel park (not a skill set needed in whatever broberhood they live in, I guess).
    Personally, the way I deal with it is to either leave downtown before it starts, or hole up until they leave.

  • CM Houston has been coopted by people who are not real cyclists and just want to go out and get crazy with friends. The last time they came through the Heights, they were yelling, cussing and carrying on at 9:00 pm at night while going through a residential area. Since when does awareness about cycling have anything to do with waking up my kids?

  • All HPD has to do is start arresting the people who block the streets. No ticket, cuff them, stuff them, then book them in the jail. After about 12 hours to process, maybe they will respect the rest of us. Where’s Captain Aguirre when you really need him?