News Archive 2008

December ride 2008

Because the ride was on Boxing Day there were no trains.

"It was a fairly small ride less than 100 which went due North up to Holborn then down Oxford St. The ride split several times and ended more or less at Parliament Sq. People are starting to get used to corking without the police but because of small numbers ride splitting was a problem."

Traffic Kills London

Eco community Traffic Kills is proud to announce the first action organized by its London Meetup: 'A Polite Display of Power in London'.

After Turin (Italy) and Santa Monica (USA) the Traffic Kills London Meetup organized this action on the past 6th of December, during the Global Day of Action Against Climate Change.

The event consisted of pedestrians and cyclists creating a thick crowd and crossing a busy road repeatedly, thus being able to block the more ordinary car traffic. Blog with video. Website.

Climate Bike ride

The ride of more than 100 participants visited three climate greenwash headquarters, Greenergy, 198 High Holborn - for an agrofuels protest organised by Biofuelswatch, E.On 100 Pall Mall - for a speaker on no new coal and the Department of Transport - for a speaker on sustainable transport, before joining up with the National Climate March on Parliament. Website. Report with pics. Video.

November ride 2008.

Still no cycle police! About 200 riders this time. Sound systems played on in the SOCPA zone and then outside New Scotland Yard, with chants from riders of "one-nil! one-nil!" A motorist rammed a bike and bent its back wheel and then assaulted a cyclist and was finally arrrested by police. Report with pics. Route map. More reports.

House of Lords appeal won!

On Monday 20th October 2008 an appeal by Des Kay and Friends of the Earth, against the Commissioner of Metropolitan Police, was heard by five Law Lords and their decision is that the appeal is allowed and CM is a commonly or customarily held procession without organisers and therefore does not need to inform the police of each ride. Judgment. FOE press release.

October Halloween ride 2008

Again, no cycle police. CMers quickly relearned corking in their absence. First the ride went South to the Elephant and Castle and then North to Stoke Newington. "The look of joy from people looking down from their balcony's and the halloweeners we passed on foot, the fancy dress and a really good happy feeling in general". One large and a couple of small sound systems added to the cheerful mood. Video. Reports and pics | 1 | 2 | 3 |.

Big Turnout for Liverpool Critical Mass.

"Dozens of cyclists of all ages and backgrounds, from students to social workers, turned out. They included a visitor who has recently come from New Zealand and took part in critical mass rides there... Liverpool Critical Mass has not so far had any police interference, and is successfully enabling cyclists to use the roads safely, and assert their right to be recognised as road users." More and pics.

September ride 2008.

No cycle police presence at all this time! Some confrontations with drivers and pedestrians. A taxi deliberately damaged a bike. Perfect weather and about 500 riders or maybe more. With no police nothing was done to stop the cycle sound systems playing in the SOCPA zone around Parliament. Reports | 1 | 2 | 3 | video |.

During the ride some special police came out of nowhere, attacked riders and told motorists to drive straight into the Mass to make them get out of their way, and then they left shortly afterwards. Reports | 1 | 2 |.

August ride 2008.

Before the start of the ride there was unusual mingling of police with riders. During the ride several riders were stopped by police and some were ticketed or threatened with arrest. The ride itself felt very empowering and motorists hooted in vain. There was plenty of vocal support from pub crowds too. Reports. Video of a ticketing.

Free Tibet Cycle Ride 15-8-08

About 50 riders assembled for the Free Tibet Ride on the Southbank by Waterloo Bridge. Video. Website.

Video of Cop Assaulting Cyclist at NYC Critical Mass Ride.

"Another Critical Mass ride, another stunning display of police brutality. Watch as one of New York's finest violently shoves a cyclist off his bicycle, launching him through the air to the curb at 46th street and Seventh Avenue during Friday night's monthly Critical Mass ride." Report with video. Charges dismissed against cyclist.

July ride 2008.

Estimated by a count as more than 700 cyclists. At one point the police held up the front of the ride for so long that the Mass got fed up with it and turned around and went back the way they came. Apart from the police trying to compress the ride into the smallest space possible, slowing things down and causing even more traffic delays, a consensus seems to be that it was a good ride. Reports | 1 | 2 |

Seattle Critical Mass turns violent.

A ride turned violent Friday night after a group of cyclists taking part in the Critical Mass got into a fight with a driver who rammed them on Seattle's Capitol Hill. Report.

Croydon Bike ride harassed by police.

"After empty - and illegal - threats to the first biker, the policemen left us alone although we felt just as harassed by the FIT photo camera continuously pointing at us, making us feel like criminals when we're not." Report.

Atlanta Critical Mass versus police. Video.

June ride 2008

About 600 riders went to Brixton, Stockwell, Vauxhall and Parliament Square, ending with a street party outside Buckingham Palace. Report with pics. Video.

First South London Critical Mass.

Friday 4th July, 6:30pm, Peckham library. Blog with video.

May ride 2008.

"Overall very good! A healthy turn-out, lighter nights and better weather." Reports | 1 | 2 | Photos | 1 |

Toronto CM.

On Friday night more than 200 Toronto cyclists overtook the Gardiner Expressway. Entering on the westbound ramp at Jarvis and cycling toward the Dunn Street exit, a group belonging to Critical Mass set out to block traffic on Toronto's much maligned waterfront barrier before cops descended, broke up the ride and arrested some participants. More | 1 | 2 |

House of Lords appeal due in October.

In September 2005 the police issued this leaflet warning to London CM participants. A cyclist Des Kay, with the help of Friends of the Earth, took the Met Police to court and won! The police managed to overturn that decision. See Court findings. So then a further appeal was taken to the House of Lords.

Arrests at Riga CM.

Seven cyclists were arrested at Riga CM. Pics and comments | 1 | 2 | Video |

No police on NYC CM ride!

In recent years NYC CM rides have been plagued by a heavy police presence, with tickets being issued, bikes impounded and even police assaulting and arresting riders. So why were there no police on the April ride? Reports and video | 1 | 2 |

April ride 2008.

14th Anniversary ride. A fun ride well attended with good weather. Police still silencing bicycle sound systems in the SOCPA zone despite the relevant law under repeal. Reports | 1 | 2 | Photos | 1 | 2 | 3 | Video |

Minneapolis court case.

Following the attack by police on the Minneapolis CM ride in August 2007 Augustin Ganley was charged with assaulting a police officer. "Of the 19 people (3 of them minors, another an unassociated bystander) who were haphazardly arrested (tased, pepper sprayed, maced, etc) and sent to jail to be booked, the city couldn't find the evidence to back up their cases and prosecute 14 of them and their charges are not being pursued. 5 are currently facing charges including everything from interfering with arrest to assault on a police officer." More: 1 | 2 | 3 | Augustin Ganley now acquitted | 4 |

March ride 2008.

"I left at Old St as well...a few people headed up Shoreditch than came to a halt at the Foundry - did we split in two at Old St?

Coppers getting very frustrating - they hold the mass up at lights for as long as possible to try and cram everyone together into a tiny tiny space. This means everyone rides very close together and subsequently we end up going slower. I was right at the back for a bit as well, and got hassle from a copper asking me to push up into the rest of the crowd, even though I was going at the same speed as everyone else, and there was no room directly in front of me. It got to the point where he was saying "Look, go round her on the outside, weave past him, then cut in there". What the hell are they playing it? Please if you're at the front, try and get past the police blockades and spread out a bit, then we go faster and can have a better ride!!!" Video.

Constitutional renewal pdf. Report. More.

SOCPA repeal.

Following its consultation, the Government is looking to repeal SOCPA sections 132-138. Section 137 restricts the playing of loudspeakers within the zone, a bone of contention for some CMers as it means that the police are insisting that cycle sound systems must be turned off in the vicinity of Parliament. Curiously, this police ban seems not to be applied to car sound systems. However...

"The Government therefore invites the views of Parliament on whether additional provision is needed for the purpose of keeping passages leading to the House free and open while the House is sitting, or to ensure that, for example, excessive noise is not used to disrupt the workings of Parliament."

February ride 2008.

"Anyway, when we arrived at the South Bank, we thought we saw the CM, but when we got there it was mostly - the police. I can't believe how many there were. It was a bit bizarre having mostly cycled in 'friendly charity rides' where motorists don't give us any aggro. It felt a bit like 'going to parts of Northern Ireland'. Should I turn back and scarper? 'Course not, don't be silly!" More.

Critical Mass 'Have a Go Hero' cleared of all charges in Bristol.

In May of last year, someone stood in the road and tried to stop a car, who had hit a Critical Mass cyclist off their bike, from driving away. For that he was arrested for obstructing the highway, thrown to the floor by his neck whilst handcuffed, and then - surprise surprise - also arrested for assaulting a police officer. Today, after 9 months of nervous waiting, he was finally cleared of all charges, as Bristol Magistrates Court accepted a submission that the police evidence was at best 'severely flawed' and at worst, fabricated, and the trial was stopped. More including pics.

January 2008 ride.

A subdued start to a good ride, held up by a massive traffic jam in the Strand, but it livened up later with a bike high in Piccadilly Circus and taunts to impatient car horns. Joyful chants of 'More bikes less cars' and 'Whose streets? Our streets'.

Several sound systems this time, some were threatened with SOCPA prosecution if they dared to play in the vicinity of Parliament. Cycle police were back after their Christmas/New Year break, about 28 in all - they usually don't turn up at all to the December ride. They barked orders and blocked the ride at some intersections but did a good job of corking and even told off a few drivers. Later they shut down a sound system in Whitehall.

Just before Oxford Circus, a wannabe saboteur threw a glass bottle into the road which shattered into lots of puncturing shards, something to watch out for in future.

Archive 2007