Critical Mass is all about taking back the streets from cars for one day per month. Toronto’s most recent event upped the stakes a little: 200 cyclists ventured up to the Gardiner Freeway, which is typically off-limits to bikes, and took a leisurely westward spin during rush hour.
The ride is typically amorphous: whoever goes to the front decides the route. As Martin Reis told the Torontoist, this ride started no differently. As the group approached one of the on ramps for the highway, the groupthink mentality was “"Here we are. Let’s take the Gardiner."
The group started by merging into the right lane, then gradually fanned out and took over the whole road. Police closed down the road briefly and ushered the group off of the highway about 7 kilometers and 20 minutes after their grand entrance.
Here’s an awesome video (external link) of the cyclists climbing up the on-ramp to the freeway and taking charge.
Critical Mass tends to be a polarizing topic among cyclists: some see it as legitimate protest / civil disobedience at its best while others view it as a means towards cyclists’ alienation and pissing off cars.
It’s interesting how much outrage this act of protest, albeit an illegal stunt, has garnered in Toronto. Killing or maiming a cyclist with a car, however, typically appears to be business as usual.