Miami Police Chief: Critical Mass Organizers Could Be Held "Liable" if Ride Continues
Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa believes Critical Mass has become a "critical mess," warning reporters this morning that "anarchists" had ruined the popular monthly ride and that kids without helmets, beer vendors on bikes, and widespread civil disobedience were creating dangerous situations downtown. Orosa wants cyclists to plan with cops in advance and warned that anyone linked to organizing it could be held "liable."
Photo by Michael E. Miller Critical Mass cyclists wait for a drawbridge at a ride last summer.
"We want Critical Mass to come to the table so we can have some organized events," Orosa said, "not a surprise 'let's go party and ride together.'"
It's not clear yet whether this month's ride will go forward as usual on Friday or whether Orosa's officers will begin ticketing and fining riders if it does.
"It's a surprise. Maybe, maybe not," Orosa said when asked whether police would try to crack down this week.
Critical Mass began in the early '90s in San Francisco as a way to draw attention to making streets more bike-friendly. The rides have since spread across the nation and began in Miami in 2007. In the past four years, they've exploded in popularity, with celebs such as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade joining in and crowds of 4,000 riders regularly pedaling through the streets.
But the rides are technically "spontaneous" and by their nature don't obtain permits or permission from the city. Streams of cyclists block traffic and roll through red lights. That has angered cops like Orosa.