The Bicycle as a Vehicle of Protest
Bicycles are powerful things—inexpensive, versatile tools that can be used by dissenters to sneak up and speed off, to organize and mobilize and elude.
The N.Y.P.D. has a long history of hostility to cyclists, especially cyclists who are also left-leaning activists. For years, police have used questionable, sometimes violent tactics to sweep up participants in Critical Mass, the guerilla group rides that aim to promote cyclists’ rights. In 2010, a former N.Y.P.D. officer received a felony conviction for body-slamming a Critical Mass rider and filing a false criminal complaint in an attempt to frame the cyclist. That same year, the city agreed to pay a settlement of nearly a million dollars to eighty-three Critical Mass riders who had been wrongly detained or arrested between 2004 and 2006.