It might be hard to imagine a cyclist being a bully on the road, but when a large group of them band together, that’s exactly what some in Houston think, accusing the cyclists of breaking the law.
“They’re using their mass as a weapon for running lights. They’re using the mass to stop traffic because they can,” Ryan Ottea told KHOU-TV of the cyclists participating in the group rides.
Ottea even said some of the cyclists are his friends and he called them “punks.”
A KHOU viewer took footage of the alleged law breaking. Check it out in KHOU-TV’s report:
In the footage, the cyclists riding through a red light. Cars that should have the right of way can be heard honking. The videographer said they have “no regard.”
“I think they’re being irresponsible,” Ron Howard, who viewed the footage, said, fearing for the safety of cyclists and drivers.
The rides, which occur the last Friday of every month in the Texas city, are organized by Critical Mass.
“The Houston ride has been going on for a few years and averages anywhere from 100 – 150 riders on a good month,” the group’s website explained. “May have been more at times. Regardless of size, this ride is a collective of just about every type of bike and person. Everyone shows up to hang out and take part in one common passion, riding their bike.”
Other cities host similar Critical Mass rides as well.
Critical Mass spokesman Kyle Nielsen told KHOU he doesn’t believe the groups are using their size to break the law, although, he did say some might run a red light in order stay with the group.
“I see Critical Mass as creating a safe space. So for me, that’s the priority, not driver convenience,” Nielsen continued.
“Cars control the road 29 days out of the month, and I think a once a month ride is not unreasonable,” Nielsen told KHOU.
The Houston Police Department told the news station that officers do their best to keep car traffic moving and cyclists safe. At some intersections, police offers stand and require cyclists to stop.