Bangalore Critical MasS

BCM  Bangalore Critical Mass

Bangalore Critical Massit subtitle


1. Understand the structure of Critical Mass.

CM has no leaders. It's an event, not an organization. There is no national group that licenses local rides. In every city that has a CM, one or more cyclists just picked a day and time and started handing out fliers. If your city doesn't have a CM, that's what you'll do. You don't need anyone to authorize your ride. You just do it.

2. Put it into perspective.

Critical Mass can be fun, but in and of itself, Critical Mass doesn't change anything. CM is effective only when combined with real advocacy -- such as lobbying local and state governments for bike lanes and progressive legislation. If all you and your cohorts do is ride your bikes around once a month, don't be surprised when nothing changes.

3. What route to take.

Most CM rides don't have a set route -- they go through the central city randomly, with whoever happens to be in front leading the way. Of course, you can set a route if you want to, but don't think that you have to.

4. Learn the traffic laws.

If your ride draws any appreciable number of riders, you can expect attention from the police. Riders may or may not choose to follow the law, but you still need to know what the law is so you know whether or not you're breaking it. Some riders ignore laws that have no safety consequences (e.g., riding 3-abreast instead of 2-abreast).

7. Will you block traffic?

The most controversial aspect of CM is the extent to which it blocks traffic. CM'ers are fond of saying "We're not blocking traffic, we ARE traffic!"  While that's a cute phrase, it's obviously pretty silly. It's like a murderer saying, "I didn't kill that human, I *am* a human!" Just because bikes are legitimate road users doesn't mean they don't slow down other road users -- especially when they go out of their way to do so by taking up multiple lanes.

Remember that CM is supposed to be a celebration of cycling, not your opportunity to see how much inconvenience you can cause to others. It's about asserting our right to the road, not denying others their right to the road.

8. Make fliers and promote the ride.

The best advertising is fliers placed directly on bicycles -- you know a cyclist is going to see it. Make several strips per page to save paper.

9. Be prepared for police intervention.

The police may or may not show up at your ride. (But if you consistently take every single traffic lane or harass motorists, then they almost certainly will.). Be kind to them, smile and cycle forward

10. Get creative.

CM can be festive. Many riders wear costumes or decorate their bikes extravagantly. Use your imagination. It make the rides more fun.