Thousands Turn Out to Mark Critical Mass Anniversary

Big turnout for Critical Mass 20th anniversary.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Slow traffic, but no real mayhem during tonight's 20th anniversary of Critical Mass.

    It was a bad night for driving in San Francisco thanks to a Critical Mass bike ride that drew thousands of cyclists.

    The bike ride happens on the last Friday of the month every month, but Friday night marked the 20th anniversary of Critical Mass in San Francisco and therefore the numbers were higher than usual.

    For the most part the night was peaceful, but tempers flared at several intersections as cyclists took over the streets.

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    Some feel that Critical Mass's time has passed. When the event began, in 1992, commuting by bicycle was itself a rarity, a sign of protest, the newspaper reported. Since then, bike lanes have been built and going to work on two wheels is routine.

    "Avid cyclist" David Chiu, president of the city's Board of Supervisors, says that "responsible citizen cyclists" and not Critical Mass made the city bike-friendly.

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    So what's the point of protesting anymore?

    Fossil fuels aren't getting cheaper, cleaner, or more renewable, for one. Bicycling needs to be "part of the solution" for traffic congestion that will only get worse when "our economy comes back," Chiu said.

    The anniversary celebrations will continue throughout the weekend  including a Sunday 1 p.m. "Farewell Bike Ride" leaving from 518 Valencia St.  to head to a party at Ocean Beach.

    For more information about Critical Mass and its anniversary  events visit  http://www.sfcriticalmass.org/20th-anniversary/calendar-of-events.