Saturday, August 1, 2009

Critical Mass Bike Protests in Downtown Calgary

As I was heading down 14th Street in Calgary on Friday night, there was a rather substantial peloton of cyclists going south in a substantial pack. The group was large enough to merit some consideration as a group of some sort and I wondered what they were cycling for. There were no colours, pamphlets or other indication of the cause they were cycling for. After a bit of research though I made the connection between yesterday's group in Calgary with a growing series of protests that are held on the last Friday of every month by a group called Critical Mass. Vancouver has also experienced these cycling protests, which have been leading to concerns in there about violence between car drivers and the cyclists.

Will the movement peter out in Calgary each winter? Will they actually find a route that draws them more attention? Hard to say. The movement has actually been in action for five years and they have managed to sustain a bit of momentum through the winters, believe it or not. Drivers seemed to be patient with the group during the ride on July 31, but they were not riding the busier thoroughfares of the city. It will be interesting to see if anything comes to a head between the cyclists and their four wheeled brethren.