February 2012 Critical Mass and meet-up – This Friday

Recently Facebook revamped the “groups” feature so that existing members had to pop back and rejoin the group to keep receiving messages and event invitations. So two days ago the size of the Glasgow Critical Mass Facebook Group was 5 members. Including the 4 of us who were Admins beforehand.

However, in the last 48 hours we have had half a dozen new members join up, and in a fit of wild enthusiasm I’ve put up a ride event for this Friday.

Facebook page for the ride:

* http://www.facebook.com/groups/6202696383/10150536640106384/?notif_t=like#!/events/358281470859159/

Facebook page proper, for anyone that would like to join or rejoin:

* http://www.facebook.com/groups/6202696383/10150536640106384/?notif_t=like#!/groups/6202696383/


(Revised) Critical Manners

This is a list of commonly cited list of “Do’s and Don’ts” for critical masses, dating back to at least 1998. They are not even guidelines, they are suggestions for guidelines. Please comment, criticise, and make suggestions.

Critical Mass Do’s & Don’ts!

Please Do:

  • Please Do: Talk to strangers, bystanders, bus riders, motorists.

  • Please Do: Welcome people to join us next time.

  • Please Do: Help cars stuck in mass to exit safely out of the mass

  • Please Do: Stop regularly if you’re in front (no matter how slowly you think you’re going, gaps are opening up behind you).

  • Please Do: Stop at red lights when in front to allow the rest of the ride to “mass up” behind.

  • Please Do: Fill gaps; Critical Mass depends on bicycle density to displace cars.

  • Please Do: Remember that pleasure and friendliness are more subversive than anger and blaming.

Please Don’t

  • Please Don’t: Race ahead to block cross traffic before the Mass has arrived.

  • Please Don’t: Ride into oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road.

  • Please Don’t: Pick fights with motorists, even (especially) if they’re itching for one.

  • Please Don’t: Fail to turn and twist through the city to make the ride more interesting.

  • Please Don’t: Forget to smile and wave and talk to strangers.

  • Please Don’t: Hesitate to tell other Massers what you think of their behavior, whether good or bad. Talk to each other.

  • Please Don’t: Forget we are all responsible to make Critical Mass what we want it to be.

  • Please Don’t: Mass up in turn lanes when you aren’t going to turn in that direction.

  • Please Don’t: Use lanes that aren’t necessary. If there are multiple lanes, let faster moving traffic pass and don’t block them in.

Flyer 2 – Crazy, No?

Flyer 1 (right-click and select “view image”)

First Daylight Ride of the Year!!!

Thanks to everyone that came this evening and made it such a good ride. I can’t stress enough what a pleasure it was to have a nice tight ride without unnecessary provocation or aggro.

Conversation on the ride and and afterwards was pretty productive, leading to the following suggestions:

  • I should get myself organised and post up the flyers I have been banging on about
  • We need to have a masterclass on “corking” “the dynamic of Mass motion” so the uber-cyclists can ride as fast as they want without leaving the pack behind
  • there may have been other stuff but I was drinking and very tired…

I’ll try and get a flyer up in the next 24 hours if possible, then get some information on corking up. Then maybe even a flyer on corking, who knows? The sky’s the limit.

UPDATE – There was also a ten minute conversation on traffic light sequencing, focusing on how to AVOID going through on red, which someone has misreported as “rules regarding when to run a red light”

Since this is such a wallbanger I’ll do another post on just this topic, covering what we talked about, but not just yet as I’ve gone a bit mental with the posts in the last 24 hours.

See Me Save Me

On February 5th 2009, cyclist Eilidh Cairns was knocked down and killed by a tipper lorry in Notting Hill Gate, London. She was an experienced cyclist, making a 20 mile round trip on London roads every day.  The coroner concluded that she was most likely riding ahead of the lorry, which then ran into her rear wheel.

Last year the driver pleaded guilty to driving with uncorrected defective vision and was given 3 points and a £200 fine. He said he did not see her. He is still driving his truck.

Heavy Goods Vehicles count for 45% of all London cyclist deaths but make up only 5% of road traffic. Across Europe 4000 people, mostly unprotected road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians are killed each because of HGV blind spots.

Eilidh’s sister Kate is campaigning for a change in European law to oblige HGVs to fit sensors and cameras to cover these blind spots and save lives.  You can find out more here:


The key actions you can take are

  • Contact your MEP to ensure they sign Written Declaration 81 to bring in this legislation.  Of Scotland’s MEPs, 3 still haven’t signed (Ian Hudghton, Alyn Smith and Catherine Stihler)
  • Ask your friends and family in other EU constituencies to do the same
  • If you want to do more, you could join the campaign group in London on February 14th or in Strasbourg on February 15th and 16th to lobby MEPs in person

Summer fun!

Next Critical Mass is on Friday August 27th, meeting at 6 in George Square as per usual.

There do seem to be more cyclists on the streets than there used to be, particulalry on the occasions when we have nice weather.  There also seem to be more bike-related enterprises.  Glasgow Bike Shed has now opened in the Barras market, and offers reconditioned bikes and advice on maintenance and cycling safety.

On Sunday the Broomielaw will be closed to cars for Glasgow Sky Ride.  There are various events on at Glasgow Green, featuring Chris Hoy and, er, Lorraine Kelly.  Still, if it gets people on their bikes…