Critical Mass - type ride

Rob Archer
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Location: King's Lynn, Norfolk

Critical Mass - type ride

Postby Rob Archer » 15 Jun 2012, 8:09pm

I've been asked to organise a 'critical mass' type ride in Kings Lynn on Friday 29th June. It's not a lot of notice, but from my (limited) experience it doesn't take a lot. The impetus has come from the local paper, the Lynn News. I write a weekly cycling-related colums and the ed seems to think it would push cycling up the local agenda (it doesn't feature at all at the moment, except for people to rant about red-light-jumpers and pavement riders!) My questions:

1) is it worth the agro?

2) My gut feeling is to involve the police from the start, and invite the bike squad to join us. OTOH I don't want them then to say where we can and can't ride. How should I approach this?

3) I want to make it clear that participants are expected to obey the law - i.e. no red-jumping or riding on the footway. How does one enforce it?

4) what happens if hardly anyone turns up?

Rob

thirdcrank
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Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby thirdcrank » 15 Jun 2012, 8:37pm

I suspect you are on a hiding to nothing with the newspaper. If nothing controversial happens, there's little in it for them. Any misbehaviour will be all over the front page, especially if nothing else has happened in North Norfolk.

If you notify the police, they can only respond on their own terms. Bear in mind that the expression "critical mass" has certain connotations, especially if somebody who doesn't really know what might be happening does a google.

You can only ask / beg / implore people to behave. Bear in mind that different riders have different interpretations of what that means. You look like being easily identifiable as the organiser; I thought one of the features of these rides was that they were more or less spontaneous.

(I've never been on one of these rides so I'm only going on reports, but I have been involved with policing all manner of events, but never a CM. Thank goodness.)

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Claireysmurf
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Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby Claireysmurf » 15 Jun 2012, 9:38pm

Maybe you can contact other critical mass groups - have a look on Facebook for them and ask what their experience has been.

The Cardiff naked bike ride was last weekend and the organiser put a lot of work into it from his Facebook posts https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/194410707262234/

Is there something else you can do? Longer deadline? Something which celebrates cycling rather than the struggles we face?

tomb353
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Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby tomb353 » 22 Jun 2012, 11:13am

the difficulty you have is that by setting yourself up as organiser you take legal responsibility for the ride, be it as a demonstration (which might neeed police consent) or as an organised event (PL). When my local group did critical mass, now defunct, it was done by one of the members setting up a cartoon character facebook persona and having them as the "organiser". This way there was no come back on any real life individual.

A very effective bit of cycle campaigning, with the role of cycling as transport getting a big boost, was to organise a ride around town with the leader of the local council and senior council officers. This ended up with 20 odd people so had an element of critical mass about it. Worth a thought depending on what you are trying to do, and if you can guarantee media involvement then the local politicians will turn up.

byegad
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Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby byegad » 22 Jun 2012, 5:31pm

thirdcrank wrote:I suspect you are on a hiding to nothing with the newspaper. If nothing controversial happens, there's little in it for them. Any misbehaviour will be all over the front page, especially as nothing else has ever happened in North Norfolk.

If you notify the police, they can only respond on their own terms. Bear in mind that the expression "critical mass" has certain connotations, especially if somebody who doesn't really know what might be happening does a google.

You can only ask / beg / implore people to behave. Bear in mind that different riders have different interpretations of what that means. You look like being easily identifiable as the organiser; I thought one of the features of these rides was that they were more or less spontaneous.

(I've never been on one of these rides so I'm only going on reports, but I have been involved with policing all manner of events, but never a CM. Thank goodness.)


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Rob Archer
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Location: King's Lynn, Norfolk

Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby Rob Archer » 22 Jun 2012, 7:35pm

An Update on this. We've steered away from the 'critical mass' approach as is has unfortunate connotations. We've invited local councillors and have made it a 'fun' type event. We're riding a mix of off-road cycle paths and main roads, in an attempt to show the good and bad of King's Lynn's cycle network. We've also stressed that riders are responsible for their own safety, and are expected to obey the law. The best news is that the Lynn News are plugging it they will take responsibility!


The Big King’s Lynn Bike Ride

Friday 29th June 2012 6PM at LynnSport.

Saddle Up and Be Counted!


Worried about cycling on the road? Fed up with poor-quality cycle paths? Had enough of being cut up by speeding cars? It doesn’t have to be like this!

Across the UK towns and cities are changing the way people travel – don’t let the cycling revolution bypass King’s Lynn!

Now’s YOUR chance to help make a difference.
Join hundreds of local cyclists for a short one-hour ride around the town, visiting the best and worst parts of the local cycle network. Bring your friends and family and send the message that cyclists matter!


We’re calling for two things:

1. Proper cycle facilities, built to national standards.

2. A 20MPH speed limit on all roads where cyclists share the road with motor vehicles.

There are only 2 things to note:

• Riders are responsible for their own safety during the ride

• All participants must obey the Highway Code at all times.


The Big King’s Lynn Bike Ride
Supported by Kings Lynn Bike Users Group, CTC, The Lynn News and local cyclists like you.


Ribblehead
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Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby Ribblehead » 22 Jun 2012, 8:58pm

Some time ago I recall reading of court rulings on whether Critical Mass has an organiser. It would appear that the matter has now been settled, having been ruled on by the highest court in the land. Wikipedia gives the history of the dispute between the Metropolitan Police and a Critical Mass participant:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflicts_involving_Critical_Mass#London

thirdcrank
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Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby thirdcrank » 22 Jun 2012, 9:04pm

I think one fundamental thing about that case in London - which involved the duties of the organiser - was that CM had become established as occurring "same time, same place" every month. It would take place, therefore, without anybody organising anything.

If you say "I am organising an event...." the situation is quite different.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby [XAP]Bob » 25 Jun 2012, 3:05pm

A 20mph on all roads where cyclists/motorists share is unrealistic, as that is everywhere except the motorway network.

I'd suggest limiting the request to residential/shopping areas - i.e. areas where a lower speed limit isn't just for the benefit of cyclists, but for the benefit of the whole community.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

Rob Archer
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Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby Rob Archer » 25 Jun 2012, 9:33pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:A 20mph on all roads where cyclists/motorists share is unrealistic, as that is everywhere except the motorway network.

I'd suggest limiting the request to residential/shopping areas - i.e. areas where a lower speed limit isn't just for the benefit of cyclists, but for the benefit of the whole community.


We're talking in the context of the town (in this case King's Lynn). I don't think anyone would expect all roads to be 20. having said that, there's a growing call for lower speeds on rural roads round here - mainly coming from the horse and rambling community.

Rob

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby [XAP]Bob » 26 Jun 2012, 11:05am

Rob Archer wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:A 20mph on all roads where cyclists/motorists share is unrealistic, as that is everywhere except the motorway network.

I'd suggest limiting the request to residential/shopping areas - i.e. areas where a lower speed limit isn't just for the benefit of cyclists, but for the benefit of the whole community.


We're talking in the context of the town (in this case King's Lynn). I don't think anyone would expect all roads to be 20. having said that, there's a growing call for lower speeds on rural roads round here - mainly coming from the horse and rambling community.

Rob


A joint call would hold more water than just a cyclist call. Obviously we have wheels in town and out of town - but we need to team with different sets of "other road users" in the two environments...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

Richard Mann
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Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby Richard Mann » 26 Jun 2012, 2:46pm

Rob Archer wrote:We're talking in the context of the town (in this case King's Lynn). I don't think anyone would expect all roads to be 20. having said that, there's a growing call for lower speeds on rural roads round here - mainly coming from the horse and rambling community.

Rob


Just everything within about half a mile from the centre (excepting Edward Benefer Way).

Compare
http://www.itoworld.com/map/5#lat=52.75 ... 45&zoom=13
with
http://www.itoworld.com/map/5#lat=51.75 ... 27&zoom=13

Rob Archer
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Location: King's Lynn, Norfolk

Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby Rob Archer » 26 Jun 2012, 8:09pm

Thank's for posting the comparative maps. Compared to Oxford, King's Lynn appears a bit of a confusing mess of varying 20, 30, and 40mph limits! Having said that, they are now talking of taking Edward Benefer Way and Grimston Rd down to 30.

ericonabike
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Re: Critical Mass - type ride

Postby ericonabike » 8 Jul 2012, 10:37pm

If this is still current, check out Leicester Critical Mass at http://www.facebook.com/leicester.criticalmass The 'non-organisers' started this up in October 2010 and it regularly attracts between 100 and 200 riders, of all ages, shapes and sizes. We see it as a cycling charm offensive, but we do block junctions [with a smile and a friendly word] to allow everyone through. It's huge fun.
Motorists' mantra: Cyclists must obey the law and the Highway Code AT ALL TIMES. Unless their doing so would HOLD ME UP.