Looks like we’re not a bunch of anarchist bike riders complaining about police misconduct, after all.
This week a landmark settlement was handed down from the city to pay participants of the monthly critical mass ride for harassment and false arrest.
Read more from the New York Times.
N.Y. / Region Section
Bike Riders in New York Win Settlement
By CATE DOTY
Published: October 18, 2010
The city agreed on Monday to pay nearly $1 million to participants in the monthly Critical Mass bicycle rides who claimed they had been wrongly detained and arrested by police officers.
The lawsuit, originally filed in 2007, represented the claims of 83 riders who had been arrested or ticketed by police during the rides from September 2004 to January 2006. The awards to the plaintiffs range from $500 for those who were cited for minor infractions, to $35,000 for a plaintiff who was arrested multiple times and was injured because of the arrests, said David B. Rankin, one of the three lawyers who represented the riders. About half the settlement will go toward legal fees.
The environmental action group Time’s Up, who has often been falsely targeted as organizers of Critical Mass, (a spontaneous event with no
leaders) released this statement about the positive impact this ride has had on the city and the bike community.
The bike ride that helped change the whole city.
In New York City during the 1990′s, bicycling was extremely dangerous. The number one complaint of cyclists was always safety. Group bicycle rides, like the critical mass, were one of the few places where cyclists could ride together and be safe. Besides their safe and fun dynamic, the group rides steadily attracted new riders which in turn built up the confidence in the riders to become everyday commuters.
In early 2000, the New York City critical mass started gaining huge popularity due to it’s celebratory spirit and safe community environment. Bikers of all types would meet the last Friday of every month, as they do in over two hundred cities around the globe, for the monthly critical mass rides. The critical mass ride in New York City has always been a place where new riders could feel safe while building a strong community voice for non polluting transportation.
The cyclists were also fed up with the lack of safe bike infrastructure, and were continuously putting pressure on the City for more bike lanes, bridge access and green infrastructure that most cities around the world already were enjoying.
Some short sighted few in the New York City Police Department attacked the critical mass riders with a vengeance. They tried everything from law suits, tickets, arrests, and harassment, to violence, spying, undercover agitation, divisionary propaganda, and even going to the point of cutting locks and stealing peoples bikes to try and stop the bike movement. However, the bikers were persistent and adopted slogans like ‘Still We Ride!’ despite the harassment.
Eventually, after much persistence and global media embarrassment, the bicycle community got their way and New York City hired a new and bike friendly D.O.T commissioner who had vision. Today, our new greener, safer and bike friendly city is now enjoyed by all. In fact, the very spot in Times Square where each month thousands of cyclists raised their bikes over their heads is now an auto free zone.
Thank you New York City critical mass for this positive sustainable change!
This is a good time to reflect on the critical mass ride. If you have any comments or stories from past experiences with the ride, please share them.
From the words of writer, professor, activist and all around concerned citizen of Brooklyn: Ben Shepard:
What: Park Slope Neighborsâ€™ Bike Ride and Walk in Support of the new Prospect Park West bike lanes and pedestrian safety improvements
When: 8AM, Thursday, October 21st
Where: Meet up at Grand Army Plaza
RSVP and share event info here: transalt.org/events/calendar/4856
This Thursday a small group of Prospect Park West residents will be gathering to speak out against the new, safer Prospect Park West design. Specifically, they will be protesting the two-way protected bike lane and pedestrian improvements. We know â€“ how can anyone be against improved safety for children, families and park users? We are confident that the supporters of the new and safer Prospect Park West far outnumber those that oppose it. Join Park Slope Neighbors and hundreds of Brooklyn residents at a rally to show this support.
What: Bike Ride and Walk Prospect Park West safety improvements
When: 8AM, Thursday, October 21st
Where: Meet up at Grand Army Plaza
Why is the new Prospect Park West important?
It improves safety – Before and after speed surveys show that the new design reduced average speeds by 25%, increased compliance with the speed limit five-fold and reduced the proportion of cars speeding 40 mph or faster from 30% to just 1.4%. This is a result of replacing one of Prospect Park Westâ€™s travel lanes with a protected, two-way bike path and pedestrian refuge islands.
The community asked for it – The new Prospect Park West was born out of community concern with unsafe driving and speeding on the corridor. The projectâ€™s development and implementation has been supported consistently over several years by Community Board 6, local elected officials, civic organizations and thousands of Park Slope residents and users of Prospect Park. Letâ€™s not let a small group of people who are unhappy with change and unbothered by speeding tell a different–and falseâ€”story.
If you care about streets designed for people and safe biking and walking join us for a demonstration of support for the Prospect Park West redesign. Whether you are on foot or on a bike, join us! We will travel along Prospect Park West together to Carroll Street, and greet the protestors there with smiles and signs of support. It will be an early morning but you can expect to be done and headed to work by 9am.
Spread the word to your friends and neighbors who care about people-friendly streets and believe that the new Prospect Park West design is working better for everyone. Please send around this link to our RSVP page and help us to show that New Yorkers care about safety: transalt.org/events/calendar/4856
(a couple of pro-bike lane supporters, photo by: ZoÃ« Schlanger/Gothamist)
I’m sorry, but of all the things to be upset about…bike lanes? Seems like the number one complaint of the anti-bike lane demonstrators is an old one: “Bike riding on the sidewalk.” Ok, then shouldn’t that be the focus of your protest? Somehow the infrastructure designed to give cyclists a place to ride has become the bad guy.
People like to complain that there is no enforcement of bad cycling behavior. I’d say it’s pretty equal…there is no enforcement of anyone, pedestrians, motorists and cyclists. Everyone is NYC is guilty. Let the finger pointing begin.
Our recently married pirate, Chris Ryan was on the scene and produced these two videos at the demonstration that gives some insight into the debate.
Mike Dee, says it best…”Everything in NYC is a compromise.”
Well, there is another anti-bike lane protest coming up.
This time in Brooklyn, against the already established Prospect Park West bike lane.
J. David Goodman of the NY Times, quoted me in his latest bicycle related story. We spoke briefly about the recent filming of Premium Rush, a new Hollywood movie about NYC messenger life. I hadn’t really wrote much on this film, even though I work in that industry, mostly because the reports I got about the script sound like its rather thin on delving into messenger culture and is more of a cookie-cutter “bad cop” Hollywood script. I’m glad to see real messengers like Austin and Squid got some roles in the movie.
Mr. Goodman’s article is more about Dave Jordan who runs a racing team (Jordan/Zephyr) and coaches people on how to ride in the city.
Here is the article, and thanks David for the quote.
Stars Get Lessons in Life Out of the Bike Lane
By J. DAVID GOODMAN
October 16, 2010, 7:30 pm
Flying on my bicycle down the dotted line between lanes on Park Avenue, I had a decision to make. I could follow Dave Jordan as he rode between rows of slow-moving traffic. That would mean bobbing and ducking around rear view mirrors that jutted out from vans like reflective baseball gloves to catch any passing helmeted head. Or I could slow down and go with the flow of traffic.
It is the kind of decision confronted less often by the cityâ€™s riders in todayâ€™s bike-lane era, in which green swaths of cyclist-only pavement knit neighborhoods together for even the most cautious of two-wheeled beginners.
The Halloween bike events are starting to pour in.
Here are a few so far:
In Washington DC:
(from the organizers) So here’s the nitty-gritty on the race:
WHAT: Dead City Halloween: Halloween alleycat through Washington DC
WHEN: Sat 30 Oct 2010
WHERE: 3:30PM @ Thomas Circle (14th & Mass & M & VT)
We’re trying to pull together sponsors for prizes to give away in categories like First Fixed Gear, First Free-Wheel, First Female, Out-Of-Town, and the like. (Also Skid, Trackstand and Footdown Competitions after the race.) so if you know of anyone that could help us out with any of that, the help would be sooo much appreciated!
For more information/comments/questions/applause/juicy secrets or to just give us a shout — please check out our blog: deadcityhalloween.blogspot.com
or email me back at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bike to School Day is on Wednesday, October 13th. This event was created by President Obama to encourage kids to bike to school and not depend on public transportation.
Bike New York, Council Member Brad Lander and the NYC Department of Transportation will lead group rides to and from Brooklyn’s public school MS 51.
The group rides, which take place from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 pm., are expected to draw hundreds of young bicyclists with their parents. There will be safety tips given before the rides start by Bike New York and the DOT.
In addition, there will be a number of routes in the morning, but below is the starting point for a press kick-off.
Â· (STARTING POINT) Time: 7:35 am at 23rd Street and 5th Avenue in Park Slope – Kick-off with speeches by Bike New York, Council Member Brad Lander and the Department of Transportation
Â· (FINAL POINT) Time: 7:50 am at MS 51: 350 Fifth Avenue (Fourth Street), Park Slope, Brooklyn – Parents, kids and hosts are available for interviews
Hundreds of Brooklyn Students to Bike to School on October 13, 2010
Students from all over the world will be walking and biking to school on Wednesday, October 13, 2010, as part of International Walk and Bike to School Day. Locally, Bike New York and the New York City Department of Transportation are teaming up to lead group rides to and from Brooklynâ€™s William Alexander School MS 51. The group rides, which take place from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 pm., are expected to draw hundreds of young bicyclists.
New York City Councilmember Brad Lander also will be participating in the group rides, biking to MS 51 with his son and giving a short speech in front of the school before 8 a.m.
Whereas nearly 50% of students nationwide walked or biked to school in 1969, that number has fallen to just 13%. As recently highlighted by the NYC Department of Health and first lady Michelle Obama, active transportation provides a wealth of benefits. Biking to school is an easy way to incorporate physical activity into daily life, itâ€™s good for the environment, itâ€™s quick, and itâ€™s exciting. In addition, studies have shown that kids who are physically active are more able to pay attention in school and perform better on tests.
MS 51â€™s celebration of International Walk and Bike to School Day follows its successful Bike to School Day events, held during Bike Month on May 28, 2010. Bike to School Day was also hosted jointly by Bike New York and the NYCDOT.
On October 13, group rides will set out from Sunset Park and Carroll Gardens, making neighborhood â€œbike stopsâ€ to collect more students en route to the school. While parents are welcome to join in, there will be adult ride leaders helping to keep the group on course.