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NYCLU Praises Court Decision Allowing Critical Mass Bike Rides

The New York Civil Liberties Union praised a federal decision that bars the City from shutting down a monthly bicycle ride of thousands of participants called Critical Mass. The procession of cyclists through the streets of New York can take place tonight as it has on a monthly basis for nearly 10 years. U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley encouraged the NYPD and the cyclists to agree upon a route.

“We applaud this decision and its acknowledgement of the rights of the bicyclists,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU. “The NYPD has been wrong in its recent heavy-handed crack down on Critical Mass after virtually ignoring this event for the past 10 years.

Police first made mass arrests of participants in Critical Mass just prior to the Republican National Convention in New York this past summer. The NYPD also made arrests, cut the locks and confiscated unattended bikes during last months gathering. The court has enjoined the City from seizing unattended bikes without first charging a person with a crime or issuing a summons.

“While recognizing the need to protect public safety, we urge the police to work to allow this ride to take place,” said Christopher Dunn, Associate Legal Director of the NYCLU. “It is simply not helpful for the NYPD to threaten lawful riders with arrests or to seek court injunctions against the ride, and we hope that this decision will mark a turning point in the City’s approach to the ride.”

The NYCLU also sent a letter to the City urging the court not to grant the City’s application for injunction to stop the ride.

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