Posts Tagged ‘Bikers

Critical Mass

10, نوفمبر 2010

What: Critical Mass is a bicycling event usually held on the last Friday of the month in over 300 different cities in the world.  The bike ride lasts as long as an individual participant wants. While the group keeps moving, people are welcome to break away when feeling fatigued.  The goal of this event is for bikers to ride as one critical mass, a unified body unimpeded by any red lights and stop signs they encounter.   

Why: This event was founded in 1992 in San Francisco to draw attention to the hostility the city drivers showed towards bicyclists. Critical Mass is not meant to be a protest or demonstration event, but it is seen as a celebration and gathering of city bikers seeking road rights and visibility.  

Who: All bikers are encouraged to join.  In Atlanta, 445 bikers participated in October 2010. The participation in cities range from 20 to an impressive 10,000 participants in Budapest.  

Notes and Rationale: The design and fluidity of Atlanta’s Critical Mass exudes simplicity.  Without much prior planning, besides a location and time to meet, the event flows smoothly with participants looking out for one another and maintaining the cohesion of the group.  Although surrounding cars honk impatiently, participants have learned to use the corking technique in which some bikers sit in front of the cars with green lights to let the remaining mass of bikers pass through the intersection. In an urban, fast-paced event there is always the risk of injury and accidents, so some participants have taken it upon themselves to wear rollerblades.  The rollerblades give individuals ease and flexibility to move among bikes and provide assistance if needed.   The event’s design is rooted in the collaboration of its participants in regards to everything from the route of the bike ride to facilitating safety. An uncomplicated design like Critical Mass that coordinates such a large group of people emphasizes how the most effective structure can be one that is straightforward and simple.

Negotiations:

(1)The bikers among themselves– communication and collaboration

(2) The bikers and government– the right to run lights and stop signs, the right to use passive-aggressive ways to draw attention

(3) Bikers and motorists– positive attention and negative feedback

(4) Bikers and pedestrians– new conflict created due to biker vs. driver conflict

(5) Critical Mass event structure and RAND Corporation– The RAND Corporation produced a report “What Next for Networks and Netwars?” which analyzes the structure of the ride, evaluating the decentralized decision-making for military battlefield use.  

(6) Bikers and non-participating bikers- creation of “Critical Manners” and “Courteous Mass” (bike events that stop at lights and stop signs)

Taxonomic Categories: Urban Outreach Design, Community Cooperation Design, Community-based design, Mass Collaboration Design, Government Attention-drawing Design, Safety-promoting Design


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