What is Critical Mass?

Critical Mass is a mass bicycle ride that takes place on the last Friday of each month in cities around the world. Everyone is invited! No one is in charge! Bring your bike!

Next San Francisco Critical Mass: March 30th, 2018, 5:30pm, at Justin Herman Plaza (foot of Market Street).

Brooklyn Hipsters Re-Paint Bike Lane

December 13th, 2009 by hughillustration

After the city removed a section of the bike lane network in Brooklyn, a few renegades took direct action to correct the error:

The totally unreliable New York Post claims the lanes were removed in part because of complaints from the Hasidic community:

Cyclists have decried the removal of the bike lanes, but many Hasidic residents had complained that all the bikers whizzing by posed both safety and spiritual risks to the community.
Many of the hipster cyclists wear too little clothing for the Hasids, who are not supposed to stare at members of the opposite sex and wanted the enticement removed.

UK study: Women cyclists “risk death” by obeying traffic lights!

December 4th, 2009 by hughillustration

Here’s a refrain I have heard from motorists my entire adult life: “I support bicycling, but bicyclists need to start respecting traffic laws — stopping for red lights, stopping for stop signs, etc.” Most recently, the New York Times ran a piece in their new San Francisco section covering a supposed “backlash” against cyclists brought on by all those pedal-powered scofflaws out there.

Now comes a study from the UK that presents evidence that riding your bike according to the law can get you killed. TimesOnline reports that women cyclists have a higher accident rate in the UK not because they ride illegally, but because they obey the law too much!

Women cyclists are far more likely to be killed by a lorry because, unlike men, they tend to obey red lights and wait at junctions in the driver’s blind spot, according to a study.

The report by Transport for London’s road safety unit was completed last July but has been kept secret. It suggests that some cyclists who break the law by jumping red lights may be safer and that cycle feeder lanes may make the problem worse.

The fact is that when you navigate the city by bicycle, you learn that many of the rules of the road are simply not practical, and as the study shows, can be downright dangerous to your health. With more and more people getting around on bikes every day, eventually the law is going to have to change to reflect this new reality.

Orlando Critical Mass video

December 2nd, 2009 by hughillustration

This is a nice short video on the Critical Mass and bike scene in Orlando, FL. Curiously, the title is “We Are Traffic” — which happens to be the name of another nice Critical Mass film.

We Are Traffic from Bank Tangjaitrong on Vimeo.

The short is by Bank Tangjaitrong, which I learned about on CandyCranks.com.

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Do gas fumes cause road rage?

November 25th, 2009 by hughillustration

As if we needed another reason to oppose the organization of our cities around cars and gasoline… Wired reports:

Amal Kinawy of Cairo University found that rats exposed to gasoline fumes were more aggressive than those breathing clean air and more likely to show signs of anxiety. What’s more, their brains experienced changes in neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus, hippocampus and cerebellum. Although Kinaway limited her research to rats, she says the findings could apply to humans and be a factor in road rage.

“Heightened aggression may be yet another risk for the human population chronically exposed to urban air polluted by automobile smoke,” she said. “Millions of people every day are exposed to gasoline fumes while refueling their cars.”

That’s interesting, because I think studies have shown that rats that ride bikes for an hour each day exhibit the opposite tendencies — friendliness, sociability, and extreme cuteness. Just sayin’.