Critical Mass rider wasn’t a victim of a police vendetta

Like many people, I have a bicycle. Unlike many people, I prefer to do my riding on bike trails or off-road. The prospect of sharing the road with multitudes of large vehicles traveling at high rates of speed brings back extremely painful memories of my college physics classes. Something about mass, velocity and collisions comes to mind as I consider possible scenarios:

Scenario 1: Man on bike collides with Hyundai traveling at 35 mph. Likely result: Man on bike is creamed.

Scenario 2: Man on bike collides with UPS truck traveling at 35 mph. Likely result: Man on bike is unrecognizably creamed. Body parts that haven’t been permanently affixed to the truck’s grill land in California.

Scenario 3: Man on bike collides with bike path as a result of lost balance from over-exertion. Likely result: non-fatal injuries consisting of cuts, abrasions and bruised ego.

Considering that one distracted or inattentive driver can turn your average cyclist into road kill, my choice is simple.

With that in mind, consider this. There is a group in town called Critical Mass ( Apparently, this group takes monthly bike rides around town to, as its Web site proclaims, “celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists’ right to the road.”

To that end, I re-introduce to you one Jordan Lubek, third-year University of Nevada Reno journalism student and new member of CM. On a recent CM ride, he alleges that he was unfairly treated by our venerable police when he was cited with $680 worth of tickets, as was reported by the RN&R (

And yet the CM incident had nothing to do with the mean police officers abusing a group of innocent bike riders. I wasn’t at the event, but I know CM was in the wrong, and I can prove it using Mr. Lubek’s own words ( and the RN&R’s story.

First let’s start with an understanding. Bike riders have every right to ride in the street. That said, there are certain “rules of the road” that everyone has to follow. The first is that slow traffic (i.e. bicycles) stays to the extreme right or in the bike lane if there is one.

Exhibit No. 1, in Lubek’s own words: “We rode to Virginia Street where we then headed south taking up both lanes with about 40-50 people on bicycles.” (Emphasis added.)

So, clearly, the CM riders weren’t obeying the traffic laws. And, more important, it was a perfect example of liberal activist arrogance. They take up both lanes of traffic to make “a statement,” and the rest of us being inconvenienced are supposed to just deal with it.

Exhibit No. 2: In the March 17 RN&R, there is a photograph of Mr. Lubek riding his bicycle, which, according to the caption, is on Maple Street. He is flanked on either side by two Fords. It is apparent he is riding down the middle of the street, not to the extreme right or in the bike lane.

CM riders may wish to take a hint from their own Web site: “Some CM riders try to tie up traffic as much as possible and be otherwise confrontational with motorists. Such riders are missing the point about Critical Mass. CM is a celebration of cycling, not a war against motorists. CM is about asserting our right to the road, not denying others their right to the road.”

So, to Mr. Lubek and his fellow CM riders: Obey the law or expect the police to cite or arrest you. When they do, please spare the rest of us the lame attempts to paint yourselves as victims of a police vendetta.