Volume 76, Number 49 | May 2 -8, 2007

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

At left, transit police at Union Square last Friday questioned a Critical Mass rider on whether he paid his fare. He had. At right, Critical Mass cyclists boarded a Downtown express train.

Critical Mass transit for cyclists

By Jefferson Siegel

Last Friday’s Critical Mass riders made use of their wheels, ingenuity and MetroCards. After several dozen cyclists assembled in Union Square, many wearing copies of the Constitution with the words “My/Our Permit,” they quietly marched down the stairs of the Union Square subway station. There was a frenzy of MetroCard swiping as cyclists lifted their bikes over turnstiles. Transit police stopped several riders, claiming they had entered without paying the fare. Ultimately, only one cyclist was given a summons for nonpayment of fare and allowed to proceed.

They took the Downtown Lexington Avenue express train. Several got off at the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall station, then got back on, prompting the train conductor to announce over the loudspeaker, “You got to make up your mind where you want to go.” They got off at the next stop, Fulton St.

Mounting their bikes, they pedaled down Broadway to Battery Park, up the West Side Highway and through the West and East Village. For the first time in recent memory, police did not escort or chase the ride.

The only incident occurred before the ride started when cyclist Jamie Favaro was riding up Fourth Ave. en route to Union Square. While pedaling up the bike lane, she was sideswiped by a car. Favaro said the driver lowered her window and asked, “Why aren’t you in the bike lane?” and continued without stopping. Favaro was not injured.

“It’s one of those things that happens to bikes every day,” she said.


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