Call Me A Critical Masshole

(warning: echo-chamber post forthcoming)

Erica Barnett nailed it: “Cyclists are angry for a reason.” As I wrote back when hugeasscity was still an innocent babe, I appreciate the frustration that feeds the Critical Mass gestalt. And this is an appreciation that you cannot gain until you’ve spent a lot of time biking around the city. I’ve been bike commuting downtown every day for many years, and rare is the day that I don’t see at least one car do something careless. Too many drivers are not taking responsibility for the deadly machines they are controlling, and my risk goes up because of it. Any normal person faced with this situation day after day would become angry.

Cycling advocates worry too much about Critical Mass straining the relationship between cars and cyclists. Does anyone actually believe that a backlash against Critical Mass could cause the City of Seattle’s leadership to reverse position on the need for policy changes that promote cycling? No, of course not, because the City’s leaders understand the importance of planning to create a more sustainable city, and from that perspective, Critical Mass is an insignificant blip.

But what Critical Mass does do that matters is build solidarity in the cycling community and empower people to demand better conditions for cycling. And I’m down with that. Maybe I’ll even go on a Critical Mass ride one of these years…