critical mass in brisbane?!

critical mass in brisbane?!

Postby eliza » Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:44 pm

hey all, i've only just moved to brisbane via vancouver, perhaps one of the most bike friendly cities in the world! :D
Very Happy
i'm really curious about why brisbane doesn't have a critical mass?! :?
(search wikipedia critical mass)
there seem to be lots of keen riders (at least out along the river today!) and certainly lots of difficulties with riding in this city... isn't this the perfect combination for a good group of massers happily taking over the streets on a friday afternoon?
any info or keen people with initiative :idea:
Idea most welcome to reply!!
cheers,
e
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by BNA » Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:51 pm

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Postby russellgarrard » Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:51 pm

I much prefer critical manners, but...loved it, I last (I know, I should stop going on about it) did the brissie to the bay, 4000 riders.

I asked one of the organisers 'so what next, how about we do a critical mass'. Oh god, the groan you could hear from her, loved it!

Unfortunately there would be very few people with the balls and brains in brisbane to pull it off, most of them apparently still need training wheels.
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Postby beauyboy » Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:25 am

It is possible because we have so far not had to much anti-cycling responses from the polies. So Far there has only been one Critical Mass type ride done in Brisbane to my knowledge. This was done by the CBD bug in response to the poor provisions for cyclist riding throught the RBH area at Bowen Hills. This has given the required respose that we were after.
the CBD bug link is www.cbdbug.googlepages.com

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Postby Max » Mon Aug 25, 2008 1:44 pm

I personally wouldn't participate in it. From what I've read of CM in these forums, it's one of those nuisance-causing events that makes CBD traffic even worse than it already is. We don't need to induce road rage!

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Postby mich rolling » Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:58 pm

"for a good group of massers happily taking over the streets on a friday afternoon"

Brisbane had a go at Critical Mass 5 or 6 years ago(?).

I went on one starting in King George Square but never went again. The ride attracted maybe fifteen riders.

Ten of the riders rode politely but assertively as traffic obeying rules and SHARING THE ROAD. Polite actions like using only one lane on a dual carrigeway, keeping the bunch together etc. This fits what I wanted - acknowledgement by cars of riders right to be on the road and by riders of the good manners of sharing the road with cars. Virtually all drivers took the slight delay in good faith and smiled or turned up the radio as their characters directed. Brisbane, and most of Australia, mostly aims to get along with a minimum of fuss and agro.

Five of the riders were rude to innocent motorists for no good reason, did not share the road but occuppied all available lanes, abused drivers verbally and in one instance waved a bicycle pump at a driver in a threatening manner. These five riders were advertising the worst possilbe image of cyclists - rude, arrogant, inconsiderate. Exactly the behaviour we as cyclists do not want from motorists.

Because of the attitudes of those five beserker bikers I have never been on another CM.
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critical mass callout

Postby eliza » Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:14 pm

hi bendertiger,
yes! good! balls, brains and ovaries riding in the city!
i look forward to it.
september, a celebration of the start of spring seems like a good month to begin doesn't it?

hi beauyboy,
unfortunately your link didn't go anywhere?!
and yes, the pollies want everyone to start riding bikes...
(without adequate bike lanes?! what are they thinking!!!)
so i'd say they might even smile if a critical mass gets off the ground!
hell, we could probably even get a police escort!

hi max,
yes, traffic and road rage suck! but how much better would the traffic be if we reduced the size of each persons space by 1/18th!
(i.e. substitute all those cars for bikes!!!)
and road rage?! well it's hard for motorists to get angry if there's a party going on!
'happy Friday everyone!'

hi mich rolling,
agreed, no need to take 2 lanes with only 15 riders.
and isn't keeping everyone together the whole point i.e. MASS?!
and although cars SUCK they're much heavier than me so no need to provoke them!!

so it's settled then,
i'll do my best to recruit for a happy spring ride last friday of the month in september...

COS I DON'T RIDE A FOOTPATH BIKE!!
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Postby eliza » Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:25 pm

beauyboy,
i found the link,
just need to leave out the "www" bit
ta
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Re: critical mass callout

Postby Kalgrm » Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:16 pm

eliza wrote:....and yes, the pollies want everyone to start riding bikes...
(without adequate bike lanes?! what are they thinking!!!)

Hi Eliza,

I though the idea of CM was to encourage sharing of the roads. Don't bike lanes segregate the roads, thereby discouraging the shared use of the public resource?

Cheers,
Graeme (AKA the Devil's Advocate ... :))
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Postby eliza » Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:12 pm

Hi Kalgrm aka super mod,
hmmm... interesting idea.

i guess it all depends on your perspective, and as we know CM is a lot of different things to a lot of different people ;)
Yes, it is about sharing the roads... but it could hardly be argued that it's about encouraging BIKES to share the roads?!
as if bikes have a CHOICE!

thus, i'd see it as encouraging CARS to share the road
(with BIKES!)
(and other wheeled animals)

as for bikes lanes... yes, i guess they do segregate the roads
(poor roads :cry:)
but presumably road lines do that as well :?
so maybe while we're at it we should get rid of road lines, and road boundaries... and median strips and railway track warning lights and footpaths... all the other things that separate the road from reaching it's full wholesome tarmacked potential :cry:

or... it could just be that cyclists are safer! riding somewhat separate from cars (unremembered but definitely reliable source sourced) and that bike lanes help vision challenged drivers SEE US!

Kalgrm next time i want your opinion, not the devil's advocates opinion!
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Postby Kalgrm » Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:12 pm

Hi Eliza,

Stating my opinion doesn't necessarily get others to consider their own stance on the subject. Sometimes I'll ask a question which makes my point in addition to stimulating logical thought by other forum members.

My point here was "Bike lanes reinforce an Us-and-Them mentality". Creating a special place for bikes to ride in also creates a perception among many drivers that bikes should not be on roads at all if there is no special place for them. The logic (if you can call it that) is that bikes should be ridden in bike lanes that have been laid out for them and nowhere else. These drivers already believe bikes aren't valid road users - bike paths reinforce that opinion for them.

In reality, bikes are allowed to be ridden legally on most roads.

The philosophy behind CM is to encourage drivers to share the road with bikes riders. Advocating both CM and the use of bike lanes as a way to get to a CM event seems to be counter-intuitive to me. Would you also expect a critical mass group to ride only within a bike lane, if indeed one were present on the CM route? ;)

I realise you're only joking when you say we should remove all other lane markers as well as bike lanes. However, they are hardly the same idea - lane markings, fog lines, double-whites, turning arrows, etc are there for the benefit of all road users. They are there to control the flow of traffic and make the road safer for all. They are not there just to take up space, and they certainly do not segregate one form of traffic from all other road users, as bike lanes do.

If you really want drivers to share the road, you should be encouraging all riders to use the road.

IMHO ... ;)

Cheers,
Graeme

(BTW, I like bike lanes and use them wherever I can. But you have asked for my opinion about the concept of bike lanes, so now you have it.)
Last edited by Kalgrm on Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Pax » Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:18 pm

Hi All

There were regular Critical Mass rides in Brisbane in approx the late 90s with many many more people than 15!! I'm sure there are people on this site with stronger memories of them than I have and who could fill in a bit of their history.

I've got to say that though I participated in a few of them I had really mixed feelings about them. There was lots of fun in the group and in simply taking over the road through having a critical mass of riders, but there was a lot of agro generated, including occasional assaults and damage both to bikes and cars. In the end I stopped participating, but (paradoxically) I am sad to hear that they no longer happen (I've only returned to the bike this year after a few years of not much riding).

Eliza...what is your experience of them in Vancouver??? What was the "mood" of the riders and the drivers???
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Postby muggah » Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:55 pm

I had a look at the wiki article, I like the idea of the rides to raise awareness and show people that cyclists do exist.

However, I'm not sure many positive feelings would come out of a mass of riders tearing through the city 'corking' intersections and running red lights etc. Whilst in a large group the cyclists will prevail (judging by the article, it looks like the groups caused a fair bit of damage to anyone that tried to run them over!!) But when the motorist who was cut off by this large group comes across a lone cyclist days, weeks, months or years afterwards, the outcome may be a bit different!!

That said it would be pretty fun to tear through a major city with a couple of hundred other riders, but I don't think the rides would do much in the way of generating more positive feelings towards our chosen mode of transport.
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Re: critical mass callout

Postby Max » Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:20 pm

eliza wrote:hi max,
yes, traffic and road rage suck! but how much better would the traffic be if we reduced the size of each persons space by 1/18th!
(i.e. substitute all those cars for bikes!!!)
and road rage?! well it's hard for motorists to get angry if there's a party going on!
'happy Friday everyone!'


I think you're being a little obtuse. People trapped in peak hour traffic on a Friday afternoon are not having a party. They're stressed, frustrated, wound up after a week of work. They want to get home as soon as they possibly can so they can start their weekend and blow off some steam. Do you really think they'll *enjoy* having that goal set back by a group of riders "taking over" the road? No way. I believe that sort of behaviour will simply make drivers resent cyclists even more. This antagonistic behaviour will not win friends.

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Postby russellgarrard » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:05 pm

FOR F**K SAKE! IT HAS TO BE SAID!

HOLD IT ON SUNDAY! BOOM BOOM! Everyone can organise, most lucky souls have the day off, we won't be holding up traffic and will still get noticed! Go through Southbank, into the city, citycat would be perfect, run down adelaide street, take a right somewhere, head over to the botanical gardens, run through there, onto the goodwill bridge and repeat?
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Postby eliza » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:24 pm

Hi Graeme,
Yes, bikes are legally allowed to be ridden on most public roads, however on many public roads it is verging on suicide to ride on them. ':shock:'

For example, I ride every day to and from work, part of this ride goes along McCullough Street in Sunnybank... where do i ride?
On the footpath.
Why?
Certainly not because i like dodging pedestrians and watching for cars reversing recklessly out of their driveways!
but because to ride on the road would be an invitation to death... so the footpath is the next best option.
Do we need bike lanes on these types of roads?
Yes!! :D

For the most part of my ride to work i ride on the roads.
Not because the cars want me there, but because i know that i am allowed to be there, and because it's far preferable to the footpath!

Some of these roads are great: wide, quiet, gentle breeze blowing, scented flowers etc! :D
Some of them are not so good: i.e. not so wide, not so quiet, but they are still do-able.
Do we need bike lanes on these types of roads?
Maybe.

In my opinion, and from my experience riding in more bike friendly cities (than Brisbane) bike lanes certainly don't create an idea with drivers that "bikes should only be in bike lanes and nowhere else!"
Bike lanes actually create the opposite, a more friendly attitude towards bike riders.
i.e. "oh look! they exist! aren't they cute? let's move over for them George... oh, why don't we ever ride our bikes anymore?! You used to have such a hot bod before you bought this V8"

In response to your idea that all users should use the roads equally.
I think we are kidding ourselves.
Bikes and cars (/trucks/buses etc) are fundamentally different creatures, anyone who has been out on the freeway on a bike is aware of that.
(i haven't!)

1. One goes very fast (with minimum physical effort)
One goes less fast (with glorious physical effort) :D
2. One is very big (in relation to ratio per person)
One is very small (as above) :D
3.One is aware of it's surroundings in a very fleeting way
One is aware of it's surroundings in a less fleeting way :D

Why does this matter?
1. imagine driving on a freeway (in a car) with a *car* in your lane doing 15km/hour.
ANNOYING!!!
2. one will squash the other one easily if one doesn't see one
3. this relates closely to no. 2

In Vancouver, in case you're wondering...
there were (normal) roads prioritised for bikes.
these were (sensibly enough!) reasonably flat and crisscrossed all over the city.
Cars were still allowed on these roads but naturally preferred to go on others because on these 'bike roads' there were, well... a lot of bikes doing bikeish things i.e. being slow, stopping to smell the roses etc.

Once you (the bike rider) got to the end of a *special bike road* you would join up with a normal (car) road where you would ride as usual i.e. to the side of the main traffic.

For me this was a great model. :D

From what I've read one of the main reasons people don't use bikes more is because they are (rightfully) concerned about their safety on the roads.
Measures like "special bike roads" and bike lanes go a long way to changing this.

Because... while there are folks who WILL ride their way along McCullough St i am certainly not one of them.

So yes, I guess the point is that there are MANY different solutions to the currently not-very-amazing commuter biking situation in Brisbane.
ONE of these is more bike lanes.
ANOTHER is... [fill in the blank here]

Hell, the roads are so wide here that on many of them you could fit a double width bike lane in!! no need for single file!

As for CM:
(i know it's a PC answer) but...
I really do think people participate in it for many different reasons.
So I think it would be totally fine for there to be someone who thinks bike lanes are GREAT
riding next to
someone who thinks bike lanes SUCK!

hell, they might even debate the topic while they're riding! :lol:

And no, i wouldn't expect CM to take place only in a bike lane because
a) it's a special ride
b) there would (hopefully) be too many riders to FIT in a bike lane

Would i expect bikers to ride in bike lanes all the time the rest of the time?
No, not necessarily...
but generally it makes sense, as you yourself demonstrate within your own riding practice!
and... if bike lanes are designed properly they defintely fulfill all of the requirements of the biker and thus the biker would not need (or want, obviously!) to go outside of the bike lane to... ummm... mingle with the motorised!

thanks
e

p.s. now i get to ask you:
you said "I like bike lanes and use them wherever I can"
Why?

p.s.s. no, i didn't ask for your opinion about the CONCEPT of bike lanes,
i would much prefer to hear about your actual USE of bike lanes.
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Postby eucryphia » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:27 pm

bendertiger wrote:...onto the goodwill bridge...


A CM day will not get one car driver to try cycling to work...

...a cycling family fun day, held on a Sunday might.
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Postby eliza » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:43 pm

Hi Pax,
Thanks for your message.
Experience of CM in Vancouver:
it really depends...
June in Vancouver is bike month
(imagine that! a whole month devoted to bikes!)
so that was a massive time for CM, the June ride i went on in 2007 was thousands of riders... and beautiful fun!
Lots of people were always really into CM, there was always a theme, and people had fun riding and catching up with people from the biking community, and riding around the city.

There were points of agro, but they have to be kept in perspective.
And surely there has to be some kind of balance between 'keeping the drivers happy' and making our point/s.
If our aim is purely to keep the drivers happy the solution is easy: stay off the road you damn cyclists!

Overall Vancouver is a pretty bike positive city,
...but we have to ask ourselves how that happened?
was it born that way?
probably not... it happened because of people...
because the infrastructure was there/developing/encouraged and because more and more people started riding/thinking about riding/doing riding.

Generally i don't see much point in agro.
But surely some of the responsibility for the agro has to be put on the drivers themselves?!

cheers,
e
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Postby eliza » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 pm

the site wont let me post links,
but you can check out
http://www.vancouvercm.blogspot.com
for yourselves






mod edit, fixed the link.
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Postby eliza » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:49 pm

Eucryphia,

"A CM day will not get one car driver to try cycling to work... "

Is there a single point to CM?
Is this it?

Shall we forgoe the whole idea because we cannot achieve this single aim that we set ourselves?

Or, should we not instead review our aim/s and review our point?
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Postby russellgarrard » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:56 pm

How many people who see it also drive to work? Once we've got it 'rolling' so to speak, then we can try for a weekday event. How else are we going to get enough 'mass' to do it properly without doing weekends first?
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Postby eliza » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:59 pm

Hi Muggah,
thanks for your post.

In your comments re "positive feelings" i see again the point regarding how far "we" (bike riders) should go to placate the "other" (drivers).
I think there's no definitive answer.
if we want them to love us absolutely (to the point of invisibility) we should get the f**k off the roads
if we want them to hate us to hell we should ride all over the freeway :D
but, there's a few middleways surely...?!

corking intersections makes a lot of sense if you want to keep the (very occasional) a**hole driver from driving through the mass.
Again it all relies on keeping the MASS together!!
Thats why the intersections are corked.

And i have to admit to being a little sceptical about your claim that the driver who was momentarily delayed in Friday traffic will hold a grudge and sometime in the years to come do a hit and run on a lone cyclist?! let's hope people can get OVER IT!

and, yes, it will be fun!!! :D
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Postby eliza » Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:09 pm

Hi Max,
You raise a tremendously good point which i am happy to respond to with a personal anecdote!

I was on CM in Toronto about this time last year.
It was a relatively small but nonetheless very good ride.
And i came across a very funny situation when we were riding down some street and some people called out from their balcony window:
"What are you riding for?"

It occurred to me then that as long as people see that you are having a good time, they will respond positively.

Maybe they will think you are riding for the Broncos
Maybe they will think you are riding for disease research
Maybe they will think you are riding for your friend's birthday

but as long as they see you are having a party and
are thus in a positive frame of mind

they are happy, not agro!

(and, incidentally, will probably recieve that leaflet you pass them in a much more open minded way!)

thanks for bringing it up
e
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Postby eliza » Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:17 pm

Hi bendertiger,

I have to admit to being a traditionalist... and wanting CM to ride on a Friday afternoon (specifically the last of the month)

why?
because every other cyclist in every other city in the world is doing it... so why can't we?

and... because marking the last day of the (9-5) work week is fun, and marking the last friday of the month is also fun!

of course this doesn't rule out additional events!

but let's make CM on the last Friday of the month a permanent event?!

now that that's (somewhat) settled where should we meet on the 26th September for the first (in a while) Brisbane CM?
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Postby eliza » Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:23 pm

and you could always check this out
http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/engsvcs ... P_2007.pdf
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Postby russellgarrard » Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:24 pm

Fair enough, I can see your point's Eliza.

Still, the problem for me is, what's a mass? How many people does it have to be to be effective? Also, what will QPS think of this?
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