Critical Mass: It's Time for Miami Police and Motorists to Respect Bike Riders
Despite the setbacks, Deed insists Critical Mass is gaining momentum. Indeed, hundreds of cyclists endured last Friday's monsoon and joined him at Grand Central Park afterward. Music thumped from loudspeakers. Food trucks dished out much-needed carbs. Fire dancers spun flames around their hips. And bikers lined up to have the Critical Mass logo stamped on their T-shirts for free.
"We're not trying to piss people off," Deed says. "We don't do this during rush hour. We do it one hour a month. That's 12 hours a year. But people complain like it's the end of the world."
Contrary to news reports, Critical Mass isn't demanding the city spend millions on bike lanes, Deed says. But he admits that disrupting Miami's mindless everyday traffic is part of the process. "Countless people have told me that their first experience with Critical Mass was being stuck in a car," he says. "Then the next month they come out on their bike.
Michael E. Miller
"The city needs to learn to deal with it," Deed argues, pointing out he publishes the Critical Mass route ahead of time on his Miami Bike Scene blog. Police in Miami Beach and Coral Gables have taken to blocking -- or "corking" -- intersections for the riders, but MPD has received no such order. Police help block intersections in San Francisco, and cops even ride along with the group in Chicago.
Sgt. Freddie Cruz, an MPD spokesman, says he plans on meeting with organizers to discuss the idea of blocking streets. "There's no bad blood," Cruz says. "We want to come to a solution with them so everyone will be happy."
"These are growing pains," insists Deed, wearing an upturned biker hat over his close-cropped hair. "Sooner or later, the city is going to realize that this movement is bigger than some guy getting stuck inside his car in Brickell for 20 minutes once a month. This is about biking every day in Miami. Embrace it, bro."
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Michael E. Miller Critical Mass is here to stay, says the movement's founder, Rydel Deed