We ride the last Friday of every month all year round. Meet at confederation park (elgin and laurier) at 5:30, ride leaves at 6pm!

This is a team blog. To join the team (and get access to post and/or administer the site), email criticalmassottawa@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More Biking News

From http://www.cbc.ca/ottawa/story/ot-driver20060531.html

Sentencing delayed in bicycle hit-run

The sentencing hearing for a man accused of injuring a group bicyclists after clipping one with his pickup truck has been postponed for two months. Richard Martin was found guilty in April of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and for failing to remain at the scene of an accident after the incident in June 2004. A dozen Ottawa Bicycle Club members were cycling down Riverside Drive when Martin drove by the group in his truck, slowed down and then clipped the lead rider, court heard. The lead rider suffered two broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder, and four others were injured in the resulting pileup. During the trial, court was told that Martin, whose son was with him in the truck, laughed about the incident all the way home. On Wednesday, Martin's lawyer, Kimberley Pegg, argued her client had "no malevolence" when he sideswiped the rider. Pegg admitted her client had some responsibility for the incident, but argued it is "on the low end of bad driving."

The hearing has been postponed to Aug. 9.

This story was also on the radio this morning with an interview from the President of the Ottawa Bicycle Club.

I was shocked at how minimal the convictions were considering the impact described - the guy that was "clipped" broke bones and many others on that ride ended up falling in a chain reaction.

Isn't using a vehicle to injure people more like assault than dangerous driving?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Arrests in Winnipeg Critical Mass

Cops haul in Bike Activists
Monthly Ride Gets Ugly

Sat, May 27, 2006


A bike ride through the streets of downtown Winnipeg ended in chaos and arrests yesterday.

Members of Critical Mass Winnipeg -- an activist group that promotes bicycle use over automobiles -- claim police used excessive force when several cyclists were arrested near the provincial legislature.

Police followed approximately 50 cyclists -- many dressed in costumes in what was apparently a display of self-expression -- along their route before trying to arrest some members near the corner of Donald Street and Broadway around 5:30 p.m.

Melanie Howe, who was taking part in the monthly bike ride, said she wasn't sure how everything started. Earlier, police stopped traffic at the corner of Portage Avenue and Main Street so the cyclists could proceed.

"I saw several cops chase after this bicyclist and grab him in a headlock from the back," said Howe, who wore fairy wings and antennae. "I saw one fellow with a cop's knee on his head; he was being pressed to the ground."


Shaun Martin said police and some of his fellow cyclists were jawing at one another before all hell broke loose.

"People started arguing with the cops. There's some anti-establishment sentiment going on here. I guess some guys got aggressive and things got out of hand," he said. "It was just crazy. Absolutely crazy."

Police Insp. Steve Pilote said five adults were arrested in total and face traffic-related charges in addition to possible charges stemming from the scuffle that broke out.

Critical Mass members, who gathered outside the Public Safety Building following the arrests, said some cyclists were injured and one might have suffered a broken leg but Pilote said any injuries were relatively minor.

"I don't know of anybody that has any injuries that were of any consequence," he said. "I would expect there might be some scrapes and bumps on both sides but nobody went to the hospital or anything like that."

Several Critical Mass members were arrested earlier this month for allegedly disrupting traffic to protest Operation Charging Bison, a military exercise that took place in Winnipeg.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ye Cycling Pirates

This friday may 26 be the pirate critical mass

So I shall tell ye now the long and the short of it: This
Friday it will be six and twenty days of May (May 26th) as we here
know it to be the last friday of the month cycle. So then it shall be
a pirate Critical Mass this month only. We Ride for one and all to
join in to or walk the plank (just don't drive a car there!)

We shall Meet on the "X" spot at Confederation Park. We shall
parley there around 530pm I say but I reckon we won't be leaving until
6pm on that eve. We hope to ride to Cape of Good Pedalling, where the
Car-Free Island that we will create by riding together gives us the
bounty of safe and comfortable cycling.

Come as ye will, festooned in pirate gear for all to see,
bring flute or drum or any noisey thing you can carry to inspire the
imagination. Not just bicycles but all those who sail under their own
wind are welcome, skateboards, wheelchairs, rollerskates etc. We set
out at 6 PM sharp rain or shine so ye best come prepaared!

- Remember, We Don't Block Traffick For, We ARRRR Traffick!!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Three Weeks to World Naked Bike Ride!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

further discussion on CM this wednesday night

anyone interested in meeting to discuss some of these strategy issues for critical mass is invited to come out this wednesday night at 7pm, at 279 flora street (at percy). please pass the word along,

and if you can't attend but are still interested in getting some ideas out there please have your own discussions, use the listserve, or post to this blog! (email ottawacriticalmass@gmail.com for access).

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Do You Want to Post?

If you want to post, please send a request to ottawacriticalmass@gmail.com and you will recieve a reply invitation to join the team, and you will be able to post. Note that you must have or create an account with Blogger.com in order to do this.

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Friday, May 05, 2006

You're Right - cycling is dangerous

This one hit a little too close to home ...

Cellphone distraction cited in B.C. cyclist's death

CBC News


Commuter Group Ride to Work

I currently bike to work from Bank/Sunnyside to Bank/Laurier. I have tried biking straight down Bank St., since this is the most direct route, but every time I do this ride I find the experience unenjoyable because cars drive very closely to me.

I more often bike along the canal to Lisgar where I bike back to Bank St. This does not take me much longer - maybe about 10 minutes.

I feel frustrated by my intimidation to ride down Bank St. and I wanted to do something about it.

I would like to start a commuter group ride to work. Ideally I would like it to be every day (to and from) but maybe we can start by testing it out one day a week.

If anyone is interested please let me know!

We could meet at Bank/Sunnyside (NW corner) in the parking lot at 8:20 a.m. and head downtown shortly after.

After work we could meet at Bank Laurier (SE corner) in the parking lot at around 5pm and head back down Bank St. towards Sunnyside.

let me know your thoughts!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

More Discussion From Neil

Flame war aside, some good points have been raised here. Friday’s Critical Mass was the first I’ve ridden in, and I think it’s a positive event with a good message. I also think that some things that shouldn’t have happened, happened.

When we ride as a large group we attract a lot of attention to ourselves. That’s the whole point of Critical Mass. It also means that we need to be doing things safer and cleaner than any other time we ride. It wouldn’t take much to make the event a lot less of a nuisance to drivers and pedestrians without compromising its spirit. If we want to turn to police who stop us and say we’re not doing anything wrong, then we better make sure we aren’t.

The city says everyone on a bike needs a bell and a little reflective tape on their front and rear forks. Spending six or eight dollars at MEC or a cycling store will set you up with these. If there are people on the rides who really can’t afford them, maybe some of the riders with more income can chip in and pick up some bells and tape to distribute.

While you’re at it, get a helmet. You can get a perfectly good one for about fifteen bucks, it shows everyone you’re safety conscious, and it could save your life if something does go wrong on the ride.

The city also asks us not to ride on the sidewalk. We all do it now and then, but let’s avoid doing it on the rides. There are enough of us on the street that getting hit from behind isn’t a real danger, and we’ll avoid getting pedestrians angry.

Whenever we’re on a street with more than one lane in each direction, let’s keep at least one lane clear so that traffic can pass by us. It’ll annoy fewer drivers, and they’ll get a great view of us as they cruise past. If what I saw Friday is any gauge, some of them will smile and wave. There’s really no good reason to ride in the oncoming lane, as a few people did. It’s not safe, and I can’t see how it improves the event. As for running red lights, it’s probably impossible to avoid it completely.

For the non Critical Mass riders who are reading this, I’ll explain quickly. The whole point of the ride is to travel as a group, and from time to time a light will change as the pack is travelling through an intersection. This means some of us have to run the light to keep the group together. In order to keep things safe, some riders usually line up on either side of the intersection and “cork” the traffic, just until the pack gets through. We don’t do this to piss people off, we do it to keep riders from getting hurt.

On the other hand, if a light turns red as the group is approaching an intersection, STOP! Use the pause as a chance for the riders to re-group and re-organize. Running the light isn’t safe anyway. If you are corking, be nice about it. Smile and wave, even if the drivers are honking and frowning, and always say “thank you” as you ride away.

If the worst should happen and a motorist decides to start trouble, DON’T ESCALATE THINGS! Hold your ground till the pack gets clear of the intersection, then ride away. Don’t flip them off, don’t yell; heck, don’t look angry if you can help it. And of course, do NOT start a physical confrontation. No good will come of it.

If the cops show up, PLEASE don’t instigate. Get out of the way if they drive up with their lights and siren on (same goes for any other emergency vehicle). If they stop you, be polite and answer their questions. If you’ve followed the other suggestions I’ve made, you’re not doing anything wrong anyway, and they have no grounds to fine or arrest you. And it should go without saying that talking shit or shouting “more bikes, less cops” does us no good at all. The whole point of what we do is to promote bikes and bike riding in the community at large. If we want the community to treat us with respect, we need to show respect to its other members. Let’s attract attention, but let’s be smart about it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Critical Mass is a monthly bicycle ride to celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists' right to the road.

In the interest of having a better-informed conversation about Critical Mass, I have posted the following regarding what the ride actually is. There appears to be quite a lot of misinformation about the purpose of the ride!

Please Visit http://critical-mass.info/ for more information

Critical Mass is a monthly bicycle ride to celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists' right to the road. The idea started in San Francisco in September 1992 and quickly spread to cities all over the world. This site attempts to be the most complete guide to local Critical Mass rides around the globe.
Critical Mass has a different flavor from city to city -- there's a big variety in size, respect of traffic laws (or lack thereof), interaction with motorists, and intervention by police. So if you want to know more about Critical Mass, you'll really need to find out what your local ride is like. For those who must know more right now, here's a link to Phoenix, Arizona CM, which I suppose is a "typical" CM ride, if there is such a thing.
Critical Mass has no leaders, and no central organization licenses rides. In every city that has a CM ride, some locals simply picked a date, time, and location for the ride and publicized it, and thus the ride was born.
CM is an idea and an event, not an organization. You can't write to "Critical Mass" -- certainly not by writing to me.
Some CM riders try to tie up traffic as much as possible and be otherwise confrontational with motorists. Such riders are missing the point about Critical Mass. CM is a celebration of cycling, not a war against motorists. CM is about asserting our right to the road, not denying others their right to the road. Those who want to play juvenile games are encouraged to stay at home instead.



Monday, May 01, 2006

I have an awesome idea guys!

Get this:

How about every friday we get a large bunch of tree hugging hippies together and ride our bicycles all through the downtown core disrupting traffic and pissing other drivers off! And if anyone tries to stop us we can bust a few mirrors off eh!! We don't need to follow traffic laws! We are cyclists! We can do what we please!!