Critical Mass = Ignorant Mass
Few nights ago I was driving downtown, on my way home to cook dinner at home for my father, brother, and other friends. It was an important night for me to get everything done on schedule, and behold, I was stuck in traffic on Thurlow Street. I thought, at first, it must be an accident. I realized soon that it was not an accident, but the Critical Mass bike ride. On the last Friday of each month, these bikers get to the road and ride down in a mass of thousands in order to “raise awareness” for bikers.
Let me tell you why this is a protest that only a spoiled, self-righteous North American trash could have come up with, and why it is a complete waste of time and effort that will only worsen things for bikers and drivers together.
1. Raising awareness by blocking traffic is a bullshit concept to start with, and is for cowardly losers who cannot take direct action, but can only aggravate others. This is a ridiculous trend that I see more and more after I moved to Canada. From bullshit charities such as the 30 hr famine, or “run for [blah blah]“, all this is simply a marketing scam to help people feel self-righteous while corporations leech on the wanna-be good will of people to market themselves as “Socially Responsible”. It does not take a 30 hour famine fest to send aid to Africa – you can just do it. And getting more bike lanes in the city is achieved by means of lobbying the City Hall, and lobbying ICBC to promote more education on bike/car/road safety, rules, and courtesy. The real action takers in this world, who want to see a change, will take proactive means such as entering the world of politics, or speaking up to an MP or an MLA and influencing their votes, as well as publish studies and suggest realistic ways to make things work.
However, the lazy hippies, the self-righteous middle class, or the aggressive yet unsuccessful thuggish portestors are the losers that set out on the street to cause ruckus, and they think that their method of “raising awareness” is some kind of a noble democratic process, when in reality, is a cry for attention and a mere action to make oneself feel involved and important, due to lack of such acknowledgment from other aspect of their lives.
There are more practical, less disruptive, and realistic ways to achieve real change, especially in a civilized country like Canada. If you were in a country like Iran where the government and police force is actually used to rig election results and suppress the freedom of the people, that’s when a civil protest on the street is something that is acceptable. But seriously, while on the other side of the world, people are out on to the streets for freedom of speech and democracy – and we have morons who block traffic for some fucking bike lanes. Grow up and see the bigger picture!
2. The roads were built for cars to begin with, and cars will ALWAYS remain the main method of transportation. So shut the fuck up about “cars get the road to themselves the rest of the month, so it’s OK for us to take it for one short afternoon.” Get with the system, and accept it. I support bike commuting to save on gas, but it’s still an “alternative” and it will never become mainstream. Why? Time is the most precious resource, and I, for one, could NEVER justify getting to my destination slower by taking a bike. Amount of $$$ spent on gas is not important, and soon enough more cars will be hybrid/electric so I frankly don’t care, nor do I think that the measly amount of gas burnt by our cars makes that much of an impact anyways. Also, I do not want to be drenched in rain, or soaked in sweat, when I arrive to my meeting. Even if I had a 9-5 job, I will NOT justify spending extra time and effort to take a shower when I get to work, like some bikers encourage. That is a very unrealistic waste of time in a normal person’s life and it decreases productivity.
Relying on transit to be on time is not an option as long as I can afford a car, and as much as I support use of transit and occasionally do take the skytrain, I don’t consider transit users to be any “better” than me. Transit is a choice I make based on time calculation – if I have to hit Surrey on a Friday afternoon, I’d probably take transit/taxi in a combination to save time. However, transit can never be my main method of transport, as I am quite busy and demanded for with my business needs, meetings, errands, and purchasing/carrying goods. My time is way too precious, and so is many other peoples’. I cannot justify getting into a vehicle that will make a stop every other block for everybody else. If I need to go from point A to B, my time should not be wasted on any other stops (except for picking up a bite), unless the circumstances call for taking the train/bus/aquabus(on False Creek) instead of transit.
Cars are larger, heavier, stronger, steadier than bikes. Putting aside all qualms about bikers’ rights and drivers’ rights, it makes more logical and safe sense to put cars as the priority entities on a road, and have the bikes work around it most of the time. Cars are also faster than bikes. If bikes became the main entity of the road, it would slow down traffic so much that the gas savings slip away as the cars idle for longer as they travel at slower paces. It’s not that I do not respect bikers’ rights – but because I care for their safety, I will say this – the cars HAVE to remain the main entity of the streets. Bikes should be limited to where there is enough space and room on the shoulder, or where there are designated bike lanes. Even then, the bikers need to exercise caution and defensive riding for their own safety. It’s easy to miss a bike coming up a blind spot.
3. Just because you ride a bike and save gas doesn’t make you “better” than the drivers. When I see bikers on the streets in general, some of the more hardcore ones seem to display this attitude of “I’m on a bicycle and I’m saving the planet, so I’m more important than you.” attitude. That is such a load of bullshit. It’s merely a choice, and it doesn’t make you any better than me cause I drive all the time. It’s a personal choice. Besides, most of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that cause global warming are not spat out from cars, but mostly, from coal generators, animal waste from the excessive amount of cattle we raise on crap food, and industrial gasses from factories. Especially with the new gas efficient vehicles coming around, the impact of cars is actually diminishing rapidly. Before you start criticizing how much gas I burn with my Honda, take action against the Amazon rain forests that are rapidly disappearing. If you can’t, then accept that you cannot take any major action, so just keep recycling.
Much of this attitude is actually seeded from class warfare – the people who cannot afford a car, and are stuck with bikes, seem to have this resent towards the yuppies downtown who can afford nice cars. They’ve achieved it. If anything, give them the proper respect that successful people deserve. I’d rather be in an Audi than on a bicycle any day.
4. Just because the police, and our moron mayor Robertson, is tolerating the Critical Mass, doesn’t mean it’s OK to do it. I stopped one of the girls who were riding in the Critical Mass and I asked her how she feels about the fact that she’s ruined my evening plans by holding me back, and that blocking the street from others is illegal. This dumb bitch replied “Well, the mayor seems to turn a blind eye to it, and the cops don’t stop us so..” Just because the Vancouver Police are instructed to let this by, partially because they do not have the resources to beat and arrest all those losers, does not mean it’s morally OK. If you’re the pinhead bitch who said that to me (I was in a brand new Civic with a Sunroof, and you were riding into an alley off Burrard street, north of Robson), get some maturity and logic and a sense of right and wrong in your head. Idiot people like you are the exact reason why these self-righteous idiots can stampede on the street at the expense of others’ precious times.
5. It’s not about Us vs Them, but it seems that many people are turning this into a class warfare situation. When I expressed my frustration and engaged in a conversation on Twitter with a fellow named @Scotty_Robinson, one of his replies was “I do feel for those on the buses.” Even though he had trouble spelling the more complicated words such as “patience” and “ridiculous” (and they call me ESL!), he still managed to convey his views to me. Feel for those on buses but not in cars? What kind of ignorant statement is that? How does one deserve frustration more simply because he is in a car rather than a bus? If anything, the people who take buses should expect delays, as it is a public transit method. But, as I mentioned, this mentality of segregating the transit takers and bike riders as the “better” ones is such an outrageous view of this. There have been reports of angry exchanges between motorists and Critical Mass pinheads where the argument spiraled into “I’m going to ruin your fun cause you’re a yuppie strutting around in your brand new BMW.” This really is turning into a class warfare… which is ridiculous. I’ve lived in Korea. That’s a place where there can be some class warfare. In North America, as far as I’m concerned, there’s so many chances to become wealthy and successful. Of course, most people somehow seem to just sit there and blame rich people for being rich and greedy, while deep inside, they’re merely jealous of such things. And many people in the Critical Mass seem to have that sentiment of envy, covered up by aggression and civil disobedience. The phrase “Rebel Without a Cause” comes to mind.
Keeping up that attitude by “messing things up for the drivers”, and all you do is alienate yourselves from the rest. Remember that you’re a minority that is trying to beg for more bike lanes, and pissing off the rest of the city won’t do it. This Critical Mass has been proven in surveys to be turning more motorists off from the idea of more bike lanes. Know your place as the minority stakeholder on your bikes on the roads.
To summarize – if you’re a bike rider who cannot afford a car, or pay for gas and insurance, turn the jealousy around. Show some respect and awe for those who have achieved it, and review your life to see what you can change to join that realm. Or you can later retire with a measly pension and bitch about unions, governments, republicans, the Federal Reserve, and everything else until the day you croak at the end of your miserable and measly appearance on the planet earth which was filled with complaining and blaming the system the whole time. And remember that our society in Canada is a far more civilized one so that you don’t have to block traffic and cause inconvenience to people in order to get something done. There’s more proper ways than to simply go against the establishment cause it feels cool to do it. Grow up.
You’re probably reading this thinking I’m a right-wing capitalist asshole, and I’m totally fine with it. I just expressed my frustration against the whole Critical Mass thing, along with my frustration and anger towards all other forms of civil disobedience that is totally not necessary and has no merit. My Friday plans were quite delayed thanks to this pointless protest that I have every right to be angry.