Understanding Critical Mass

Many of us cyclists from Malaysia doesn't seemed to understand Critical Mass.

In a Critical Mass, it has no leaders. It's an event, not an organization. Definitely no sponsors and no permits.

In every city that has a Critical Mass, one or more cyclists just picked a day and time and started handing out fliers. In Malaysia we already have one which is right in the center of Kuala Lumpur. Cyclists meet up at Central Market for the KL Critical Mass. Since the idea of a Critical Mass does not bound to only one mass ride to one country, now we're having it in Putrajaya.

Critical Mass can be fun, but in and of itself, Critical Mass doesn't change anything. Critical Mass is effective only when combined with real advocacy -- such as lobbying local and state governments for bike lanes and progressive legislation. If all you and your cohorts do is ride your bikes around once a month, don't be surprised when nothing changes.

Most Critical Mass rides don't have a set route -- they go through the central city randomly, with whoever happens to be in front leading the way. Of course, you can set a route if you want to, but don't think that you have to.

The most controversial aspect of Critical Mass is the extent to which it blocks traffic. Massers are fond of saying "We're not blocking traffic, we ARE traffic!" While that's a cute phrase, it's obviously pretty silly. It's like a murderer saying, "I didn't kill that human, I *am* a human!" Just because bikes are legitimate road users doesn't mean they don't slow down other road users -- especially when they go out of their way to do so by taking up multiple lanes.

Remember that Critical Mass is supposed to be a celebration of cycling, not your opportunity to see how much inconvenience you can cause to others. It's about asserting our right to the road, not denying others their right to the road.

Whatever the reasons or the cause of a Critical Mass, we're here to ensure that we ride Putrajaya (very soon!) in the idea of celebrating of cycling. We're definitely not in the city but we encourage safety and peace of the ride. Let's try to have fun instead of fire.

Putrajaya, we ride!

More info here.


hait-san said...

Yeah!! Get up! stand up!!
Ride to the front!!