Critical Mass

Chronicle and short summaries of Critical Mass incidents, events and news worldwide (incomplete).

Bikeonhead: incidents


Bikeonhead April 25, 2008 Riga On May 1st, 2008, several participants were arrested by the Riga, Latvia Police Department because of "breaking the traffic rules and disobeying the police".[1] However, some of the arrested people claim they weren't told by the policemen what they are accused for.[2]

Eyewitnesses are certifying that at least three cases 1 May 2008 Riga Police used to drive vehicle consciously over the bicyclists, brutally pushed cyclists by dresses while driving to fall over head (at full speed), and at last, arrested two AFI press photographers for the reason they just filmed police brutality. Camera content was demanded to erase. Due the unreasonable low interest on such shocking Police conduct from the Latvian mass media, have been guessed that media information had been heavily censored. Text from Critical Mass (English Wikipedia article)#Riga, Latvia.

Bikeonhead April 25, 2008 Riga On April 25th, 2008, several participants were arrested by the Riga, Latvia Police Department because of the event not being confirmed by the City Government and the participation of roller-skaters, which aren't allowed to ride on the road. [3] Text from Critical Mass (English Wikipedia article)#Riga, Latvia.
April 20, 2008 Budapest
Up to 80,000 participiants took part in the yearly Critical Mass ride on the Budapest Earth Day. This seems to be the biggest ride ever took place under the term Critical Mass. [4]
Bikeonhead March 28, 2008 Honolulu At dusk on Friday, March 28, 2008 Honolulu Police tackled a young woman on a bike during a peaceful ride with other cyclists apparently in an attempt to discourage the cyclists from assembling and riding. The police officer's tackle caused her to fall from her bike and hit her head on the ground. She was subsequently hospitalized. No arrests were made. The incident occurred in front of the Honolulu Police main station on Beritania Street. In addition, Police issued citations to other cyclists before the officer tackled the woman. Text from Critical Mass (English Wikipedia article)#Honolulu, Hawaii.


September 28, 2007 Critical Mass
San Francicso - 15th anniversary - 6.25 at the Plaza
Critical Mass turned 15 - San Francisco celbrated it's 15th anniversary of Critical Mass bicycle rides. Many 100 cyclists claimed the streets. See also [5].
September 22, 2007 Budapest Up to 30,000 cyclists attented the Critical Mass ride in Budapest on Car Free Day (September 22, 2007). See also [6].
September 2007 Chicago Chicago celebrates his 10th anniversary with four happy Fridays, including a "T-Shirt Printing Party !!!" and the "Chicago Critical Mass 10th Anniversary Ride". See [7]
Bikeonhead August 31, 2007 San Diego 2 CM bicyclists arrested at a ride with 100 to 400 people. See also [8].
August 31, 2007 New York "For the 3rd month in a row, NYC had a terrific hassle-free Critical Mass. [...]" See aloso [9].
Bikeonhead August 31, 2007 Chicago 7 riders arrested

During the ride police refused to allow the planned CM route. When some bicyclists didn´t leave the intersection fast enough, 7 were arrested. See also [10].

Bikeonhead August 31, 2007 Minneapolis, Minnesota 19 arrested in Minneapolis Critical Mass

Police wanted to arrest one bicyclist who should have driven to cars. Shortly after the conflict grew up also with other cyclists. The police should have sprayed pepper spray. See also [11] and [12].

Bikeonhead August 17, 2007 Vienna Police repressions against Critical Mass in Vienna / (de):Polizeirepression gegen Critical Mass in Wien

(de): "Nachdem die CriticalMass nunmehr seit 16 Monaten friedlich und lustvoll durch Wien radelt und ein gutes Einvernehmen mit der immer wieder begleitenden Polizei herrscht, kommt es bei der CM im August völlig unverständlich zu einer Zerstörung dieses Verhältnisses durch die Polizei durch eine “Aktion-Scharf” gemäss STVO. [...]" See also [13].

Bikeonhead July 27, 2007 Vilnius Police in Vilnius (Lithuania) stopped Critical Mass with 100-200 participiants. There should have been arrested 5-10 cyclists and reported an offence against them. See also [14].
Bikeonhead July 27, 2007 Berlin
CM Berlin - July 2007 - Confiscating Bicycle
Confiscating a bicycle

"Around 40 cyclists started at the Heinrichplatz, during the ride the count increased up to 60 participiants. There was an incident at the Heinrich-Heine-Street where the police confiscated a bicycle (later gave it back) and got personal data of at least on person." See also Berlin, July 07.

Bikeonhead July, 2007 Oakland, California Police Department officers grabbed and detained a peaceful Critical Mass rider on the Oakland, California ride, which stages at Frank Ogawa Plaza on the first Friday of each month. The rider was cited for violating a noise ordinance for having a bicycle sound system. Many Oakland riders were critical of the Oakland, California Police Department for exercising selective enforcement of the noise ordinance, in a city whose streets are frequently travelled by motorcyclists on Harley Davidson motorcycles with loud pipes and sound-systems of their own, and with numerous cars with loud sound-systems and exhaust whistles. In addition, Oakland Police Department motorcycles themselves were previously criticized by Oakland's District 3 City Councilmember Nancy Nadel for having loud, aftermarket "thunderpipes" installed on them. Text from Critical Mass (English Wikipedia article)#Oakland, California.
July 27, 2007 Malaysia First Critical Mass bike ride ever in Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur with 40 people. See also [15].
Bikeonhead July 27, 2007 Chicago While the Chicago ride was heading to the Spindle in Berwyn, IL, an allegedly drunk driver plowed into the mass while attempting to flee the scene of a previous accident. 10 year old Will Healy, who was riding with his mother and sister, was directly hit by the car. Healy flew up onto the hood of the car, but was not severely injured. Several other bicyclists were injured or had their bicycles damaged while attempting to move out of the way of the car. The driver, Robert Rogers, 34, of Maywood, IL was quickly apprehended by police who were riding with and monitoring the group. See also [16].
June 3, 2007 Berlin
Fahrradbahn IV
Not a Critical Mass but one of the biggest cycle events worldwide ever took place. The Great Star Ride takes place every year in June as an official organized event (introduced by the ADFC). In 2007 up to 250.000 cyclists took part in this ride. The photo shows a part of the mass on a motorway.
May 25-27, 2007 Rome
Critical Mass Rome - 26 May 2007
Interplanetary Critical Mass in Rome, a three-day bike event. See also [17] for nice posters.
Bikeonhead May 11, 2007 Berkeley, California According to a Bicycle Civil Liberties Union press release, a "motorist with his wife deliberately ran into the side of the monthly Berkeley Critical Mass bicycle demonstration" [18] and caused approximately $3,000 worth of damage to bicycles [19]. However, the driver and two third-party witnesses told police that the bikers threw their bicycles under the vehicle. Subsequently, Critical Mass participants pounded on the hood and windows of the car and the windshield of the vehicle was shattered. See also [20].
May 04 - 06, 2007 Frankfurt/Main Wheelzup Film Festival in Frankfurt presents Critical Mass and other cycling films. On the last day was also a Critical Mass ride with 200 cyclists. See also [21].
April 22, 2007 Budapest 50.000 participians at a Critical Mass in Budapest. See also [22].
Bikeonhead April, 2007 San Francisco San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, in April 2007, requested that Critical Mass riders "police themselves." "It does the bicycle-advocacy community no good to have people that are aggressive and dispirit the entire movement,” Newsom said. “I would encourage the bicycle coalition to say, ‘Look, we don’t put up with this, enough is enough.’” See also [23].
Bikeonhead April, 2007 Sacramento, California Since the resurrection of the ride in April 2007, Sacramento Critical Mass [24] has been the subject of police scrutiny.[25] The Sacramento Police Department dispatches several squad cars, motorcycles, and bicycle police to monitor the ride, despite the absence of any violent incident. The police follow the riders the whole time, and shout at them to stay all the way to the side of the road. Ironically, the police actually occupy a larger portion of on-street traffic than the riders and thus inhibit the flow of traffic far more than the riders do. In addition, the police use every justification to issue citations, which tends to keep the speed of the mass very slow. Citations in the past have included tickets for not having lights, for moving to far into the road way, failing to signal when turning left, etc. It is believed that the police's domineering presence and propensity for issuing as many tickets as possible, is an attempt to dissuade the riders from participating altogether.[26] Text from the English Wikipedia article under the GFDL, see Critical_Mass_(English_Wikipedia_article)#Sacramento.2C_California.

Bikeonhead March 30, 2007 San Francisco On the evening of March 30, 2007 in San Francisco, toward the end of Critical Mass, Susan Ferrando of Redwood City, California claimed to have found herself in the middle of a group of bicyclists and tried to drive through them resulting in hundreds of bicyclists surrounding her minivan while her 11 and 13 year old daughters watched from inside. Ferrando denies striking a cyclist but claims they banged on the sides of her car, "keyed" the paint, and threw a bicycle through the rear window of the vehicle, causing $5,300 in damage. See also [27].
2007 Film Some Assembly Required, a film about the Critical Mass in New York on March 30, 2007 and the police response was published.


Bikeonhead June, 2006 Seattle Two riders were arrested during the June, 2006 ride in Seattle, Washington after becoming involved in a fight with two undercover officers who the bikers confused for gang members [28] and who, according to witnesses, did not identify themselves as police. [29] Text from Critical Mass (English Wikipedia article)#Seattle, June, 2006.
April 22, 2006 Budapest
Mass below the Chain bridge - 2 - Critical Mass 2006 april
Around 32000 participians including László Sólyom, president of the Republic of Hungary, in Critical Mass bicycle ride in Budapest. See also [30].
2006 Film You Never Bike Alone, a film documentary about Critical Mass in Vancouver and Canada and their social aspects was published.


November 25, 2005 Melbourne
445px-Critical Mass Melbourne - Brunswick St

10 years Critical Mass in Melbourne, reported 1400 participians should have taken part in this ride. See also Wikipedia.

June 24, 2005 Pittsburgh
Critical Mass Pittburgh - June 2005
In 2005 Pittsburgh was the Bike Fest" a ten-day bike related event. Part of the fest was this big Critical Mass with around 200-300 cyclists. See

[31] for more photos and reports.

2005 Film Still We Ride, a film documentary about the mass arrests of Critical Mass biciclysts some days before the National Republican Convention in New York in 2004 was published.


Bikeonhead August 27, 2004 New York
RNC New York 2004
264 Critical Mass riders arrested at 2004 Republican National Convention protest activity

Between 5,000 and 6,000 participants took part in the Critical Mass bicycle ride. The monthly NYC Critical Mass ride promoted by the environmental group Time's Up! occurs on the last Friday of each month and prior to this ride had usually attracted about 1,500 riders. Police eventually blockaded roads and arrested 264 people in relation to that event. Most of them were charged with disorderly conduct and held in custody for 24 hours. This was the first time the NYPD had made any significant arrests of Critical Mass participants.

See also Still We Ride

Note: This text is taken from Wikipedia article 2004 Republican National Convention protestactivity. See also [32].


Bikeonhead May 30, 2003 Buffalo, NY An incident occurred at the intersection of Elmwood Avenue and Summer Street in Buffalo, NY. Buffalo police stopped two cyclists for "failure to yield to an emergency vehicle." This led to an incident in which several people were allegedly attacked by police, and resulted in nine arrests of cyclists, and three convictions, including a well-known local journalist. The event attracted significant local media attention. See also [33]. Text from: Critical_Mass (English Wikipedia article)#Buffalo, NY - "Critical Massacre".


August 29, 2002 Chris Carlsson Release of the book Critical Mass: Bicycling's Defiant Celebration from Chris Carlsson [34]


1999 Film We Are Traffic!, a film documentary of the Critical Mass movement in the Nineties by Ted White was published.


1998 Films July 25th, The Secret is Out! by the Bicycle Civil Liberties Union (BCLU) was awarded at the Fourth Annual BFBC Film and Video Festival. The film is a documentary of the San Francisco Critical Mass crackdown on July 25, 1997. See also [35].


September 27, 1997 Germany First Critical Mass bike ride ever in Germany in Berlin with around 20 people. See also Berlin history and history and current situation in Germany.
September 5, 1997 Chicago hold-up The term´s origins date back to Chicago´s fist Critical Mass ride on September 5, 1997.
Bikeonhead July 25, 1997 San Francisco Willie Brown, was asked by a journalist at a press conference how he planned to control Critical Mass. The Mayor was quoted in the press as threatening the riders with arrest, along with various belittling of bicyclists. The reaction and extensive press coverage grew into a confrontation at the July 25, 1997 ride. The local newspapers had published a route, although many riders were hesitant about—or flatly against—cooperation with it. On Friday the Mayor addressed the crowd at the Embarcadero (San Francisco) meeting place but was shouted down. The crowd of approximately 7,000 bicyclists quickly split into many parts, each being chased or monitored by police units, including helicopters. This resulted in extensive turmoil throughout the downtown area and many arrests and bicycle confiscations.

Taken from Critical Mass: Conflicts with authorities originally from the Wikipedia Critical Mass article.


September 25, 1992 San Francisco First Critical Mass bike ride ever in San Francisco. See also Critical Mass, Critical Mass History and the Linkpage.
1992 Film Return to the Scorcher, a film documentary by Ted White about cycling culture around the world was published. In the documentary George Bliss coined the name "critical mass" in his description of the traffic flow between bicycles and cars in China. The term "Critical Mass" was later adopted at the time of San Francisco's second ride (the first ride in SF was named "commute clot").

See also


Critical Mass Chronicle



This article or parts of this article are based on the Wikipedia article Critical_Mass licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, version 1.2 or later. A list of the authors can be found here: [36]. You can help to improve the article.