Is there such a thing as a rolling CicLAvia?
Is there such a thing as a rolling CicLAvia? Read below for why we ask this question and why we think that there probably isn’t such a thing.
LAPD officers will be present to ensure the safety of all those who lawfully participate and will take enforcement action against those who violate the law or the vehicle code.
For readers unfamiliar with Critical Mass bike rides, they’re a monthly leaderless celebration/demonstration of the joy of bicycling. They take place all over the world. They’re somewhat rebellious in nature; cyclists choose to ride in a large group at rush hour to assert our rights to the streets. Critical Mass’ unofficial credo is “We’re not blocking traffic. We are traffic.”
The new LAPD ride-along announcement was not explicity in response to this youtube video which documented inappropriate police use of force at the May Critical Mass ride, but it’s not difficult to see the connection.
Since the memo came out, there’s been quite a bit of speculation on how the next Los Angeles Critical Mass rides will be. It seems pretty clear that the complexion of the ride is likely to change with uniformed officers participating. Yesterday, in a story on the LAPD memo, LAist stated:
…major change to the ride could come, and it may not make some cyclists happy. With the LAPD’s support, the event could make many others — perhaps families? — feel comfortable enough to try out Critical Mass, growing the number of riders and making this an ad hoc rolling cicLAvia.
While we appreciate the link and we understand that police presence may well change the character of Critical Mass rides and attract a different, perhaps less confrontational group of bicyclists, we’re not sure about the notion of a “rolling cicLAvia.”
Even a family-friendly rolling street closure is not a CicLAvia. Many Los Angeles bicyclists are familiar with rolling street closure rides hosted by Councilmember Tom LaBonge (including ones coming up this summer), former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, and others. CicLAvia will be a very different event than these. Here are a few differences:
- CicLAvia has no direction. It’s more like a park than it is like a ride or a race. There’s no starting point or finish line. Folks can join in at any point and ride in any direction.
- CicLAvia opens the street for lots of different folks, not just bicyclists. When the CicLAvia street is free of cars, people do bike, but they also walk, run, dance, hang out, play, eat, and much more.
- CicLAvia is a fully permitted event with a route planned, permitted and publicized in advance.
What do you think? Is there such a thing as a rolling CicLAvia?