This month, Notts critical mass was joined by riders on the 'Coal Caravan'
This epic 219 mile cycle caravan is travelling through communities threatened with open cast coal mines and power stations, from Notts to Newcastle (and a bit beyond).
This mass finished up at the Sumac Centre, where folks were entertained, fed, watered and rested, [oh and some bikes fixed], before they headed off to Shipley [site of new open cast mining] in Derbyshire on Saturday morning.
Critical Mass is a monthly bike ride [routinely meeting at 5pm to leave at 5.30pm on the last friday of every month] to celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists' right to the road. With no set routes and no leaders, it's simply a bunch of people enjoying clean healthy transport.
Check out the website at http://www.criticalmassrides.info/nottingham
Also, there is a discussion group at http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/nottcriticalmass
In addition to all of the worthwhile issues that Critical Mass highlights, it's a great way to meet people and perhaps do a bit of networking to promote other campaigns.
So why start from the Market Square? Well Critical Mass should appeal to anyone that rides a bike so it should start from the most central location for everyone's benefit. Plus, practically every other Critical Mass around the globe starts from a central, well-known location which makes it easy to remember and easy to find.
It's never more than a couple of hours. Bring bright clothing, lights, horns, bells, Noise and FRIENDS.
As usual, I've tried to take a set of pictures that show critical mass to be an empowering experience. Hopefully fun to be at. A celebration of the alternatives to the existing 'car culture'.
Please note: Next on will be on the 29th May (as ever ... the Last Friday of every month). Gather at 5.00pm to depart at 5.30pm. Let's get on our bikes and make this, the simplest of actions, happen.
See you there ..........
Links to the previous Nottingham Critical Mass I've covered at:
CM Feb 2006 http://indymedia.org.uk/media/2006/02//334617.avi
CM 2005-2006 http://indymedia.org.uk/media/2006/02//334661.avi
Construction of the 'multi-person thingy'
Design & building the multi-person powered thingy - Nottm's Rinky-Dink Phase 2
Making flags and decor for Nottingham's Critical Mass Bike About
All bikes are go ! Nottingham Indymedia feature
Bicycology biketour pedals onwards : Nottingham Pix
There have been some legal arguement, finishing in the House of Lords on Wednesday 26 November 2008.
The upshot appears to be that critical mass IS a "procession which is truly commonly or customarily held" and hence does NOT require police permission and consent under the Public Order Act 1986. So there!
This all began as a leaflet issued to CM participants by police at the start of the ride on September 2005 which stated:
"...Police can impose conditions on processions, demonstrations and other assemblies, and participants render themselves liable to arrest if they fail to comply with those conditions. These cycle protests are not lawful because no organiser has provided police the with the necessary notification. Your participation in this event could render you liable to prosecution. Police policy in facilitating these events is currently under review..."
After that the High Court decided in favour of CM but the police then appealed against that decision and won. The legalities involved are quite complicated and seem to hinge on whether the ride is customarily held and therefore not subject to certain police restrictions.
On Monday 20th October 2008 an appeal by Des Kay and Friends of the Earth, against the Commissioner of Metropolitan Police, was heard by five Law Lords and their decision is that the appeal is allowed and CM is a commonly or customarily held procession without organisers and therefore does not need to inform the police of each ride. So, still we ride too! Though whether we are traffic or not is debatable.
For a plain english explanation, check out: Victory for Critical Mass campaigners [BikeRadar.com] http://tinyurl.com/6ktykr
Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham. UK
Member of the National Union of Journalists [No: 014345]
"It is not enough to curse the darkness.
It is also necessary to light a lamp!!"
Tash [alan lodge]