The Animal Critical Mass - Criminalz! This is great. I wouldn't be brave enough to do it myself but it's such a great thing to take an idea that everyone should know - that bikes are faster and better - and to apply it where we are not allowed.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In a city made for cars, why are bicycles getting places faster?
Los Angeles, CA (May 13, 2008) — Beginning in April, as commuters were mired in the typical Friday rush-hour traffic logjam, members of an organization calling itself CRIMANIMALZ, pronounced [krim-an-i-muhlz] have taken to two of Los Angeles’ busiest freeways on bicycles in a flash mob-type protest aimed at raising questions about transportation. Weaving in and out of choked traffic, cyclists surprised frustrated motorists with a spirited sprint on the region’s most clogged and polluted arteries. More rides are planned.
Friday, April 18th, 2008
The time (5:30 p.m.) and day (April 18) were carefully chosen after considerable research and scouting over a two-week planning stage. Based on unverified data and rider speculation, motor vehicles were moving at a speed between 5 and 10 mph. There was no strategy on what to do when actually on the freeway, as the group’s riders agreed to an “every rider for themselves” approach in regards to possible police retaliation.
Starting in Santa Monica, 15 bicyclists boarded the Cloverfield on-ramp (Santa Monica Fwy/I-10) and rode 0.87 miles to the Centinela off-ramp. They re-entered the I-10 Fwy at Bundy and rode 0.44 miles to the I-405 N on-ramp and rode another 1.56 miles to the Santa Monica Blvd. exit. The ramp to the I-405 N was a steep grade and 0.65 miles in length. Riders spanned a total of 2.87 freeway miles.
Friday, May 9th, 2008
At 5:30pm starting in Santa Monica, 28 bicyclists took surface streets to the I-10 Fwy at Bundy and rode 0.44 miles to the I-405 N on-ramp and rode another 1.56 miles to the Santa Monica Blvd. exit. The ramp to the I-405 N was a steep grade and 0.65 miles in length. Riders spanned a total of 2.0 freeway miles.
The group of riders also hung a 20’x6’ banner on the 17th street overpass overlooking the eastbound I-10 Freeway in Santa Monica that read RIDE A BIKE YOU’D BE HOME BY NOW. The sign remained in place for over 48 hours.
While the ride’s political stance and agenda was neutral, many participants invoked the group’s collective motto: “If you rode a bicycle, you’d be home by now!” – a statement against oil dependency, in support of sustainable living and a collective critique of the Los Angeles transportation infrastructure. The riders are pointing out that in a city like Los Angeles made for cars, bicycle riders are reaching their destinations faster.
Long Term Goals
Members of the CRIMANIMALZ are looking for city officials to make bicycle safety a priority, not only through the creation of safe and easy places to ride, but also as a means of transportation on the city’ increasingly busy thoroughfares. With rising gas prices and government bent on pushing sustainable practices, more people are expected to turn to bikes as an alternative means of transportation.
CRIMANIMALZ was created out of rider reaction to the Santa Monica Police Department’s crackdown of Santa Monica Critical Mass, a bicycle ride with as many as 300 participants that meet on the first Friday of the month. Ignored in large for over two years, Santa Monica Police officers issued 32 citations, many erroneously, at the Santa Monica Critical Mass ride on November 2nd of 2007. Critical Mass participants voiced their outrage at the City of Santa Monica Council Meeting a few weeks later. Some participants convened as Council of N, a secret group that privately discussed the police harassment. Council of N talked with city officials and Santa Monica Police Chief Timothy J. Jackman, but talks led nowhere.
Several of the Council of N members voted on creating a secondary ride in Santa Monica, this time calling it Criminal Mass, naming it so because they felt they were being criminalized for their legal behaviors. This name was changed to CRIMANIMALZ, a portmanteau of the words Critical, Criminal and Animals. The name CRIMANIMALZ invokes the animal spirit of the Westside bicycling community which is host to large group rides with names like Los Angelopes, a large antelope with ape hanger handles for antlers for a mascot and Pier Pressure, in which a giraffe and pigeon with a handlebar moustache wearing a cycling cap is a recurring theme.
Critical Mass rides are a monthly bicycle ride that typically occurs on the last Friday of the month to celebrate the joy and virtues of bicycling. The Critical Mass concept started in San Francisco in September 1992 and has spread to cities all over the world.
“The freeways are surprisingly safe bicyclists. Freeways eliminate the danger of car doors flying open, substandard bike lanes, pedestrians, traffic lights, potholes and erratic lane changes. Even if cars weren’t gridlocked, I feel safer riding on the freeway with vehicles doing 75mph 15 feet away from me, than on the streets with cars traveling 10mph, one or two feet away from me.” Alex Cantarero (Triumvirate)
“I just wanted to raise questions about the city’s transportation infrastructure.” Morgan Strauss (Triumvirate)
“In a city made for cars, why are bicycles getting places faster?” Richtotheie (Triumvirate)
- FLICKR Pool (Photographs)
- IBIKEU Wiki (History)
- CRIMANIMALZ - The Freeway Ride I
- CRIMANIMALZ - The Freeway Ride II
- Vimeo Channel (Videos)