Monday, June 27, 2005

My first Critical Mass ride in Sacramento

CM had been defunct in the city, and it just started again two months ago.
The first ride apparently went well, but during the second ride police showed,
responding to a call of "people throwing bikes at cars." Two people were
arrested and charged only with resisting arrest, and some citations were

So enter month 3, my first ride. About 25 riders showed up. As we were gathering, the
police were also gathering on the outskirts of the park. One of the riders
also mentioned that they had just been at starbucks, and overheard a couple of
officers talking about enforcing critical mass. After a enough people had
gathered, an officer came over to us and asked if he could talk to anyone in
charge, and what the planned route was. He was actually very polite, however,
there wasn't anyone in charge, and no planned route, and they saw this as a
sign that we were being uncooporative, and quickly changed their moode. A few
minutes later the shift seargent came over, and in a very hard ass manner,
informed us what he was going to "allow." This included us being allowed to
take over an entire lane on one way streets, and ride two a breast in the bike
lane, as long as we didn't cross into the street. This didn't bother me much,
since I don't think 25 people is enough people to legitimitely take over an
entire one way street, and that using the bike lanes promotes car/bike
freindliness. Any deviation from his allowed instructions would result in
what enforcement means was necessary. While he was giving the speech, there
were people from the mass video taping him, and officers video taping, and
then people videtaping the officer vide taping, because it was just funny.

Then we were off, with the police surrounding us the entire way.

6 squad cars = 9 officers
6 motorcycle cops = 6 officers
6 bike cops = 6 officers
Grand total = 21 police officers for 25 riders.

They had the motor cycle cops spread out ahead of every possible corner, so if
we were to take a turn, they would be there. This lead to lots of parking
lots and turn around. All around fun.

The shift seargent was on a motorcycle, and stayed behind us the entire way,
talking over his bullhorn, demanding that people stay in the lanes, and
letting anyone know if they were out of line. Rather humorous.

Then we turned onto an empty street with one lane going in each direction.
Here is where things got interesting. The seargent starting yelling over his
bullhorn demanding that we ride single file, and hug the parked cars, leaving
a clear lane for the cars that weren't driving on the street. That pissed us
off, and we quickly turned off to a different street, which happened to have a
bike lane. Here, one of the girls made a silly decision to do some civil
disobedience, rode out into the street. The seargent pulled up behind her,
gave multiple warnings, counted to 10, and then pulled her over to cite her
for "blocking traffic." I think it was a silly move, because I'm not sure how
a judge will see it when there was a bike lane provided. (Although one of the
other girls did mention that you're allowed to use the traffic lane when the
bike lane is blocked, which it was, by bicyclists) So, the paddy wagon
pulled, up and her bike was confiscated. This was a really funny situation.
25 people, bikes and people officers standing on a corner for a half hour.
Traffic in most directions is blocked by the squad cars, and all sorts of
people coming over and asking what is going on. Plus, after we take off
again, we now also have a paddy wagon following us.

No more incidents for the rest of ride, which included more police evasion,
and taking a break in a park where cars couldn't drive in, until we finally
crossed a bridge into another county, and the police didn't follow.

FYI, for anyone interested, we meet between 5:00 and 5:30 in the park on the corner of 16th and P street. Last Friday of every month.

Sorry, no pictures:( I'll try to remember to bring my camera in August.


Post a Comment

<< Home