Thursday, February 18, 2010

Before the parade ... wheels by

I left New York so I wouldn't have to deal with its problems. But sometimes, like a few ex-boyfriends, they follow me.

A ruling by a NYC judge that the cycling activist group Critical Mass needs to get "parade permits" for their monthly mass bike ride may effect SF law, according to SFist and the SF Examiner.

A judge ruled Tuesday that New York City can force groups of 50 people or more on bicycles to get a parade permit, a process known to be cumbersome.

The legal battle stemmed from a clash between cyclists and police in 2004 during the Republican National Convention in which hundreds of bicyclists were arrested for alleged unruly behavior.

After the incident, the New York City Police Department sought stricter enforcement on Critical Mass, a group cycling event that clogs up busy city roadways on the last Friday evening of every month. The event started in San Francisco in 1992 and is now mimicked in cities around the world.

See? It's the Republicans' fault. Will it happen in SF or other cities?

Last month, police Chief George Gascón expressed dissatisfaction with the bike protest, saying he had been fielding complaints from drivers and bicyclists since becoming chief in August. The Police Department launched a review of the event, he said.

Mayor Gavin Newsom has repeatedly cautioned that the potential backlash from a major crackdown would not be worth the hassle.

The Mayor’s Office “hasn’t had a chance to review the [New York City] ruling to decide if it would apply here or whether we would even want it to,” Newsom press secretary Tony Winnicker said Tuesday.

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