A federal judge in New York City has cleared the way for the city to require bicyclists riding in large groups to obtain parade permits or risk being ticketed and arrested. The city has long struggled with how to manage rides like Critical Mass, which they say pose safety and traffic concerns as hundreds of cyclists routinely block traffic and run red lights.
The constitutionality of the cityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plan to require permits for groups of 50 or more was in question in the case that reached judge Lewis A. Kaplan, with cyclists saying that requiring permits for the group rides infringed on their First Amendment right to free speech.
Speaking to the New York Times, Mark Muschenheim, of the cityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s administrative law division, said Ã¢â‚¬Å“the policing of Critical Mass rides was not based on any attempt to infringe First Amendment rights, but rather stemmed from Critical Mass bicyclistsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ lawless behavior, which included intentionally blocking traffic, riding through red lights, and cycling the wrong way on both one-way and two-way streets.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The ruling does not just affect Critical Mass; other groups like the Five Borough Bike Club, which organizes group rides around New York, will also be affected by the ruling. No word yet on appeals being filed against the decision.