Vancouver Critical Mass

Mostly event announcements, news, and bicycle related activist opinions...
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Yes, we ride the last Friday of every month!


Critical Mass This Friday!

5:30pm at the VAG.

Check velolove list for theme ideas.

And remember to respect and encourage pedestrians who are very much our allies and why we need to have car-free environments.

PS: word of the day - ROAD OPEN! The typical description of a street reclaimation, Road Closed, is excessively car-centric and highly inaccurate in describing the multifarious ways in which stopping road use that can't share--- allows diverse and expanded public road use and safety. Besides, to say a road is closed to cars is to ignore the basic fact that there are at least 50 alternate routes that a driver could take a car to get to the same place --- we do live in a city where every single building usually has two roads for cars built right to the front and back doors.



  • At 3:44 pm, September 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yah, you guys are total fucking assholes.

    Unlike other activists, who actually dedicate sufficient time to their cause to make a real difference, most critical mass cyclists are occasional protesters without a firm committment to the cause. They simply show up once a month to ride around in a big group and annoy people with jobs.

    It's probably quite rewarding to stop traffic and falsely believe you're making a difference, but more than anything, you're angering drivers and negatively portraying all cyclists as a bunch of shitheads.

    The political process requires time and real dedication to amount change. This pathetic display is simply selfish and ineffective.

    Have the balls to block all traffic into city hall, or surround the mayors car daily for a month. Don't just piss off inncoent people to further your own retarded agenda.

    We live in a democratic society. Get donations and lobby, or spend the time you spend annoying people by pressuring MPs. Or better yet, get a bus pass and fuck off.

  • At 7:27 pm, September 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As far as I'm concerned when you bicyclists start having to register and insure your bicycles like the people you inconvenience do, then you will have some semblance of a right to say anything.

    Until then you are simply pedestrians in my mind, so stay out of the street and leave it for the people who pay for it.

  • At 11:33 pm, September 28, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    Wow, get out of the car and breath. Oxygen does your brain good.

    I think your words discredit you better than I could.

    How exactly are you the victim? Cyclists hate having to subsidise the cars-only-safe road network. We ride in a mass so as not to get pushed around so often.

    You drive in a mass but you don't even talk to those beside you.

  • At 1:22 am, September 29, 2008, Blogger Jason said…

    Or Critical Mass!


    What should Insurance for my cycle cost?

    $10000 cost of car
    $100 cost of insurance per month
    100 x 100 = $10000
    (low estimate -probably much higher in most cases)

    $200 cost of bike
    $200 / 100 = $2

    $2 per month?

    Or should it factor into the cost of fixing your metal-cannon when you run into me?

    Check statscan:
    # of cycle vs cycle deaths in 2004 = 0
    # of cycle vs pedestrian deaths in 2004 = 0
    Pedestrians killed in transport accidents in 2004 = 407
    Pedal cyclists killed in transportation accidents in 2004 = 68

    How about a little more inconvenience "Dave"? -I got home from work faster than you yesterday and now you're upset. Give me my space "Dave" or I'm taking it back. Huzzah!

  • At 9:07 am, September 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    what's with your calculation, it doesn't even make sense.

    Yes, driving cost so much more than cycling, but it is a choice the drivers make themselves, and the money they paid helps pay for the majority of the road infrastructure.

    Furthermore, most people live 30km+ away from work, they have to wear a suit and tie or dress to work; cycling is just not a practical choice for many.

    You guys are not only blocking and holding up car drivers, but screwing up all the public transit schdules as well with your "demonstration".

    And stop saying you guys promote road safety and sharing of the road when half of you people didn't even wear a helmet, disobey all traffic law, and purposefully block all the traffic and even pedestrian from crossing the road.

    I take bus to work, and I strongly support environmentally friendly mode of transport like public transit, car pool, and cycling. But I seriously can't see what you guys are doing can help promote or encourage people to use more eco-friendly mode of transport.

    You are only delaying and enraging people who has work to do or place to go to, and that include many public transit users and pedestrian.

    I bet most of the people who attend these events didn't even do it for the cause. They probably just want to get together and ride in a big group for fun (at the expense of other users on the road)

    If you really want to promote the use of eco-friendly transportation, go lobby for higher gas tax or vehicle registration fee.

  • At 2:43 pm, September 29, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    I like Cannonmore's calculation, never thought of that. I'd like to get insurance actually - ICBC is known for being a lot more favourable to their paying customers.

    If $100/month is 100th the price of a car then 100th the price of a bike is a good (if highly vague) comparison.

    And no, anonymous, most people aren't driving those distances "most people live 30km+" from their work/destination. Check the numbers! The overwhelming majority of car trips in the city are the equivalent of walking or quick cycling distance!

    Certainly there are lots of suburban commuters (who you are probably right should be more targeted than city dwellers but how are you going to get out to Surrey to Mass there, it has been done but it ain't easy) But they are choosing that... Well, I do think we need to publically address that issue and not leave it to individuals but CM in the city isn't really related to that.

    And if people do it for fun - good for them. I hear people drive bigger cars than they need because they think it looks fun rather than is fun. At least cycling really is fun. (when you can tune out the autos)

    Again, come on a Mass before slagging it. You are more likely to do all those good things by meeting people on a Mass than buy talking BS about cyclists' imperfect tactics being the problem.

    And once again, the particular stuff about minor laws (helmets etc) is really really irrellevent. Cyclists aren't hurting other by endangering themselves (helmets). It's like saying that your car is even more in the way because you aren't wearing a seatbelt... two facts that may or may not be true but putting them together doesn't change either.

    Running stop signs and the like is another issue... But CM isn't all lawlessness for its own sake. If you were serious about this issue you would well know that. The Police who come on CM to "watch over" it pretty regularly now know pretty well the obvious logic of such strategies as corking. Only a real blind individualist mindset cannot see that a large group acting like a parade would be less disruptive to normal road users by running red lights when they are in the middle of the mass.

    Stories about individuals who are not on the mass running stop signs are also not the issue here.

  • At 11:10 pm, September 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "It's probably quite rewarding to stop traffic and falsely believe you're making a difference, but more than anything, you're angering drivers and negatively portraying all cyclists as a bunch of shitheads."

    While waiting in line at the filmfest, the people behind me were talking about CM. One of them was in it on Friday. She said it was fun to be able to be in the middle of Granville Bridge on her bike, but had nothing to say about "we helped things, and hopefully changed people's minds about using cars, and biking more".
    Yet again, it was just about how much fun she had.
    No one can explain why I or any other pedestrians (or drivers) should put up with people (CM) interrupting our day to have fun. What did we do to them? We stay off their bike lanes, let them stay off our walking lanes or driving lanes. Those bike lanes werent there say 5 years ago. The roads *do* have enough room for bikes and cars, so that reason can't be it. So we're back to the "it was fun" excuse. Good work guys.

    Her friend said that he was on Granville Bridge once and saw them (CM) on Burrard Bridge, and that they scared them. Then they had a good laugh about "it's no longer them, it's you", ie: the girl was now part of the "them".
    Anyway, when he asked if it was sanctioned by the city, there was a pause and she said, "well, police ride along with us".
    Apparently she was unaware that they are there to stop altercations that CM will cause, and that CM is illegal.
    She also said she only rode until she didn't feel safe anymore (less people riding with her). It's too bad that the "cause" is a fairweather cause.

    It's a pack mentality. They'll always have the numbers because they're cowards.
    Hey wait, that sounds familiar lately? Hmm..

  • At 1:18 pm, September 30, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…

    Well, what's wrong with fun and what did you do today to improve things?

    Why do you keep insisting that CM is illegal? What does that even mean? We don't belong on the road but cars do? Obviously you are anti-bike no matter what you claim otherwise.

    "Putting up with" the CM. Oh, that's a hard one. Having to wait 5 minutes. Once a month. Most pedestrians don't have to wait because we try to be extra courteous to them. Maybe you have to wait 20 minutes in the summer. Gee, the suffering I can't imagine it. All for the good cause of business as usual war for oil economy keep on greenhousing the planet kill more animals ond children.

    And howcome you say there is enough space? The #1 reason people give for not cycling when they could is being scared of cars. Do you even know the purpose of bike lanes? They are good PR but they don't make you safer.

    Having fun in the streets is something everyone should be able to do. I would wish that on all my enemies. How come you can't? Sharing is too hard I guess, because we aren't all paying our ICBC to keep up the illusions of "Safety"


  • At 12:16 pm, October 01, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Vancm: all I can say is...WOW

    I really "thought" the organizer or key supporter of CM is doing all this because they believe in their cause, and that they believe what they do will make a positive difference for the World.

    What you said so far, however, clearly indicates you careless about the cause. You just enjoy riding in a big group for FUN.

    No, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having fun, but only if you are not doing it at the expense of other people.

    You are causing havoc for everyone else when you decide to get together and disobey all traffic rules for FUN.
    How do you like it if a group of people go over to your house and start breaking everything in your house for FUN? Do you think there is anything wrong with that?

    If you want more right for cyclist, go lobby the city and add for more bike lane.

    And stop saying taking back the street. It is NEVER the cyclist street to start with. The construction and maintenance cost of the road are entirely paid for by the drivers or public transit users who paid thousands of dollars each in fuel and other vehicle tax every year.
    Cyclists don't even pay a penny toward the infrastructure they are using everyday for free.

    And Helmet is irrelevant? Like you said, helmet on bicycle is a lot like seatbelt on cars; they both save lives. Why do you think there are LAWS regarding to seatbelt and helmets on public road? Yes, you don't endanger others by not wearing a helmet or seatbelt, but guess who paid for your medical bill when you get your head smashed?
    I just couldn't believe how ignorant you are.

  • At 12:41 am, October 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 12:47 am, October 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Huzzah!" - Most homo thing I have ever heard... That's all what you are.. atention seeking homos. Gay parade is once year, so save it for then.

  • At 6:10 pm, October 03, 2008, Blogger Jason said…

    The Motor Vehicle Act - Part 3
    Definition 183
    Rights and Duties of an Operator of Cycle

    If you'd like to read the whole bit go here:

    Here is what I want to address:
    In addition to the duties imposed by this section, a person operating a cycle on a highway has the same rights and duties as a driver of a vehicle.

    This section addresses what is being discussed currently. IE If bikes should be allowed on the roads or not; which as I see it is an entirely different issue from critical mass, which in many ways addresses the root problems with this kind of thinking and our (North American) kind of transportation infrastructure.

    Cyclists are allowed on the road and have all the rights and responsibilities that a driver of a motor vehicle has in addition to having to follow some additional requirements/restrictions (some of which make sense and some of which don't -especially given the vulnerability of cyclists).

    The most classic examples of contradictory or unsafe thinking are the two abreast rule and the farthest to the right rule.

    These rules act on each other leading one to believe they are mutually drawn from each other.

    The act states that cyclists cannot ride two-abreast presumably because they are also riding the farthest to the right. In such a case, if two cyclists were riding next to each other a car could not pass in the same lane. This rule exists to still maintain the pace of the vehicle traffic while amongst non-motorized users.

    But there are many problems with such thinking as will be characterized now.

    The mixing of vehicle and cycle traffic is dangerous in times when tired, stressed, late and irritated drivers are going home from work and going from work to home. In these times motorists have the ability to drive their vehicles at unsafe speeds when they feel as if their pace has been negatively affected -though they seldom shave off anytime at all because of the demands of the road system: lights, signage, traffic flow, etc.

    In these times people act as machines that have been programmed to regard cyclists as a nuisance instead of part of the traffic on the road. Motorists should be aware and used to changing conditions on roads. Speed limits are guidelines and maximums not minimum speeds.

    As cyclists are afforded the use of the road by our government it is the responsibility of motorists to not threaten our lives with unsafe actions as we are using the road even in situations where cyclists are not adhering to the guidelines laid out in the motor vehicle act.

    Many farthest-to-the-right bike lanes are notoriously dangerous (see Hornby bike lane outside the law courts building) existing in such close proximity to parked cars that exiting occupants are likely to open their door into the bike lane and hit the cyclist -in most cases into traffic.

    There are a few cyclist lanes now that are full lanes for alternative traffic: buses and cyclists. These lanes while delightful in the evening hours can be a little stressful during rush hour when some people in a hurry aggressively turn right in front or behind them or when bus traffic drives very fast.

    Many routes such as 10th can be very cramped not even allowing for two vehicles to drive in the standard one oncoming and one going lane. In these cases "dooring" becomes a big issue from either side (for both cyclists and motorists) and the most careful drivers will take their time in passing because it can get awkward.

    Additionally, riding all the way to the right in situations where vehicles do not have enough room to pass you on a two-lanes-each-way road is to encourage them to try and pass in the rightmost lane -which is bad. In these cases the most experienced cyclists will tell you to take the whole right lane and ride somewhere in the middle or the left encouraging vehicles to pass you as they would pass a car that was occupying the right lane.

    In these cases riding abreast certainly helps as you can effectively occupy the same space as a car -hell, the cops even do it.

    I could go on. But my point is that some of the law is contradictory and some of the infrastructure is contradictory. It takes us (society) a long time to realize how things are changing and come up with a great plan to help laws and infrastructure change to accommodate, in this case, a more green, more active, healthier citizenry.

    You won't see every cyclist with lights and you won't see every cyclist with a helmet and you won't always see properly trained, full-headlights-working, insurance purchased, speed-limit following automobile drivers. And in these cases you are running up against the fact that our world does not operate very well or very coherently. The processes that exist in our world are held together with stubborn-will and chewing gum. Some people don't know, some people don't care, and some people are going through some very tough times. They don't always do what is required of them -there are other pressures. Did you know that a 25 year old Canadian male is most likely to die from a suicide or automobile incident?

    When a cyclist fails to meet their responsibility while cycling the repercussions are as follows:
    (15) If a person is convicted of an offence under this Act in respect of his or her riding or operating a cycle, the court may, in addition to or in place of any penalty otherwise prescribed, order the cycle seized, and on the expiry of that period the person entitled to it may again have possession of the cycle.
    In the case of helmet it is clear: $100.
    (1) A person commits an offence if that person operates or rides as a passenger on a cycle on a highway and is not properly wearing a bicycle safety helmet that

    (a) is designated as an approved bicycle safety helmet under subsection (4) (a), or

    (b) meets the standards and specifications prescribed under subsection (4) (b).

    (3) A person who is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is liable to a fine of not more than $100.

    Other Responses:

    Operators of motor vehicles pay for the costs associated with their use of the road. The impact to both the road and the environment are almost nill in a cycle-car comparison. The government certainly has an interest in citizens moving away from motorized car trips (environmental targets, less congestion, etc) -think of it as a subsidy. In a way we all pay for the construction of roads because more than anything else our road systems are constructed for the distribution of goods -and almost everything is delivered in a truck.

    When we pay for the goods we are paying for the infrastructure to have the goods delivered.

    And Ben. I'd think you'd agree that there are many more automobile-related deaths and injuries then for cyclists. I won't complain when I have to help pay for your health care and I wouldn't take it away from you if I could. We have a responsibility to help and care about each other and I won't back out of it when you are hurt because you were doing something I don't agree with. When people are hurt they should be helped. If I truly want to help and care about the people in my community I will do what I can to help them out of their cars and onto a bike.

    Attention-seeking homo? Got yours did I? I thought I saw a little twinkle in your eye. See you at the parade next year -I'll be the boy in the sexy shorts. Huzzah!

    You really do keep bad company.
    I've said it and I'll say it again. You don't get the kind of numbers you get at mass without a myriad of causes. Perhaps the reason fun comes up so consistently is it is something that everyone is having.

    Thanks Vancm! I always appreciate reading your comments.

  • At 1:18 pm, October 05, 2008, Blogger wakeful said…

    Responding to Anonymous #3, who called us shitheads. Once upon a time that word was an insult, but today, aimed at me by a cannon-head, it feels like a compliment. It's organic. I am a shithead and proud of it. I am alive.

    Now let's change gears... because I actually think Anonymous #3 might have half a brain. It's just that you Sir or Madam are badly misinformed. PLEASE educate yourself about the realities of riding a bicycle on city streets in BC. TRY IT. TRY IT. TRY IT. And after you've tried it. Let's talk again.

    (And while you are trying it. Good Luck finding those bike lanes you imagine are everywhere.)

  • At 12:27 am, October 07, 2008, Blogger VanCM Blogger said…


    Fun and responsible are not mutually exclusive. In fact, often a good indicator of something being amiss and the responsibility not being right is when things aren't fun.

    You repeat a lot of the same points that I and others have already answered here and elsewhere. C'mon, I better things to do than teaching drivers to take baby steps in their thinking. Get out and stand on your own two feet!

    Helmet laws and Seatbelt Laws are very unalike in the social consequences: Helmet laws are imposed on a minority in order to make a large group of drivers feel they are not being as reckless as they are. Helmet laws do not have the statistical backup that seatbelt laws do have. Some studies indicate increases in helmet requirements decrease cycling and cause less of it - therefore making roads faster and less safe. Also studies indicate that drivers are more reckless when they see someone wearing a helmet because they falsely think that they don't need to be as careful (helmets protect best from falls, collisions with autos helmets aren't so helpful with) There are also studies that show the human brain survives a concentrated impact shock better than a generalised impact shock - ie helments might make it worse sometimes... None of these are conclusive, but the point is that helmet laws are based on half baked numbers and are not the cure-all they are claimed to be. Often they are part of the infantilisation of cycling using spurious "Safety" jargon.

    In any case, I wear a helmet and so should you - so should CM participants. That said, what is your point? CM isn't about helmets and shouldn't be because the dilemna is that the laws about helmets are bad but discouraging helmets is also bad so the best bet is to leave well enough alone. Or, some people who want to make helmets their cause should thoughtfully take that cause up - not a half assed add it onto the list of things CM is about.

    CM is primarily about public space. If you don't understand that then you are talking about your ass. Please do a little basic research before shooting your mouth off - and no, getting on a bike once in a while or seeing bikes from your car doesn't count for much.

    Take care and take the lane,

    Pray that there will be more CM around the world so that more cars will be stopped.

  • At 4:15 am, October 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Why do you keep insisting that CM is illegal? What does that even mean? We don't belong on the road but cars do?"

    Because it *is* illegal. Blocking traffic on purpose is illegal, running red lights is illegal, riding a bike in a car lane is illegal. Just as if a car driving in a bike lane would be illegal.
    On top of that I asked one of the policemen that ride along with you, and he said it was "totally illegal". This is coming from a traffic official who knows of such things.
    It just plain *is* illegal, and you know it.

    "Having fun in the streets is something everyone should be able to do."
    Streets are for transportation. Not to have fun on. You're being ridiculous.

    "Do you even know the purpose of bike lanes? They are good PR but they don't make you safer."

    Yep, pretty sure I know what bike lanes are for, let me think...
    Bike lanes are for bikes. Sidewalks are for pedestrians. Car lanes are for cars.
    When I walk, I don't walk in a bike lane, when I bike, I don't bike in a car lane or sidewalk.
    I mean, are you 4 years old, this is pretty basic stuff.

  • At 6:02 pm, October 23, 2008, Blogger Jason said…


    Read the god damn fucking posts.
    I hope your penis falls off.



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