2006_01_critmass.jpgBicyclists and Critical Mass supporters rejoice! Judge Gerald Harris ruled that the city's claim Critical Mass bike rides require permits is "overly broad" and "unconstitutional on its face." Newsday reports that Harris was deciding over the January 2005 arrests of eight bicyclists that occured near Union Square. Ever since the August 2004 ride, right before the Republican National Convention, bicyclists and the NYPD have clashed, with many bikers being arrested. The NYPD claims the bike rides disturb traffic and the peace - and that the rides require permits (that the city would never grant) - while bikers say the rides are spontaneous (spontaneously occuring at the same time each month) and help encourage alternative means of transportation. Now, because this ruling was in criminal court, it does not bind the city to immediately stop its campaign against Critical Mass rides. And the eight bikers were still found guilty of disorderly conduct.

In October 2004, a judge ruled that a Critical Mass ride could go on. And a Gothamist post on the legalities of bike protests.