Editorial in today's NY Times re: Critical Mass

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Anonymous's picture

Here is the link to an editorial in today's (12/29/06) NY Times about Critical Mass:

Anonymous's picture
Jersey Guy (not verified)
And the problem with this editorial is?

"I think the Times got it just about right. The cops' overreaction to Critical Mass rides is ridiculous, but cyclists who ignore traffic laws and menace pedestrians aren't winning two-wheeled vehicles any sympathy. And somebody please explain how ""corking"" the streets accomplishes anything other than ticking everybody else off."

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Bete noire

"Here's the problem: This kind of misrepresentation inflames people's prejudices and blinds them to the reality of what's going on in front of their noses.

I have never seen pedestrians (or drivers) get as irrantionally angry toward bicyclists on a Critical Mass ride as I have seen in the course of a normal day. The idea that corking pisses people off to some extreme degree is just plain wrong.

On my daily bike rides since the New Yorker article was published, I've noticed pedestrians becoming increasingly threatening toward me, a short woman just riding along minding my own business. Jaywalkers in the middle of the street have screamed at me as I progressed on the green. People have stepped off the curb looking straight at me, expecting me -- against the laws of physics -- to stop a dime to avoid hitting them. ""You should have brakes,"" one guy in Chinatown said to me last week. Uh, I have front and rear brakes and I was clearly grabbing both of them as I slid past him and his stupid companion.

Last week, I stopped biking into work because pedestrians had gotten so aggressive over the holiday party season. I have been afraid for my life.

Obviously, some bicyclists behave very badly toward others in this city. We see it in the park, we see it on the streets, we see it on NYCC group rides. (Yup!) But the fact is, the vast majority of cyclists do not behave in this manner.

So it is truly bizarre how cyclists have been made into the bete noire of the New York collective unconscious -- above and beyond auto traffic that kills and injures hundreds of people a year. Or over the Iraq War. Or over global warming, which is clearly going to do us in.

It's also disappointing to see cyclists blinded by the same stereotypes. (Since you're a Jersey guy, are your views based on experience or media accounts?)

If you want to mount a campaign to educate cyclists (and others) about courtesy, make that your focus. But Critical Mass is just being used as a scapegoat, absorbing city dwellers' free-floating rage in the absence of responsible public policy."

Anonymous's picture
Jersey Guy (not verified)
I wasn't singling out Critical Mass as the problem

Hello Carol,

Not that it should matter to this discussion, but I am a big fan of your posts, which I find witty and perceptive, even if I don't always agree with your opinions.

It wasn't my intent to imply that Critical Mass riders are the problem. I meant cyclists as a whole bear some responsibility. Anyone who takes a step off the curb in Midtown knows that cyclists may appear at any time, at any speed, in any direction. Delivery people seem to be especially oblivious of the pedestrian world, but I've seen some recreational and/or commuter riders act just as crazily.

I have never been at a Critical Mass ride and, for all I know, everybody there may behave themselves quite decently. I have read news accounts of their rides and abhor the excessive show of police force that apparently takes place. But cyclists in general have earned some of their bad reputation in the city. And I don't think, as a group, we take enough responsibility collectively for this fact, even if we individually may not be to blame.

I also detect sometimes a holier than thou attitude among cyclists who post on this board and elsewhere, who seem to think they can ignore laws, but expect pedestrians, runners, skaters, etc., to obey them.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)

Thank you for the compliment, and for clarifying your perspective. The Times's focus is on CM specifically, so this takes the discussion in a new direction.

I would of course agree that cyclists who don't do so already, need to behave more responsibly. The world has enough jerks already. The bike clubs can help to get that message across, and perhaps the NYCC will be considering this topic in 2007.

Of course, plenty of cyclists don't belong to a club. But how we behave on the streets affects people around us. I have ridden alongside people on the street who cooled their heels a little bit after seeing me slow and signal around cars.

And despite their bad reputation, I don't find deliverymen to be universally evil. Just last night, I calmed down riding next to a Chinese deliverymen taking the traffic in stride, as if this were Beijing-on-Hudson.

Anonymous's picture
RichardFernandez (not verified)

Oh yeah I see what your saying.The same trick was used by the tabloids and the negative media directed towards local 100 members for years!The gullable non thinkers gobble it up without even really thinking about it mainly because of what they read in some newspaper,problem is is that people in many cases fail to seperate facts from emotions,also people are like sheep and do whatever the masses do, the negative media blitz can be an effective tool for some in power but if we pay attention we can understand why it is occuring.Not to mention that the chairman of the mta is a former or part owner of the new york post.NYC is a very political place,this is where the money is and this is where the power is so any trick in the book is to be used.

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)
I'm with Jersey Guy

I also think the Times editorial got it right and I don't see where there is any misrepresentation. The fact is, I have rarely seen food delivery cyclists pay even the slightest attention to traffic laws like stop signs, red lights, one way streets, not riding on sidewalks, etc. Bike Messengers as well and yes, even us roadies often act with total disregard toward others on the road or pedestrians. As far as CM, yes, the police response is ridiculous but as a cyclist, I feel these rides while gratifying for the participants, end up hurting the public perception of all cyclists. I agree with the Times that ride leaders should work with the police to chart a route and allow officers to stop traffic for them. Would doing that really destroy the purpose of CM?

Yes, drivers and pedestrians commit their own variety of sins but justifying our behavior by their behavior is a poor way to make a point. I commute to work most days. Whether it's acting as if red lights don't exist or ignoring one way street signs or worse, the majority of cyclists I see do ride in an irresponsible manner. I don't think we can do much to change the behavior of drivers and pedestrians without taking a good hard look at our own behavior.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Separate issues

"The Times editorial concerns Critical Mass specifically. Concerns raised on this board, by Jersey Guy and others elsewhere, have critiqued the conduct of city cyclists generally. For the sake of clarity, let's keep the issues separate.

1) The Times editorial argues for detente between cyclists and the NYPD, as it has done before. But this time it does so out of fatigue. We are tired of the conflict, it implies.

But the Times gets some significant facts wrong -- such as the size of the rides, which haven't numbered in the ""thousands"" since the RNC in 2004. When I went at Halloween, there weren't more than 200 cyclists, and they were hardly out of control. From what I could see, the police were more of a threat to public safety than the cyclists were.

More significantly, the paper also neglects mention that the rides have been deemed by federal judges to be acts of speech and assembly protected under the First Amendment. (There have been a number of court cases--I believe it was the first case argued in federal court.) Would the Times urge citizens to acquiesce in the pursuit of justice for civil rights violations, or unjust prosecution of war, or illegal detention of prisoners? Why should harmless cyclists give up our right to assembly?

Is the blocking of random intersections for a few minutes each, during one to two hours a month, really an endangerment of public safety? If so, what about the cars blocking intersections and harassing pedestrians and cyclists the other 718 hours per month?

Tom, I would agree with you that ""two wrongs don't make a right."" If I thought that was what Critical Mass rides were about, I wouldn't support them. But the rides are about many things for many people -- including the right of cyclists simply to be in the road.

The problems posed by the NYC traffic situation are thick and thorny, though not intractable. Critical Mass cyclists are taking more than their share of heat for traffic congestion fatigue, because they are simply forcing the issue.

A lot of possible solutions are on the table right now, and with a year left on the Mayor's term and a sympathetic new governor, now is the time to push for change. The Times may be overwhelmed by legal harassment from the Bush administration. But now is not the time for it to abandon citizen activists.

2) People on this board seem more interested at present in critiquing our own cycling habits. Certainly we can all strive to be better people and cyclists at any time. But let's not internalize too much -- some of the bad press really may not be deserved.

Tom, I am surprised to hear how bad most cyclists behave in your neck of the woods, which I assume is the UWS. Is it neighborhood, or time of day, that accounts for the difference in our experiences? I am cycling from Midtown to South Ferry daily at 8-9am, and home between 5-8pm.

What do you think should be done about it?

Maybe I miss the thickest periods of bike congestion. But what I see on my drive times, whether on the East or West side, is not too bad. If I see someone threaten a pedestrian gratuitously, I say something to them.

The worst delivery-cyclist behavior I see is on 3rd Ave. northbound above 23rd St.--in the past a lot of wrong-way riding in the evening. But lately it has been less brazen, and more wrong-way riders are getting off to the side when I'm coming toward them.


To get closer to the truth, even if anecdotally, it would be interesting to hear from more people.

In fact, in the next couple of weeks, I will be sending out a survey to cyclists to ask about your experiences cycling in New York. The survey will be included in an exhibition to take place in May. More details to come -- I hope all NYCCers"

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)

Riding home on Amsterdam Ave. between 6:00 and 8:00pm is a veritable anthology of cyclist law breaking, mainly by food delivery riders. I don't like to stereotype but that's my honest observation. I couldn't begin to count how many delivery guys I see riding south on Amsterdam as I'm riding north with traffic. The side streets on the UWS? fuggetaboudit'. I think the rule is, as long as they only ride one way, it doesn't matter which way. And just 2 nights ago, I was almost run down by a delivery guy on the sidewalk!! It's not like we just passed, he came straight for me. On the sidewalk!!

Let's not even talk about midtown, anything goes there. Here messengers are more of the problem, they never met a red light they would stop at, even when there is heavy traffic in the intersections. And if the intersections are gridlocked, many ride in little circles in the crosswalk until the they see an opening to get through the intersection so they don't have to put their foot down.

As far as CM, I've never been on a ride or seen one in person but I have seen videos of some that participants have put up on Youtube and the like. Sure looks unsafe to me. Regardless though, I still don't see how working with the police would undercut any of the things the ride is supposed to accomplish. And wouldn't the public perception of CM improve if they did reach out to the PD to help make the rides as safe as possible?

Anonymous's picture
Mark Loftis (not verified)


I agree with Tom and Jersey Guy. In my opinion the Times editorial is a balanced statement of support for Critical Mass and the rights of cyclists. Your criticisms of the editorial and the posts in this thread astound me.

In the response to Jersey Guy you write: “This kind of misrepresentation inflames people's prejudices and blinds them to the reality of what's going on in front of their noses.” I’m not sure if you’re referring to a misrepresentation by Jersey Guy or a misrepresentation in the Times editorial. Here is what Jersey Guy wrote about corking: “And somebody please explain how ""corking"" the streets accomplishes anything other than ticking everybody else off.” Here’s your response: “I have never seen pedestrians (or drivers) get as irrantionally angry toward bicyclists on a Critical Mass ride as I have seen in the course of a normal day. The idea that corking pisses people off to some extreme degree is just plain wrong.”
I have two issues with your response. First, it seems to me that you’re misrepresenting what Jersey Guy states by implying that “ticking everybody off” implies irrational and extreme anger. Second, I’ve attended only one CM ride and I can’t think of another cycling experience where I’ve seen more angry drivers and angry cyclists. There were many honking horns as well as rude gestures and profanities exchanged between the drivers and the CM riders corking the streets. If I experienced this kind of behavior on a daily basis I wouldn’t dare ride a bike. And I never want to ride with the cyclists who were deliberately provoking the drivers. Their behavior is one reason I haven’t been to another CM ride and one reason why I think the New York CM rides do more harm than good. My experience with CM occurred prior to the August 2004 ride. Perhaps CM cyclists are better behaved now and I should attend another ride.

You also write: “But the Times gets some significant facts wrong --…” You then cite exactly one fact that you claim the Times got wrong. However, it’s your own reading of the editorial that is wrong. If you read the editorial more carefully you’ll see that the “thousands” of riders that the Times mentions in the first paragraph is a reference to Critical Mass riders worldwide. The New York CM ride isn’t referenced until the second paragraph of the editorial. And the final sentence of the second paragraph makes the same point that you do – that the police are more dangerous than the cyclists. Perhaps that’s something that Jersey Guy, Tom, you, the Times and I can all agree on!

And finally, in your response to Jersey Guy you write: “So it is truly bizarre how cyclists have been made into the bete noire of the New York collective unconscious -- above and beyond auto traffic that kills and injures hundreds of people a year. Or over the Iraq War. Or over global warming, which is clearly going to do us in.” What is truly bizarre is that you could write the above statement and expect to have anyone take you seriously. Especially in light of the Times editorial that criticizes NYPD's proposed parade law and suggests that the NYPD make preventing cycling deaths a higher priority.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)


You're right, I misread the number, but it doesn't affect the basis for my opinion. The editorial indulges in hyperbole to conjure a monolithic, conspiratorial obstruction of streets. This hyperbole is the misrepresentation I referred to.

You clearly misread my ""bete noire"" comment. It concerns general attitudes toward cycling. It does not refer to the editorial. I don't disagree that the editorial may be more weighted to resolving the NYPD conflict in cyclists' favor.

My beef with the editorial has to do with the mischaracterization of the cyclists involved in CM. It exhorts ""ordinary"" cyclists to shun Critical Massers, in essence -- and the call has already been taken up elsewhere on this board.

In my view, the Times's effort to persuade cyclists verges on moral coercion. People should be able to act on their conscience. Supposedly that is what distinguishes our free society from the less desirable alternatives.

Yes, I saw the typo in ""irrationally."" I didn't see any reason to take the time to correct an error that wouldn't interfere with a reasonable reader's ability to understand my meaning.


Anonymous's picture
Mark Loftis (not verified)


Point taken about the misspelling. (Especially after seeing an error in my post.) I’ve removed the offending notation from my comment.

I assumed all along that the “bete noire” comment concerned general attitudes towards cyclists so I think I interpreted your comment as you intended. I mentioned the Times editorial in my post because Jersey Guy was commenting on the editorial in his post. My interpretation is that Jersey Guy and the editorial writer agree with you that preventing cycling deaths is a better priority for NYPD than chasing CM cyclists with scooters and helicopters and rewriting regulations about what constitutes a parade. As such, I think it was unfair of you to accuse Jersey Guy of being one of the masses who (unconsciously) see cyclists as a bigger problem than auto traffic, the Iraq War, and global warming.

Jersey Guy aside, here is the more important point. If you assert that the public is more worried about problem cyclists than the Iraq War or global warming, then you will be taken seriously only by an extreme fringe of the cycling community. And that would be a loss for the New York cycling community.

Anonymous's picture
Rich Conroy (not verified)
Cyclists rights vs. corking intersections

"Carol wrote:
Is the blocking of random intersections for a few minutes each, during one to two hours a month, really an endangerment of public safety? [snip]
But the [CM] rides are about many things for many people -- including the right of cyclists simply to be in the road.

Carol, in one paragraph you seem to rationalize or minimize corking intersections. In the next paragraph you claim that CM is partly about the right of cyclists to be in the road.

There's a contradiction here. A basic CM motto is ""We are traffic."" So how does corking an intersection, basically denying other road users the right of way, enhance cyclists' rights to use the roads? Corking an intersection is not traffic.

Unfortunately, the long standoff b/t CM & NYPD is doing nothing to enhance cyclists' rights. Pointing out all the wrongs committed by NYPD (or routinely by drivers) should not blind us to how CM is also part of the problem.

One poster here asked why CM couldn't work with NYPD to enhance cyclists rights. A nice wish. But then that would actually require somebody in CM to take leadership and be responsible, and we all know this is a leaderless ride. I could go on, but the leaderless concept is not at all conducive for a movement to improve cyclists rights. No effective social movement I've ever seen succeeded without leaders to define goals, set limits and talk about rules (in this case, someone within CM to say: ""there are rules of the road for cyclists, please follow them"", or ""don't stop on Park Ave. for 15 minutes to raise our bikes in the air & chant slogans, because that would require a parade permit"".)

Rich Conroy"

Anonymous's picture
RichardFernandez (not verified)

You need to reconized that the media is biased.Point blank.

Anonymous's picture
David Schlichting (not verified)
Public Perception of Cyclists: This is News?

"OK, I'll admit to feeling that CM serves only to antagonize the public against cyclists.
But this extreme behavior is only a symptom of behavorial extremes we see all around us these days whether in sports, politics or whatever.
Those of us who have been cycling here for the last few decades know that, except for those heady days after the 1980 transit strike, cyclists have always gotten short end of the public acceptance stick.
From crazed bike messengers in the pre- e-mail 1970's to CM today, some category of cyclist has served as a lighting rod upon which the public may focus their anti-cyclist sentiments.
Now we see another twist recently: ""You Paid How Much For That Bike?"" No one questions the price of skis or running shoes.
For years, sane cyclists have been missing the public relations boat. Are TA's positions too extreme or their efforts simply ineffective? Should the local clubs band together and spend some real money on professional, focused PR efforts? Should local cycling organizations push the police to be even MORE strict in ticketing cyclists? After all, compliance is a 2 way street. Otherwise, must we accept outcomes such as the recent case of a motorist downloading ring tones, drifting onto the shoulder, killing a cyclist, and receiving a ticket for . . . illegal lane usage?
I don't have a solution, but until the cycling community forces a shift in the general public's perception of cycling, we cyclists will always be on the defensive, fighting the perception we are scofflaws or that our bikes are $99 Wal-Mart toys that belong with the baby strollers in the local park.
One thing is clear: after years of efforts by TA, LAB and bicycle coordinators we stand here today defending our right to ride together on a public street. These efforts have missed the boat.

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)
Could this be my last post of 2006?

Being a reasonable person is PR enough. Safe cycling means safety for cyclist and other users around us. If you are not part of the problem you might eventually become part of the solution. Roads in our area are satuated with cars. Look into the crystal ball and you will see a move to alternative transportation. Just as Americans of African descent gained a foothold in American politics when their economic power became realized, cycling will come unto its own when it is a card which will obviously need to be played in getting to work. Right now the value of cycling to work is undervalued, its day has not yet arrived. Our day will come. Until then you be able to look back and remember these times as those of the pioneer.

Not that I cycle to work. To me the bike is a means of fitness, a moving coffee table among friends, a vehicle to take me down country roads and up mountain tops, and a source of empowerment.

These NYPD/CM skirmishes are small battles in the long march of history. Enjoy the pleasures of the wheel and,
Happy New Year

Anonymous's picture
RichardFernandez (not verified)

Good point.Rich

Anonymous's picture
Ron Gentile (not verified)
Friday's CM Ride

"I attended the CM ride on Friday. Lots of juvenile behavior on both sides, but the level of harassment on the part of the cops was completely unnecessary. It was a small group (~100, 130 cyclists) and pretty low-key. Most of the cyclists I saw were following traffic laws. At certain intersections the cops would randomly stop several cyclists and give out tickets, not sure what for. Some of the riders were taunting the cops.

I saw several non-CM cyclists riding on the sidewalk, running red lights, etc. The cops ignored these--they only had it out for the CM riders.

I dropped off the ride after about an hour. Other than interactions with the police, I found the ride itself pretty dull. I really can't see how this ride could help CM's ""cause""--for every pedestrian that seemed genuinely interested in why we were riding, there were 3 or 4 that weren't able to cross the street when they had the light.

I probably won't attend another ride, but I'm glad I saw first-hand what the ride is like. I would encourage anyone who's curious to check it out for yourself (and bring your beater bike, just in case...)."

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
What should not be forgotten about the PD vs. the CM

Obviously, drivers and cyclists should be accorded even-handed treatment from the law. It's almost too obvious to say, but those ticketed for the same infractions should receive the same punishment.

Critical Massers have been arrested, fingerprinted, mug shot, and jailed for going through red lights, blocking traffic, and not signaling lane changes, and have had their bikes confiscated. Have you ever heard of a driver arrested, fingerprinted, mug shot, and jailed and who had his vehicle confiscated for committing those same infractions?

Anonymous's picture
[email protected] (not verified)

Richard, if we compare apples to apples I feel the results would be similar. Take a few hundred cars on the last Friday of every month (for years), and have them go thru red lights and block traffic, dont you think they would elicit the same penalty...?

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Unequal treatment for the same thing = harrassment & prejudice


If you're ""Central Park Scooter Cop,"" you know better than most there is a law against going through a red light and there is a law against obstructing traffic and the penalty for them is a traffic ticket for a violation.

If one person or a hundred people go through a red light, the penalty is (or should be) the same: a ticket for going through a red light.

If someone shows up at a hospital with a disease, there is a protocol for handling it. If 100 people show up at the same hospital with the same disease, the protocol for treating it doesn't change.

If 100 people cheat on their tax filings, their penalty doesn't differ from the penalty assessed to one person caught cheating.

If there is a different charge that distinguishes the CM's violations to the point of making them a jailable offense, a crime, then bring it. But jailing them for failure to signal a lane change, et al., is, you surely know, harrassment plain, pure, and simple.


Your parenthetical comment, ""(for years),"" works against your argument because for years CM did its ride WITHOUT jailings (and nets, helicopters, and MACE spray). (As I write this, I have no idea what, if any, tactics the NYPD employed against the ride last night.)

Mind you, I'm not whining about enforcement of Vehicle & Traffic Law violations for running red lights and obstructing traffic—against cyclists, drivers, or pedestrians. I just wish it were done on the corner where I've lived for thirty-one years. On my corner over 1200 drivers EVERY DAY run the red lights and over 600 EVERY DAY obstruct traffic and block intersections and crosswalks. In those 31 years I've yet to see one ticket written for those. In fact, in 31 years the only ticket I've seen written to a driver was for failure to wear a seat belt...and if you are ""Central Park Scooter Cop,"" you're the one who wrote it.


Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)

Richard, I'm sure many of us would be very interested to know where the statistics regarding your corner come from.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
The basis for my estimation and my esteem for you

"""Many of us"" would like to know, Tom? You flatter the heck (profanity auto-censor, there) outta me to think ""many"" read or care what I write or think. As the Myles Standish-Priscilla Mullins-Pilgrim myth goes, ""Speak for yourself, John Alden.""

But let one of us try to establish truth-in-numbers, since that is the point of your implied jape at me. Not that it's going to change your skepticism, but here goes....

Cars, trucks, and taxis pour off the 59th St. Bridge onto my corner. Cars, trucks, taxis, and buses pour down Second Avenue on my corner, headed for the 59th Street Bridge, as well as, of course, continuing into the Central Business District and beyond.

I've observed traffic at literally all hours of the day and night. My estimate is arrived at by reasonable extension and extrapolation based on my observations.

The light changes every minute, or sixty times an hour. It is unusual when fewer than three vehicles go through every turn of the light between the hours of 6:00AM and 8PM. Often it's five vehicles. That produces ca. 840 vehicles in a fourteen hour period.

If only one vehicle goes through a red light every two turns of the light in the remaining ten hours (an additional 300 vehicles), that brings the total to 1140. It's not unreasonable to assume more than one vehicle goes through every other light.

It could be coincidental, but since writing the NYPD and my local precinct, a traffic agent occasionally has been posted on my corner during peak hours which has somewhat moderated the numbers.

Now then, suppose I'm off in my estimate by as much as an order of magnitude: how does that change the gravamen of what I wrote?

OK, that's how I arrived at my estimate. Now you tell me on what basis you are sure, as you wrote, ""I'm sure many of us would be very interested to know where the statistics regarding your corner come from,"" what is your numerical estimate of ""many,"" and how did you arrive at it? Of course, I ask this purely rhetorically since we both know your record of keeping your word to me."

Anonymous's picture
some guy (not verified)
look outside

Look out the window at a busy intersection in Manhattan and you'll see phenomenon as Richard described. I used to work near the interection of park ave and 85th Street and approximatly every minute I watched, a northbound car turning west on 85th St would run a red light just after it changed. Over and over again. I never saw a ticket but I saw this hundreds of times. I'm pretty sure if I sat there all day staring at the interection I'd see hundreds of red light run.

Anonymous's picture
Dave Hallerman (not verified)
Reality Check

The Times editorial writes, as if it were common knowledge: The New York police...have drafted a law that would essentially ban it.

My reality check question: Since when does the police department draft laws? I thought the drafting of laws was the job of a legislature (in this case, the City Council).

When police, and not legislatures, draft laws, haven't we entered some form of government other than a democracy?

Anonymous's picture
Geo Carl Kaplan (not verified)
reality check

Anyone may draft a law. Legislature passes/enacts them, and executive branch of government signs and enforces them.

the judiial branch interprets them.

Anonymous's picture
Dave Hallerman (not verified)

Mr. Kaplan writes: Anyone may draft a law.

So the executive board of the NYCC can draft a law, say, one that treats cyclists fairly?

Anonymous's picture
Carol Waaser (not verified)

"We could draft a law, but then we'd have to get a legislator to sponsor it and enough legislative support to get it voted into law. This kind of thing actually does happen, when special interest groups are involved in drafting the language of a law.

What the Police Department drafted, I believe, is a ""rule"", that is, how they will interpret a law that already exists. The law says it's illegal to parade without a permit, but the law does not define a parade. The NYPD has drafted a rule determining how it will interpret what is a parade.

Would that I had time to be more involved in lobbying and local politics. Ah, well, when I retire...."

Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
SchoolHouse rocks!

"Agreed on all accounts except bills are drafted and become law by way of vote.

This is true even at the NYC city council level (I just learned and confirmed such) Please excuse me for what appears to be nitpicking. That's not my intention. Rather I'm feeling a bit nostalgic for the halcyon days of my childhood...

I'm just a bill
Yes, I'm only a bill
And if they vote for me on Capitol Hill
Well, then I'm off to the White House
Where I'll wait in a line
With a lot of other bills
For the president to sign
And if he signs me, then I'll be a law.
How I hope and pray that he will,
But today I am still just a bill.

School House Rock - how a bill becomes law video


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