2007_03_critmass.jpg

It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's Critical Mass time. And with the NYPD's new parade rules, which require gatherings of 50 people or more to have permits, tonight's bicycle ride is being seen as a test of whether the NYPD will enforce the rules.

The 5 Borough Bike Club tried to get an injunction against the police for Critical Mass, but a judge denied one. OnNYTurf points out that the judge is open to ruling about an injunction next month (apparently the 5BBC filed the request too close to the event). Critical Mass participants say they can't apply for parade rules because there is no central organization and no one in charge. One tell amNew York, "I'm afraid we are going to see a return to the police actions of 2004 and 2005. Police could once again block off streets at both ends, corral and arrest cyclists."

And City Council member Rosie Mendez is essentially risking arrest by riding in a pedicab during Critical Mass. Her statement:

"I ride tonight in Critical Mass not just to promote alternative modes of transportation, but more so because it is my constitutional right to participate and assemble in this manner. To criminalize the behavior of individuals assembling in groups over 50 is arbitrary and unconstitutional, and I vow to fight the NYPD's published rules, and to introduce a bill that would protect our right to assemble.

“We, as New Yorkers, need to know that today and everyday, the constitution guarantees that 'these streets are our streets!' and we will risk arrest if necessary to ensure in the future that the rights of others are not trampled on."

Speaking of pedicabs, Mayor Bloomberg is vetoing the pedicab bill!

Do you think tonight's ride will be peaceful or chaotic? Do you have an over-under on arrests?

Photograph of a July 2006 Critical Mass by seth holladay on Flickr