Critical Mass Leaders Working To Make Ride Less Intrusive

The leaders of Houston's Critical Mass bicycle ride say they're working to make their event less intrusive to motorists who often get stuck waiting for hundreds of cyclists to pass.

Critical Mass riders meet at Market Square downtown on the last Friday of each month for a ride through different parts of the city. As the event has grown to more than 1000 cyclists, frustration has also grown among motorists who say the riders don’t obey traffic laws.

Ride organizer Hector Garcia was a guest on Houston Matters with Craig Cohen and says it’s not easy to get everyone stopped for  every light. 

“When you have that big of a mass moving through a light, it’s almost impossible to stop everyone or cut that mass in half so that we can obey the red light traffic law. Our goal when we’re moving through the street in that large of a mass is to just get in and get out as fast as we can.”

Garcia and co-organizer Matulu Kafele say they’re working with the Houston Police Department to find ways to alleviate the disruption. Kafele says Critical Mass does stop at times to allow motorists to get through traffic lights. 

“Let’s say someone waits three cycles at a light. At that point the ride is kind of strung out, we’ll stop. We’ll let the cars go and we’ll mass up and that way we can take a count of how many more riders we have and that way we can get ready for the next movement I call it. Then when we get the green, we go and sometimes when we stop, we’ll let the cars go over cycles.”

The next Critical Mass ride is set for Friday at 7 pm. HPD says right now it’s encouraging riders to voluntarily obey traffic laws.

If that doesn’t work, officers will begin enforcing those laws. 


Here’s the full Houston Matters interview: