Volume 74, Number 20 | September 15 - 21 , 2004

Critical Mass to regroup for ride

A spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney on Tuesday said people whose bikes were confiscated during the Republican National Convention will be able to get them back. Barbara Thompson said the D.A.’s office will start photographing the bikes tomorrow for arrest evidence and that the bikers will be able to pick them up from the police by the end of the week.

Of the more than 1,800 protester arrests during the convention, about 410 were of bike riders, according to Brandon Neubauer, R.N.C. organizer for Time’s Up!, a nonprofit, environmental group advocating bike use.

“Bikers were really targeted,” he said. “It was obviously politically motivated, even though Bloomberg was telling people to ride bikes to ease congestion.”

A total of 264 biker arrests came on the Friday night before the convention, when Critical Mass was holding its monthly ride.

The Critical Mass rides never encountered problems with the police before, according to Neubauer. Last August for example, there were 1,200 people on the ride. On this Aug. 27, however, there were 6,000 to 7,000 riders, stretching 20 blocks and running red lights and blocking car traffic. Police made arrests at several points along the route, including W. 14th St. and on Second Ave.

The test will be later this month on Sept. 24, when Critical Mass will gather at Union Sq. and attempt to ride again, he said.

“We’re defending the Mass. It’s always at Union Sq. N., the last Friday of every month. And it’ll be that way for the next 50 or 100 years. Bikes aren’t going anywhere.”

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