News Cycling Community Meets With the City to Talk About the Future of Critical Mass
posted by August 20 at 12:30 PMon
Three weeks after a violent clash between cyclists and a motorist during a Critical Mass ride on Capitol Hill, the fractured cycling community finally sat down with the city to talk about how to move forward.
Yesterday, council member Tim Burgess met with Critical Mass riders, the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, members of the Cascade Bicycle Club (CBC), City Attorney Tom Carr and Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske to talk about the future of the Critical Mass and, Burgess says, “public policy related to cyclists and drivers and how to prevent these incidents from happening in the future.”
In the days following the Critical Mass melee, police were quick to fault riders for escalating the altercation. However, it appears the department isn’t planning to crack down on the monthly rides, and will instead be reaching out to riders through cycling message boards. According to council member Burgess, Chief Kerlikowske “spoke rather eloquently about the fact that the police dept has no desire at all to stop the Critical Mass rides or be heavy handed.”
Although SPD made it fairly clear they believed cyclists were at fault for last month’s altercation, no one has yet been charged.
At yesterday’s meeting, Chief Kerlikowske said that SPD had submitted their case file on the incident to the King County Prosecutor’s office for review. However, KC spokesman Dan Donahoe says SPD has not in fact handed anything over.
Cascade Bicycle Club Advocacy Director David Hiller—who has derided Critical Mass in the past—says CBC has been digging into the July 27th melee and says CBC is now convinced that the driver “made a deliberate decision to strike…one person with a two ton object and then accelerated into a group of folks. That makes him a criminal before he was a victim,” Hiller says.
SPD will be on hand at the next Critical Mass ride on August 29th to distribute fliers. Although Burgess is an avid cyclist and was happy to facilitate yesterday’s meeting, he says he won’t be at the ride because he’s “an old guy that operates within the lines.”