Yes I'm trying to bring the Critical Mass concept to Amarillo, perhaps the least bike-friendly city I've ever seen. For those who aren't familiar with this event, it's a big monthly bike ride of as many people as you can get. The name comes (as far as I can tell) from the idea that enough people on bikes become a force in traffic, not only impossible to ignore, but perhaps even capable of running the streets.
My plan is to rally at Sunset Center next Friday (Oct. 3rd, or First Friday) starting at 6:30, departing promptly at 7:00 on a route as yet to be determined. Any amount of portable light anyone can bring would be great, as visibility is key not only to critical mass, but to being on a bike in general. At least befriend and help spread the word. And please repost.
Go to myspace.com/bikeamarillo and let's make Amarillo a safer place to ride!
Hope to see you there!
Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:50 pm
Joined: Nov 06, 2006
Just for the record, thru my job I have been able to live in many, many cities in the US, and to express my opinion, Amarillo is far, far from the least bike friendly city.
Even so-called bike friendly cities have jerks. The worst brush I've had with a car was not in Amarillo, but Seattle. I guy hit me with the mirror on his car as he passed on a wide, not busy street. He had a bike on top of his Outback. The last thing I remember before hitting the deck was him yelling out the window of his car, "get a helmet", as I wasn't wearing one.
Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:27 pm
White Jersey User
Joined: Nov 10, 2006
the first friday at sunset center is the artwalk so that lot will already be crowded
Critical Mass is designed to remind the drivers of the city that cyclist are out there and deserve use of the roads. The mass is critical as 6 or 7 dudes/chicks are just a bunch of jerks to the drivers, but 50 is a protest done well.
I don't plan on doing the event and think it is not a good idea. But I support the right of those who planned it and their use of this forum. My reason that I disagree is that: A. It is likely to be counter-productive. Unless the numbers are high enough that it is obvious to the drivers it is an event, they will just think it's some idiots blocking the rode. B. It's a little late in the year. Lights just add to the danger. C. Amarillo is a great town to commute in. Try Seattle, Albuquerque (my current home), DFW, Houston.......A-town is a great place to ride, unless you just have to ride down, oh say, Western. I commuteted to BSA for years when I lived in Amarillo and found it to be great. It was so easy for me to find a side street that was empty, parallel to any of the busy streets
Maybe it was because I ride so slow, stopping at Roaster's, and noodleing thru the neighborhoods. Maybe for the guys that have to hammer on the main streets at 20 mph it's more of a problem. Commuteing will be a compromise.
Good luck to the mass and I hope you have a great turn out. I've driven to Amarillo many times to be one of two or three cyclist to do an event. But I can't get behind this one. Matt
Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:59 am
Joined: Apr 19, 2005
"Add Critical Mass and let's stir some shit up"
This quote from Alex's original post is what really disturbs me. (By the way Alex, I now understand your reason for being involved, to hopefully add some order and sensibility to the thing, it just took a while for it to sink in to my thick head).
The "Mass" can only work if it's done in a responsible way. The following quote from the web blog makes me doubt that will happen........"Part of the intent of the ride is to be as much nuisance as possible within the confines of the law. Exceptions may be made for blocking should we be successful enough to need it." You mention doing the above on Polk Street. I'm sure the intoxicated happy hour crowd stumbling to thier cars will be duly impressed. Nothing like pissing off a drunk in a 4000 lb. automobile.
Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:58 pm
Joined: May 03, 2005
Amarillo has come a long way in regard to its acceptance of cyclist. However, we think everyone would agree that there is still room for improvement. OTC has worked hard since its inception to increase awareness and promote the rights of cyclist. It is the position of the OTC Board that critical mass events are not effective and should be avoided. In fact, in some cities where these events have taken place they have done more harm than good. Critical mass events are often seen as a deliberate attempt to obstruct traffic and be disruptive. These types of activities will only create further conflict and disrespect between cyclists and motorist.
The key to making the roads safer is to develop mutual respect between cyclists and motorist. We have often seen cyclists blow through stop signs or intentionally impede traffic. These actions reflect poorly on all cyclists. Cyclists deserve the respect of motorist but cyclists must respect the laws of the road and the rights of the motorist as well.
The Critical Mass Event is not supported by the OTC Board instead we encourage the promotion of bike advocacy through positive interaction with motorist and education of the community at large of the legal rights of cyclists.
Denise Fletcher, Club President
Merten Pearson, Immediate Past President
Karie Mueller, Event’s Director
Cindy Whitney, Membership Director
Michael Wilhelm, Webmaster
Kay Bingham, Treasurer
My Two Cents
Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:20 pm
Joined: Mar 04, 2005
I agree in total with the post by OTC President, Denise Fletcher and the OTC Board of Directors.
Kenneth D. Graham
Commissioner, Amarillo Traffic Commission
Amarillo is not bike friendly
Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:09 pm
Red Jersey User
Joined: Jul 23, 2008
I don't agree that Amarillo is bike friendly. Riding around town is a harrowing and frustrating experience. Not all lights don't detect me and I have to hit the pedestrian switch. If I had a trailer this would not be a reasonable solution due to the length. It can be frightening to get to great routes like the long rail trail. Unfortunately, we don't have any more of those to turn into bike routes. So, as great as that is it's a bit of a non-starter.
The three fold brochure that was in a our packet for the Old Tascosa Classic is very misleading. The loop is listed as a route when parts of it are unrideable. You can't mix 70 mph traffic with 20 mph without a physical divider. Most of the city routes are marked Bike Route - No Lanes. That just means a sign in somebody's yard. And the Bike Lane - Future is a very short list.
People park in the bike lanes all the time, because there is no enforcement and some are a joke. You would have to be crazy to ride down Bell between Plains and the overpass. There is always at least one car there and only inches of space between bikes and cars.
Can we get a safe route across the railroad tracks, better access to get on the Plains railroad trail, and better access to parks. Why aren't new housing developments like Tradewinds required to build roads wide enough for a bike lane? Most parks are near schools. What if there were bike routes connecting all the parks in town? Or all the elementary schools? That seems like a reasonable start. Or maybe a finish.
I'm trying not to mention the fanciful ideas from copenhagenize.com, new.carfreecity.us, or bike racks on buses, or the separated pedestrian/bike path I saw in Albuquerque this summer.
It would be nice to ride from Belmar to Elwood and Memorial Parks without fearing for my safety.
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