There has been a little back-and-forth in the letters page of the Athens Banner-Herald about the Critical Mass bicycle rides. Leslie Bacastow said that the latest event was promoting anarchy; Justing Manglitz responded that the writer should have "empathy" with cyclists and that anarchy is misunderstood.
Let's tell it like it is: When cyclists ride through red lights, alone or en masse, they are breaking the law (assuming no parade permit and police escort). If the Critical Mass rides are a response to "rude or aggressive drivers," then they are only a childish tit-for-tat response. They are an act of civil disobedience. The old saying is that two wrongs don't make a right.
The Critical Mass is a different event than the Courteous Mass organized by the Bike Athens group. "These rides are different from Critical Mass in that they follow a planned route and follow state traffic laws," says their web site (emphasis added). Perhaps the Critical Mass should be called the Discourteous Mass. None of these "masses," of course, have anything to do with a celebration of the Eucharist.