Thousands of cyclists celebrate Critical Mass

September 29, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Critical Mass celebrations continue throughout the weekend in more than 300 cities worldwide as bicyclists celebrate two decades of pushing for cyclist's rights. There's a ride tomorrow in San Francisco from 16th and Valencia to Ocean Beach.

On Friday night, 6,000 bicyclists rode through San Francisco during rush hour. The ride started at Justin Herman Plaza along the Embarcadero. The throngs of cyclists - moved about the city in aimless celebration, while drivers could do nothing but sit and wait.

For drivers, it was utter frustration. At Market and Van Ness, ABC7 saw one rider reach into car and tussle with the driver. Other people at the scene then pulled the bicyclist away from her.

San Francisco police closely monitored the ride. At one point an officer told drivers to be patient, saying, "It happens once a month. It happens to be the 20th anniversary so it's probably worse tonight than others."

There were moments of politeness, with some riders clearing an intersection to let the cars through.

While later in the night, at Van Ness and Market, a large crowd rode around in circles and then held up their bikes in victory

Some drivers just took it all in stride, with one telling ABC7 News, "Its' part of living in the city, I love it. If I had a bike I'd be right with them."

There were a lot of demonstrations in the city's Mission District. At 18th and Valencia a splinter group of about 200 riders "occupied" the intersection by riding in circles through several traffic light changes.

Some drivers were frustrated but they kept their cool by simply backing away from the intersection.

All in all, cyclists and drivers ABC7 spoke with say they thought the anniversary ride went off pretty well...

"The riders were really peaceful," San Francisco resident Susan Conrad said. "I thought the drivers were really peaceful. We really pulled it together to make it a really positive ride

Palo Alto resident Monica Vu added, "There were some people who got out of their cars and waved and honked in delight, so I don't think it was too bad. I think if you got stuck and you didn't know, I'd feel really bad."

And San Francisco resident Dean Cormier said, "I've lived here for a year and I was waiting to run into something like this. I think it's pretty cool."

San Francisco police confirm there were no arrests

If you don't already have it, now might be a good time to download the Waze traffic app -- exclusive to ABC7 News. It's available on iTunes and Google play and you can use it to guide you around the congestion.


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