Critical Mass: A Calm Ride Through the Streets of L.A.

It's not exact, but here's a rough copy of the route from Friday's Critical Mass. A cool 36.3 miles.

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.


The “New” Critical Mass: Evolving, Not Dying

When I rolled up to Wilshire and Western at 7:00 P.M. last Friday, there were already close to 750 cyclists present, everyone was in a good mood, and there was still a half hour before the ride was even supposed to start.  Ridecards were being handed out urging cyclists to follow the rules of the […]

Newest Group of Ridazz: The LAPD

For a full size version of the flyer, click here. Traditionally, small groups of bike riders from around the city gather together on the fourth Friday of the month and head to the Wilshire/Western Red Line Station to gather for Los Angeles Critical Mass.  This month, following what Streetsblog is calling the "Critical Mass Attack," […]

Fixing the System That Abandoned Susanna Schick

(Friends of Susana’s have set up a ChipIn account to collect funds to help with medical bills.  You can donate, here.) By now you’ve probably heard the story. Susanna Schick was bicycling down Spring Street in the green buffered bike lane on Friday night, when she was harassed by the driver of a white Lexus. […]

LAPD Tackle Cyclists at Friday’s Critical Mass

Photo from of cyclists going through Second Street Tunnel via LACM’s twitter feed. Bike discussion sites have been abuzz since last Friday with news that things got ugly when Los Angeles Critical Mass breezed onto Los Angeles Street and ran into an LAPD Squad Car facing against traffic with its lights flashing.  According to eye […]

Previewing Friday’s (Rainy?) Critical Mass

This Friday at 7:30 P.M. riders and their police escort will pedal out of the Wilshire/Western starting point for the next chapter in the “new” Critical Mass.  Ever since the LAPD was caught on tape violently “policing” Critical Mass in May, police bicycle riders (and some using motorized vehicles) have joined the Mass to help […]