Critical Mass: A Calm Ride Through the Streets of L.A.
Critical Mass avoided controversy on Friday night, rolling to the Westside to UCLA Medical Center (where the last hospitalized victim from the Culver City Crash a couple of weeks ago is still recovering) to the traditional stop at Western and Sunset. Tickets were kept to a minimum, I could count on one hand the number of times I saw officers pulling over cyclists, and I heard more discussion of New York’s decision to allow gay marriage than I did complaints about the LAPD’s handling of the aforementioned crash. The LAPD estimated that at its peak, there were 1,300 riders taking part in the ride.
Which is not to say that the riders, or the crash, or Christine Dahab were forgotten. I was asked seven times to sign a petition I helped write in my first ten minutes at the Wilshire/Western start point before the ride headed out demanding safer streets and better enforcement of traffic laws against aggressive drivers spurred by the Christine Dahab/Koreatown Ridazz crash. Talking with other massers along the route, I was surprised at how many people were familiar with the crash and how almost no rider blamed the big blue escort with the flawed police report that blamed the riders for this month’s horrific crash.
Lost in all the discussion of what was and wasn’t reported on June 15th, is that this was the one year anniversary of the LAPD ride-alongs with Critical Mass. LAPD bike riders and Midnight Ridazz seem to have found a way to get along.
After the jump are three YouTube videos. The first video shows the size of the ride about two miles after it started at Wilshire/Western. The second is with LAPD Sargent Helper who has ridden the past thirteen Critical Mass rides representing the LAPD about his experience with Critical Mass. From a veteran to a pair of rookies, the last video is of two journalists from Santa Cruz that are taking part in a journalism fellowship with me. Both of them have traveled around Los Angeles before, but never like this.