Cleveland Critical Mass bicyclists surprised with traffic citations at monthly ride

CLEVELAND - At least three bicyclists were ticketed during the monthly Cleveland Critical Mass ride Friday, May 30.

Critical Mass meets monthly for bicycle rides throughout Cleveland. Friday's event had 666 riders, according to the group's Facebook page, and though the group regularly "corks" intersections — blocking it to allow the whole group to pass at once, even if the stoplight turns red — no one remembers a ticket being issued in years.

"What's the city's real position on Critical Mass?" asked Jacob Van Sickle, Executive Director of Bike Cleveland. "Some months they provide an escort for critical mass, other months, like this last Friday, they're issuing tickets."

Some cyclists argue that corking and allowing the group to stay together lessens inconvenience to car traffic — keeping the line of hundreds of cyclists together makes it smaller.

"This month it was a little disturbing to us that at one intersection waving us through a red light and at another we had a group of officers writing citations for doing the same thing," said Critical Mass cyclist James Little.

Cleveland Police told NewsChannel5 that there was a home Indians game Friday night, and that they would be happy to communicate with Critical Mass to clear up any issues.

They also released a statement on their website,  in part: 

A portion of the May 30th event took riders through downtown Cleveland during early evening traffic, including vehicular and pedestrian traffic for citizens attending a Cleveland Indians home game. During the critical mass event there were 3 bicyclists ticketed by members of Division of Police Bureau of Traffic enforcement for a red light violation. While participating in the event, these riders failed to obey traffic signals and created a hazardous situation for themselves, motor vehicle operators and pedestrians. While we welcome and encourage the participants of this event, we remind them that the traffic laws must be obeyed by all in order to ensure traffic safety for all.

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