NYPD shut down Critical Mass —again!

From the New York City environmental group Time’s Up, May 29:

NYPD Issues “Parading Without a Permit” Summons on City-Advertised Critical Mass Ride
Ride was listed on Bike Month Calendar financed by Department of Transportation

Last Friday, May 25th, NYPD issued at least 7 tickets for parading without a permit to cyclists at the Critical Mass ride. The majority of the tickets were issued to cyclists even before they left Union Square, the meeting point of the ride. Tickets were also issued to cyclists just walking their bikes out of the park. The May 25th Critical Mass ride was advertised in the Bike Month calendar financed by the NYC Department of Transportation.

Friday’s tickets for Parading Without a Permit were the first ones issued since NYPD’s new parade permit rule went into effect on February 25, 2007. The new parade permit rule states that groups of 50 or more law-abiding cyclists need police permission to ride together on the public streets.

Five of the cyclists stopped by the NYPD were cuffed with metal handcuffs and held at the west side of Union Square Park for approximately 20 minutes. The NYPD then released the cyclists with a summons for parading without a permit and cautioned them against further participation in the ride. “A police lieutenant threatened to confiscate our bikes as evidence if they picked us up again,” stated Tim Adams, one of the detained cyclists.

“The DOT’s promotion of group rides during this year’s Bike Month encourages new cyclists to ride together on the city street, giving them the confidence to become regular urban cyclists. The NYPD’s harassment of cyclists at Friday’s Critical Mass at the close of Bike Month directly contradicts the City’s stated commitment to increasing the number of New Yorkers using non-polluting transportation,” says Judy Ross of Time’s Up!, an environmental group that promotes group bike rides all year-round.

See our last post on the Critical Mass struggle.