Has Critical Mass Ridden Itself to Irrelevance?

The mass ride through city streets was originally intended to increase the visibility of bicyclists. Though it still attracts participants, as bicycling has been embraced as a mainstream mode, Critical Mass has lost its relevance, says Joe Eskenazi.
July 26, 2013, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Sixteen years ago this month (and 101 years to the day after the 1896 demonstration), Critical Mass was important. Some 7,000 riders inundated San Francisco and were violently confronted by police. It was a watershed moment for cycling in this city; Critical Mass served as a catalyst in changing San Francisco," explains Eskenazi. "But, like all catalysts, Critical Mass itself didn't change, even as the landscape around it did, both literally and figuratively."

"Instead, a movement created 21 years ago to shake this city out of its institutionalized torpor has, itself, become institutionalized. It has become yet another San Francisco experience, a ritualization of something once vital and meaningful in a city increasingly preoccupied with celebrating what it once was."

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Published on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 in SF Weekly
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