Hysteria reaches Critical Mass in Vancouver ahead of 2010 Olympics

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      Critical Mass has been going on in Vancouver for a long time. As a political tool promoting the agenda of cyclists, there's debate about whether it's effective. But over the years the event has remained the same: cyclists meet each month at a certain date and time, then go on ride without a predetermined route.

      Things haven't changed, yet this week the establishment began demanding that Critical Mass follow a predetermined route and, because their demands haven't been met, this month's Critical Mass is being treated in both of Vancouver's daily papers as a crisis that must be dealt with—a "critical mass of civil disobedience" in the words of the Vancouver Police Department's Rick McKenna.

      There are many large events in Vancouver that disrupt traffic: the Celebration of Lights, sporting events, etc. So why is an event that has happened every month for more than a decade now being portrayed as an impending crisis? Why is Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson suddenly "pissed off" that Critical Mass won't deviate from the model used by hundreds of other similar rides in the world?

      The answer is fairly obvious. Critical Mass occurs on the last Friday of every month. In February 2010 it will occur on the 26th, two days before the closing date of the Olympics on February 28. This is likely why there's a sudden change of attitude on the part of local powers-that-be.

      If the concern about Critical Mass is related to the 2010 Olympics, then why aren't the media and Robertson being up front about it? Why isn't this part of their argument?

      Those arguing against Critical Mass are trying to push the notion that the event disrupts others and deprives them of their rights. If they admitted that their true concern with Critical Mass is related to the 2010 Olympics, they'd have to give up this argument because the disruption created by the 2010 Olympics will, in comparison, dwarf disruption related to Critical Mass.




      Jul 31, 2009 at 2:38pm

      if this is olympics related, you are right, they have way bigger traffic issues to worry about. Anytime a car breaks down on the lions gate bridge traffic grinds to a halt in North Vancouver. Might wanna think of a back up plan for that one guys.

      This also strikes me as an another effort by the powers that be to continue Vancouver's reputation as a no-fun-city. Mike makes another good point that the critical mass ride goes on all over the world, in this format, with no problems. Why does Vancouver suck so hard when it comes to trying to have a little fun?

      Chris Slater

      Jul 31, 2009 at 2:42pm

      I think everyone in their cars needs to chill. You know it's going to happen the same time each month. Plan for it. Don't drive downtown that day.

      "Well... *sputter* *outrage* why should I?!?" The same reason that you have to when you know there's going to be a parade or some other event that's going to mess up your driving route.

      As for during the Olympics. I say bring on the Critical Mass. It's going to be a big party anyways, a couple of hours with wacky bikers biking by will be even more fun!

      Not everything needs to be controlled and planned to the finest detail, Mayor Robertson. Let us show the world that we're a city that can roll with it.


      Jul 31, 2009 at 2:52pm

      Does anyone participate in this event in the winter? I've only noticed the disruption in the summer, when more participants take part.

      This event is just a nasty way for nasty people to be nasty to innocent hard-working Vancouverites who just want to get home to their families after a hard week of work. I can't imagine acting so selfishly towards others. Saddens me to think that these bitter, angry individuals would want to organize a group together for the sole purpose of making other people's day worse. It's just too bad. They should be ticketed.

      first time caller

      Jul 31, 2009 at 2:56pm

      This is one of the busiest weekends of the year and all day long media has been telling us all to avoid Downtown because of CM. We were going to attend the Pride block party tonight, but I guess we'll just keep our money and stay home to avoid getting stuck on a bridge.

      Chris Slater

      Jul 31, 2009 at 3:03pm

      Hey First Time Caller,

      Why don't you park your car at a Skytrain station and take that downtown?

      You probably would have missed the party anyways trying to find parking on a Friday night on one of the busiest weekends of the year.


      Jul 31, 2009 at 3:08pm

      It's not so much you guys disrupt the drivers, you guys also disrupt the pedstrians and transit riders.

      Chris Slater

      Jul 31, 2009 at 3:19pm


      So do big construction projects that take out a section of the road and the sidewalk.

      Mike a driver

      Jul 31, 2009 at 3:32pm

      I agree with the police. They cause nothing but problems. The only thing they are doing is making people mad at cyclists. How is that going to further their cause? Who cares if it is about the Olympics or not. The police should get involved and start handing out tickets to these inconsiderate cyclists.


      Jul 31, 2009 at 3:34pm

      not sure if it was a 2010 Games thing, or rather a heat wave has motorists hot and fuming and impatient & critical mass won't help out by using a route that would be publicised to ensure drivers are not trapped in sweltering temperatures waiting as they pass. Police & Mayor/council were probably and I'll add justifyable worried that under these circumstances with motorists already so stressed and over heated Critical mass may have insighted violence and possibly a riot! Not everything is about 2010!

      Have some common sense people!

      Paul D

      Jul 31, 2009 at 3:41pm

      Critical Mass has next to nothing to do the sometimes messy, sometimes mundane business of promoting cycling as a means of transportation, recreation or sport. It has everything to do with a bunch of urban hipsters looking for a way to cock a snoot at authority and the middle-class while whipping through the city acting like morons.
      One day, most of these temporary cyclists will move to Point Grey or buy their condos in Port Moody and will buy their Hybrids leaving cycling poorer and worse-off for having negatively impressed many thousands of basically cycling-sympathetic residents, bystanders and drivers.
      I am going to ride my bike today, as far as possible away from the self-centred Critical Massholes who are out to do little more than party and make a nuisance of themselves.