Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Critical Mass, Illegal?

Steve, Hannah, myself and about three hundred other cyclists converged on the Southbank last Friday night for the monthly Critical Mass cycle ride. All was going quite nicely until a flotilla of police on bikes turned up and handed out the friendly little notice that's reproduced to the left. It's interesting that they regard the 'Mass as a "Demonstration", when the website states: "Critical Mass London is a mass cycle around central London to assert our identity as cyclists and celebrate the freedom we should enjoy as cyclists....." It ain't a demonstration, Superintendent Gomm, it's a group ride.

They also maintain that it's "not lawful because no organiser has provided police with the neccessary notification.". Well, if a permanent presence on the internet advising: "....Anyone can join in, just bring yourself and your bike down to the South Bank on the last Friday of each month, between 6pm & 6:45pm under Waterloo Bridge." aint notification, then how come the good officers of the Met have had a presence (and escorted us, blocked intersections, dealt with irate motorists, etc) at every ride I've been on over the last three years or so? Another fact that the cops don't seem to be able to grasp is that there is no organiser (person or committee) of Critical Mass. It's just an organic event that HAPPENS.

Do they crack down on 3,000 cars descending on Highbury for an Arsenal home game every second Saturday? Why incite trouble by trying to close down an event that has been a part of London for the last eleven years?

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