It’s time to drop some control rods into Critical Mass
Boy with bicycle watching toy sailboat races, 1924, dropped in the Seattle Metblogs Flickr pool by frequent contributors Seattle Municipal Archives
Yesterday’s road-rage-turned-vigilante-violence incident involving Seattle Critical Mass riders and a hotheaded driver is a black eye to all bicyclists in this city.
Yeah, sure, some media accounts were incredibly biased and were heavily contracted by eyewitness accounts. But the fact remains that despite the violent nature of the driver’s action, the violent reaction by bikers should not have happened. Now Critical Mass has moved from a protest movement into a vigilante movement.
And yet, what are the gains that Critical Mass has won bikers, exactly? Have they really made the streets safer for bikes? Have they effectively educated drivers on etiquette? Did they bring us dedicated bike lanes? Are we more or less likely to see these sorts of road rage incidents in the future?
Can anyone point me to anything of substance they’ve been able to accomplish that’s made this bike-car mess we’re in any better?
I can’t think of any. But I’m sure I’ll have to come up with one, else they’ll start flashing their knives. Or maybe they’ll slash DL Byron’s tires for suggesting they’re counter-productive.
Despite foolish lionization by partisans in some quarters, I don’t see how Critical Mass can continue. Their awareness campaign has now turned into a childish, passive-aggressive gang that, like some overwrought quasi-Marxist insurgency, ultimately hurts the ones they originally said they were helping.
This is a bad time for biker-driver relations. We desperately need common sense and education on the roads. We need some sense in City Hall to figure out how we can share the road. We need to name and shame bad drivers and bad bikers.
Most of all, though, we need mutual respect between drivers, bikers, and pedestrians.
And Critical Mass has damaged our hopes of fostering that mutual respect. They’ve become the monsters they claim to fight on the roads.
It’s time to drop some control rods into Critical Mass, before we see more meltdowns.