Spontaneous group rides are crushed in NYC

I guess we all saw it coming. We’ve been waiting on a ruling by Judge Lewis Kaplan on the status of the parade laws which state, that people need a permit in order to have group rides of more than 50 people. On Tuesday, Judge Kaplan handed down his decision and said that the NYPD asking for a permit, did not violate constitutional rights of freedom of assembly.

So what should the critical mass in NYC do?

A) stop all together.
B) have rides of only 49 people.
C) ask the police for a permit to have a spontaneous bike ride of 50 or more people which isn’t organized by anyone and has no designated route?
D) have a designated route that leaves from Union Square, goes through Time’s Square and back down to Wall Street on the last Friday of every month, that has to follow all traffic laws and not block any intersections?

More on the ruling in this NY Times article, written by Michael S. Schmidt

Headline: Judge Rules Bike Groups Must Get Parade Permits

“A federal judge in Manhattan on Tuesday dealt a blow to organizers of group bicycle protests, ruling that the City of New York did not violate the constitutional rights of cyclists by requiring them to get parade permits.

The judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, said he was sympathetic to the cyclists. However, Judge Kaplan said, parade regulations and their enforcement by the New York Police Department did not violate their constitutional rights, in particular their freedom of speech.

The ruling will affect protests known as Critical Mass, in which large groups of cyclists congregate in the city and take random paths through the streets. It will also affect the Five Borough Bike Club, which filed a lawsuit against the city in 2007 after the Police Department amended its parade rules, saying it would ticket or arrest any group of 50 cyclists or more that did not have a parade permit.”

read the article here.

I would love to hear your opinions on the NYC critical mass. Should it continue?

12 comments to Spontaneous group rides are crushed in NYC

  • =v= Media coverage is overlooking the fact that this was a Five Borough Bike Club lawsuit, due to the fact that the overarching “get a permit” rule screws up more than just Critical Mass. New York City has been having club rides without permits since the Velocipede Craze of the 1870s, and traffic has somehow survived that. Kaplan’s ruling makes no sense.

  • Miguel Marcos

    I would follow B *and* C and do B with multiple groups of 49. Gather a large static crowd of cyclists, count off groups of 49 or less, and get send them off at 7 minute intervals.

  • phil g.

    I agree with Miguel. Also, I think it would be better if there was some sort of organization to it all. I mean, I’ve ridden it 3 times and only 1 time did we have a successful ride where everyone stuck together. If there were a set path as said above, I think that would keep things together better.

  • ARX

    Really? This is crazy. Have yet to hear of one here in CA

  • Ride as a massive bike traffic jam every day!

    Especially the 1st Friday of the month, 7pm, Union Square North!

  • Yeah. B and C. If a mass ride panicked them, a dozen or so running in different directions should have them in a tizzy. Inundated with applications they are expected to process in a timely manner and NOT ALLOWED TO REFUSE just may induce rethinking of this madness.

  • Mike

    Do how it was always done becuz i still didnt get a chance to experience critical mass.

  • Andrea

    B and C i think are the best two options.

  • Brian

    Riding with a mob is indeed fun.
    Critical Mass harms bicycling.

  • cutter

    they didn’t say anything about GROUP BIKE PARTIES!!!


    bringing the Midnight Ridazz spirit to brooklyn soon. keep an ear to the ground.

  • Fergie

    Since when has it mattered if you are “breaking the law” or not- the police are going to write you some kind of BS ticket. Honestly what difference does it make? None of this will hold up in the long term anyway.

    To be honest, I always thought CM was best when it was about 10-100 people anyway. Much smoother, much less disruption, much more fun!

  • Chris

    i agree with fergie, who cares? and who are they going to give the tickets to anyways? everyone? no. and if you do happen to be dumb enough to stop for a cop when you’re in a huge group of people then who’s that cop to say you’re part of the group and not just some dude riding to wherever, short of observing you hanging out at the meeting point with everyone else?
    this seems just as enforceable as CM blocking up intersections and blowing reds, and even easier to get out of.