[dc-critmass-list] snowfall makes for poor bikeriding [or maybe i'm just a
poor bike rider]
lukekuhn at hotmail.com
Thu Dec 5 19:07:50 EST 2002
As for the snow, fit wider tires for the duration if you are on a road bike
or hybrid. I have ridden in 8" of snow for short periods with hybrid tires
fitted. Also, there is a reason some people take off at the first sign of
attack-these rides have not accomplished enough to justify accepting a risk
of arrest, especially on a night where people have other plans.
I think the best response to police attack in a small or medium size ride
would be to scatter and regroup at a pre-chosen point to continue the ride.
If the group is small it is too easy for cops to grab someone anytime the
bikes are stopped. If there is a road-rager, by comparison, he should be
surrounded if he has done damage until we get at least an apology. If a cop
has already grabbed someone he should be surrounded, but if he does not have
anyone captured it is safest to evade. Best way is to charge through heavy
traffic-and that's why the rides should avoid empty streets unless we ride
in such a way that the cops disengage-and assuming they don't make trouble
Overall, I think in the regular rides we should avoid confrontations with
cops as we aren't getting enough done to justify the risks. If the cops
insist an starting things, we should evade. If the ride as a whole will not
or cannot evade, than people should not hesitate to get out. The exception,
of course, is if someone is trapped, arrested, or injured. In that
circumstance it is more dangerous to leave them behind.
The time I had to go back through the ride to avoid a cop, he had directly
threatened me after I tried to keep him from getting to the light first and
cutting us off. Once threatened directly, I could not risk him jumping out
and grabbing before I could reaccelerate, and he had the path forward
blocked. Once rolling, I could either go back through the ride or STOP to
get up on the sidewalk. This was the time the rest of the ride had to evade
onto 18th street.
A better solution, as I have said before, would have been if we were all
practiced in emergency group maneuvers, such as the "fleet battle turn"
adopted from naval warfare in which every ship(or in this case every bike)
turns around simultaniously. It takes practice to do this without getting
collisions, but it allows everybody to escape traps befopre the opposition
can even react.
As things have stood, after that time last summer dodging a chopper and
about 7 cop cars, I have had to treat every ride as a dangerous combat
operation, and I cannot justify participating for so little gain unless I
can get out under fire. Only when a ride has some serious political
objective(like last April or during the People's Strike) are such risks
acceptable to me.
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