For those that don’t know, Critical Mass is a monthly bike ride that takes place on the 4th Friday of the month. The purpose of the ride is to gather so many cyclists that drivers can’t ignore them, buzz them or harass them. This both created a safe place for cycling and made a statement that the needs of cyclists is too big to ignore. In Santa Monica, Critical Mass met on the first Monday, so that it didn’t conflict with the larger event that starts in Los Angeles’ Koreatown on the 4th Friday.
In a way, Santa Monica was an odd fit for Critical Mass. Located next to Los Angeles, a sprawling megaopolis which was one of the most bike-unfriendly cities in the world at the time, Santa Monica was in the early steps of becoming a more bike-friendly place.
I know, I know…there are still a group of riders that meet on the last Friday of the month to go for a Critical Mass ride, but let’s face it Critical Mass really had its hay-day in Santa Monica in from 2006-2009.
But thanks to a police crackdown on the ride urged by the City Council and Mayors Richard Bloom (Dec. 2006-2007) and Herbert Katz (Dec. 2007-2008), the ride swelled as a fun, medium-risk way to make a statement that bicyclists deserve equal treatment on the road. With the foundation of Bikeside and Santa Monica Spoke, the advocacy that fueled Critical Mass was spent in more traditional advocacy. Read more…