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From: Jo Makepeace (
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 16:59:20 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: SchNEWS 657, Friday 28th November 2008

House of Lords rules in favour of Critical Mass


'We do not block the traffic, We are the traffic'. The House of Lords has ruled that Critical Mass cycle rides through London are not unlawful. Friends of the Earth Rights and Justice Centre challenged the Police claims in court on behalf of a Critical Mass cyclist on Monday (20th).

The police claimed that the cycle rides held monthly in London are unlawful because the organisers do not provide police with the necessary notification and therefore, the cyclists are liable to prosecution. Critical Mass state that the cycle rides are spontaneous, they have no organisers and no planned routes. The appeal was heard by five Law Lords who ruled that Critical Mass is a 'commonly or customarily held' procession without organisers and consequently cyclists do not need to inform the police of each ride.

Critical Mass Cycle Rides are part of a global movement which began in 1992 and involves cyclists taking to the streets to celebrate cycling.

In October 2005 the police issued leaflets to cyclists outlining their apparent unlawfulness. This claim was then challenged in the High Court. The subsequent ruling was in favour of Critical Mass, however the police appealed against the decision and won. During this time police have been cracking down on the rides, blocking the front of the ride, preventing cycle sound systems playing and ticketing riders.

This latest court victory is an important success for the peaceful right to protest and for the cyclists who take part.

* See also

* Critical Mass events are held on a regular basis across the world, including in many British cities
they typically meet on the last Friday of every month at around 5.30pm

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