Critical Manners Bike Ride Vancouver

About The Ride

The Critical Manners ride originated in San Fransisco in 2007, started by Reama Dagasan as a response to the Critical Mass rides that were getting out of hand.

After hearing of the VPD’s announcement (their first ever regarding this activity in Vancouver) requesting people not drive to or through downtown on Friday evening, I thought a peaceful, purposeful and above-all respectful bike event was exactly what we needed.

Thus, Critical Manners Vancouver was born!

We ride Friday August 14th at 6:00pm through the streets of Vancouver. We’ll be easy to miss, since we’ll be staying in bike lanes or on the far right side of the road, obeying all traffic signals and otherwise doing our best to share the road effectively with all other vehicles and pedestrians.

For more information about the event, stay tuned to this site!


43 Comments so far
Leave a comment

“we’ll be staying in bike lanes or on the far right side of the road, obeying all traffic signals and otherwise doing our best to share the road effectively with all other vehicles and pedestrians. ” – I call bullshit

Comment by Chris

Chris: we’re looking forward to proving you wrong! Just please don’t mistake us for Critical Mass going this Friday July 31st. We’ll be out in all our rule-following glory on August 14th.


Comment by criticalmanners

Too right Jen! Unfortunately, there will always be that small number of “hooligan-esque” or rather, reckless riders out there causing trouble. The riders you’re intending to represent and prove that peaceful, “rule-following glory”, road sharing can exist will be there. Whoohoo!

Comment by Arlene

I’m so glad you went ahead with this. I think it’s a wonderful idea and a fun – and polite – way to make the point that we can all share the road.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a cyclist, pedestrian or motorist IMHO we have to take responsibility for ourselves. So if we want to be treated with respect on the roadways then we need to treat others on that same roadway with respect no matter what our mode of transportation.

Comment by BlissfulGirl

This is a great idea! Will definitely be there – please post more info when meet up/route decided on.

Comment by Rosie

Cyclists need to consider their impact on emergtency services. Last night a friend of mine had an allergic reaction to a bee sting and needed to get to St. Paul’s. I was met by sneers, laughing and insults as I tried to work my way through. The corker told me to F off. Had teh reaction been any worse and I would have been forced to run the idiot over. Please make sure that your riders understand that emergencies cannot wait for cyclists.

Here is my response to the article
“Critical Mass riders fear for safety”

I am so pissed off at critical mass. Did they ever stop to think what it does to emergency situations? Last night a friend of mine got stung by a bee and had an allergic reaction. We headed for St. Pauls and ran into the mass of cyclists. I honked and honked trying to get through. Some waved and smiled smirkingly, some told me to f off. Things did turn out OK but it could have cost my friend’s life. It’s a good thing for them that their leadership is anonymous, can you say lawsuit. It’s only a matter of time before someone dies in an emergency situation. I hope those idiots read this and take time to reflect that their actions are more than an inconvenience, they impede critical emergency servies. If the reaction had been any worse I would have run them over to get to the hospital

Comment by Jon Schmidt

Next time phone 911. There were plenty of police around which could have guided you through.

Anyway, it is congestion caused by cars that causes 99.99% of congestion in which emergency vehicles get stuck it. Maybe we should just not have any events that cause congestion like the fireworks, hockey games, parades or the Olympics. In any of this situations, again, the response would be to phone 911.

Comment by 911

Jon, I am a nurse. You did the wrong thing. You don’t drive someone who may be experiencing an anaphylactic reaction to the hospital. You call the ambulance. You are not able to correctly determine the severity of the reaction, and you have no way of controlling the amount of time it takes to get to the hospital (traffic? accidents? mechanical problems?). An ambulance crew is able to respond to this sort of situation much more rapidly and capably than you can. And ambulances can get through critical mass.

Comment by Leanna Jesperson

I call BS. I’ve seen several very similar stories around and frankly, I don’t believe you.

On the off chance your story is true, as others have already said, you’re not an ambulance. Call 911 if you have an emergency.

Comment by Dan

Any promotion of cycling is great! However, as long as I’m being cut off by idiot drivers on their cell phones – not signalling, or hell, a transit bus with a driver wearing an ipod barreling through a red light, they yeah, i’ll continue to ride en masse with my new CM friends and tell the town that we are tired of sucking their collective exhaust pipe. I agree that cyclists should follow the rules of the road, but so should everyone else. I will attend your event, I’m open to change. Best of luck.

Comment by Bryan Stewart

If it was just the VPD announcement that stirred you, consider this. Friday Feb 26th 2010 is a CM day during the olympics, likely this whole press.cityhall.police barrage was just that, a Vanoc initiated instrument of crushing free speech.
CM today was great, as usual, as is.

Comment by TRUTH BE TOLD

I am looking forward to the ride. Antagonizing people is no way to make friends.

Comment by Brian

Kudos for launching this Critical Manners event. And to the Critical Mass riders….what about pedestrians??? We’re not polluting the environment…not even in the manufacturing process of a bike. Yet I have to wait 45 – 60 mins to be allowed to cross the street because of your arrogant attitude?

Comment by Wanda

Well, I think we need to start a Critical Mass Pedestrian Rally and block traffic. Being a pedestrian is a totally life threatening experience and it happens daily.
I am exhausted daily from the fumes, the Noise and the stress from automobiles.
The streets are filthy, the air is bad and a person always has to be on red alert as soon as one leaves the house.
Health Canada should have put regulations on the use of automobiles decades ago.
ICBC should be charging per use on passenger vehicles.
This ignorance and mindlessness must be addressed.
Drivers get to have Critical Mass rides everyday of the week, 24/7.
Manners are good but so are protests, and I think they are necessary.Both groups serve a purpose.
As a granny, who walks, bikes and uses transit I have Road Rage.

Comment by Oemissions

Best of luck – some motor head will be demanding you license your shoes and have Liability Insurance for having the audacity to walk! 🙂


Comment by Paul

Nice idea, but a “critical manners” ride is bound to foul up vehicle traffic even more than Critical Mass. Why? With Critical Mass, the group of cyclists is clumped together, and it takes no more than 10 minutes for the entire ride to pass. With “critical manners,” the group will be WAY stretched out, causing confusion, with some gunning forward and others lagging behind. If I want to do a ride like this, I’ll get out on my bike alone, the way I do every day!

Also, please note that the Motor Vehicle Act does NOT require cyclists to bike “as far to the right as possible.” The exact wording is “as far to the right as practicable,” and due to bad pavement, grates, broken glass, and parked cars liable to swing their doors in front of you (cycling safety guides recommend biking one metre away from parked cars), it’s RARELY practicable to hug the curb. It’s also not safe, and if you’ve ever cycled on a street with a lot of curves, where motorists can come up fast behind and plow into you, you’ll know what I mean. People on bikes have every right to take the lane to make themselves more visible to motorists — the MVA considers them vehicles, too, just as a slow-moving tractor is.

At any rate, good luck with your ride. I appreciate the philosophy, I just don’t think it’s very practical.

Comment by Lisa

Right – I did read the act and it does say “as far as is practicable,” which often does mean 1m from parked cars.

As for disrupting traffic, the goal is that with all the cyclists following the rules and the route (still being planned) we’ll add no more disruption than the existing cars on the road.

Comment by criticalmanners

I’m always surprised by Critical Mass riders who claim that the entire ride takes no more than 10 minutes to pass. That is simply not true for the majority of the rides. During some of the busiest rides during the spring and summer intersections have been blocked for up to an hour or more until the entire ride clears the intersection. Then you have to factor in the residual traffic back-ups caused by the ride that take another 2 to 4 hours to clear up after the ride has passed.

A Critical Manners ride has the ability to prove that large numbers of cyclists can actually share the road with pedestrians and motorists without creating a conflict (or spiking levels of carbon emissions).

The Critical Mass rides seem to prove the opposite which does more harm than good IMHO toward the effort of getting people out of their cars and into alternative modes of transportation (not just cycling) as well as getting all modes of transportation working responsibly together.

Comment by BlissfulGirl

Good luck! I’ll try to be there to give my support!

Comment by Mike

10-20 minutes, who cares…
10-20 megatons of emissions, who cares.
10-20 thousand vehicular deaths, who cares.
10-20 million miles of public lands covered in asphalt dedicated to cars.
I have no grace for planet and people killers any more. Cars are the ones that need to be reigned in.
I have no desire to to cycle beside a car.

Comment by TRUTH BE TOLD

Jon schmidt, why oh why was your friend risking their life by being driven to the hospital in a private automobile? I take it this car was equipped with all the drugs required to treat a person going into anaphylactic shock. And had all the equipment required to intubate the person suffering the bee sting had their airway closed up.
The person driving the car must have had been in contact with St. Paul’s and knew the emergency department would be able to admit the person suffering the bee sting?
You did know that if they don’t have room you’ll be taking your friend elsewhere.
If someone has a medical emergency like a bee sting and they are allergic to bee stings you call an ambulance. Or better yet, take them to a medical clinic. You don’t take them in yorself. The ambulance will know before it gets to the patient which hospital they will transport to if they need to transport. And if the situation worsens they have the training to deal with it.

You did know that it only takes four minutes after cardiac arrest for brain damage to occur. Did you also know that brain damage could occur even if the person is still breathing?

A little, help no matter how noble, can still kill.

Comment by Bobbie Bees

1000 cyclists riding single file taking one lane of traffic will stretch 20 blocks…

Comment by Lee

That’s would be awesome if it do stretch 20 blocks, what a better safe ride awareness than that. I hope it would even stretch from Coquitlam to Vancouver.

Comment by Anthony

I agree! Also, even if it does stretch 20 blocks, Critical Manners will be split into groups due to red lights, stop signs, etc. But the good thing is that the rest of the traffic will still be able to go because the route is planned and Critical Manners won’t be barreling through red lights with thousands of people in tow.

Comment by Monica

Hi Lee,
Motorcyclists did the same thing a few years ago when the city clamped down on ‘illegal’ motorcycle parking.
See, when I find an empty spot I’ll park close to the meter with my bike perpendicular to the curb. This way if another motorcyclist wanted to share the spot, or even if a car driver wanted to squeak into the remainder of the spot, they were welcome to.
Well some one complained to the city that they didn’t want to share parking spots with motorcycles and that the rules state one vehicle per parking spot.
So the city started clamping down on motorcycles.
So fine, for about three weeks a whole bunch of us would park our bike parallel to the curb and set to occupy the entire spot. To deal with the two hour time limit we’d simply shift our bikes forward to the next spot and then pay for the next two hours.
Car drivers were going ballistic.
Businesses were going up the wall.
So then the city finally backed down and came up with a more sensible rule. One motorcycle and one car or three motorcycles could occupy one parking spot.
But now the kicker is, it doesn’t matter who’s closer to the meter. When the meter expires, everyone in the spot gets a ticket. Which is fair.

The need for critical mass will never end for so long as the risk to cyclists remains so large.
How many car drivers understand that a bicycle is NOT required to ride in the gutter?
A bicycle only has to be as far right as practical.
Practical and possible have to very different and distinct meanings.
And after taking defencive motorcycle training you will never catch me riding anywhere but in the right most wheel rut. Riding in the centre of the lane is a no-no as that’s where cars, trucks and everything else with an engine drips and drops coolant and oil.
The right most wheel rut also in most cases puts one out of range of the ‘door prize’

Helmets, arrrgh, that’s one very sore point for me.
I wear a helmet strictly for the fine avoidance aspect.
Bicycle helmets are the most ill conceived pieces of junk ever bestowed upon mankind.
I’m the Occupation Health and Safety rep in my workplace.
Prior to this I too had bought into the argument that bicycle helmets save people from head injuries. And they do to an extent, but you need to look at which group they save.
A bicycle helmet would not under any circumstance qualify as an acceptable piece of safety equipment on the job site. My motorcycle helmet would though. Jeeze, even my hockey helmet could qualify.
What’s the difference between the three helmets?
The Bicycle helmet is a SINGLE impact helmet.
My motorcycle helmet and my hockey helmet are MULIT impact helmets.
And there is a very critical difference between the two.
Designers of bicycle helmets, which basically make up the rules as they go, basically only conceive a cyclist falling sideways off their bike and hitting their head once.
Because there are actually legal guidelines that require specific criteria for motorcycle helmets and hockey helmets designers of said helmets have to take into account the velocity of the head upon impact and the likely number of subsequent impacts and bounces the head will also suffer during ‘one episode’.

The City of Richmond forbids the use of bicycle helmets for any child under the age of 12 skating during public skate sessions.
I mentioned that I have a hockey helmet. But I don’t play hockey. I figure skate. Funny thing about figure skating or even speed skating is they don’t wear helmets at any age except for the very young.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen adults taken off the ice on a stretcher after falling and cracking their heads open during public skate and yet helmet use by adults isn’t mandatory.

I rendered first aid in an event back in Sept 2004 that should put this into perspective.
A motorcyclist travelling over the speed limit rear ended a bicyclist on East Hastings.
The bicyclist was thrown across three lanes of traffic into the oncoming lanes where he was then run over by a white Mazda RX-7.
There was nothing left of the bicyclists helmet. It pretty well disintegrated on first impact.
Does anyone know when first impact occurred?
That’s right, it’s when the motorcycle/motorcyclist impacted with the bicyclist’s head.
Second impact happened when the bicyclist landed in the oncoming lanes.
Third impact was when the Mazda RX-7 hit the bicyclist.
That’s three impacts. This does not take into account how many times the cyclist’s head actually bounced off the asphalt.
And remember, a bicycle helmet is a SINGLE impact helmet.

After getting a group of bystanders to lift the car off this guy. As this was a Mazda RX-7 it had almost no ground clearance and was compressing his chest. I performed first aid by keeping his tongue from going into his throat. His jaw had to have been broken in at least two places. He had to mouth breath as he face had been so badly damaged there was no way he was going to nose breath. He also had to be held on his side with is head supported. Head support for possible neck injuries and on his side so the blood from his facial trauma wouldn’t drown him.

But back to helmets. The motorcyclist who hit him and who was himself thrown from his own machine on impact was lucid and could follow instructions. The bicyclist could only moan, could not respond to any type of verbal command, could not feel pain.

Motorcycle helmets differ from bicycle helmets in one very important way. Motorcycle helmets factor IMPACT VELOCITY into their design whereas bicycle helmets really don’t. Bicycle helmets are designed for little Lisa or Little Tommy. This is about the only age group that ever saw any type of reduction from head injuries.
Once children became older the safety provided by bicycle helmets diminishes greatly. Why? Well now that little Lisa and Tommy have been riding for a couple of years now, they have a proficiency that allows them to achieve velocities that exceed the ratings of most bicycle helmets. And then finally once Lisa and Tom get into adulthood helmets have almost no noticeable difference in the survivability of accidents as they are now more than likely to be riding in traffic where their travelling velocity and the travelling velocity of the traffic they interact with greatly exceeds the ratings of any bicycle helmet.

So what’s the solution?

Well, my OH&S training has taught me that the best way to reduce accidents is through engineering first. Safety equipment/clothing is always the last resort when trying to minimize injuries.
What this means is that the rick to cyclists needs to be reduced first. That means that automobiles need to be removed from the cyclists area. No matter how many helmets or reflectors a cyclist wears, they will never be safe amongst motorized vehicular traffic.

In our society, which is set up with the false belief that unless you own a car you’re a welfare bum loser these car free areas will never exist. So Critical Mass will always exist.

Bicycle lanes? What a conceptual joke. It’s an accomplishment in the fact that the city can claim to now have bicycle lanes. But when you have a car/moving van/ delivery truck/ bus / taxi cab/ armoured car occupying the bicycle lane, is it still a bicycle lane?

I could on with this rant for a long time. but I think I’ve said enough for now.

Comment by Bobbie Bees

I never thought of avoiding the centre of the lane and riding in the right most wheel rut because of the oil and grease. Thanks! I do however avoid the painted lines as they are very slippery.

Comment by Lee

Yup, that’s the number one thing drilled into our heads during the motorcycle course “Stay off the grease strip”. This is especially true during the first rain after a long dry spell.
All of the oil, grease and antifreeze now float to the surface where they form a real slick film.
The only thing worse than this is to encounter a Diesel spill. Damn is that stuff ever slick, especially just after it’s been raining.

Comment by Bobbie Bees

To Bobbies Bees,

Apparently you have very little understanding of helmets and their true purpose.

A hockey helmet is designed with the intent to protect against sticks and pucks, and not for hitting your head against the ice or the shoulder of Scott Stevens (sorry Eric) – hence all of the concusions in hockey.

A bicycle helmet on the othgerhand is as you correctly mentioned a single event device which is designed to absorb the impact of the human skull falling 2 meters towards the pavement. It is designed to absorb the blow by crumpling – similar to the front-ends of most new cars.

Now I am of the belief that helmets have mainly been mandated to reduce driver insurance premiums. If bicycle helmets were so effective they would also be mandated for any pedestrian that needs to cross a road!

Now to all,

Critical Manners should not cause any disruption to traffic (any more than a bunch of cars), as riders will obey all rules of the road and will get spaced out over the course of the ride. They will all reach the finish when they can safely do so.

Critical Manners Vancouver is long overdue, and I only wish I had been the one to start it. I will ride Critical Manners every month regardless of how many law abiding cyclists continue to show up or not. For that matter, every time i take to the road on one of my bicycles, i am taking part in a one man Critical Manners ride. Yes, I stop for every stop sign, and always yield the right of way (i also expect the same in return).

Keep the conversation going – this is great!

Comment by Sirvelo

The Critical Manners Ride is a terrific idea. We have no choice currently but the to share the road and doing a Manners Ride may help the cause and get more drivers out of their cars and onto their bikes. We had one person at work that began riding their bike to work, and when others saw the benefit it grew to four, including myself, and it can only continue from there. Perhaps the Critical Manners Ride will help to get a few more people out of their cars and as a cyclist, that’s what I would like to see.

Comment by Jeff Sefton

I’m not sure why motorists who don’t care about us will suddenly care if we start obeying traffic rules designed for cars. Stop signs and red lights indicate yield for me. I can see and hear much better than car drivers, so when it’s safe to proceed I do.

Also, are there any car ambassadors anywhere in the world?

I will come to the ride nonetheless, and I hope all goes well. I agree that Critical Mass is a critical mess.

Comment by Steven

Where do we meet this Friday?

Comment by Christopher_Corrigan

It’s coming, this evening, stay tuned!


Comment by criticalmanners

Thanks! Glad I hadn’t missed that tidbit somewhere…

Comment by Christopher_Corrigan

Good idea. I can’t make this Friday’s ride, but I’ll try to attend the next one. The city needs Critical Mass and Critical Manners, IMHO – they serve equally valid and yet distinct purposes. I’m very curious to see how the first ride goes. No doubt there will be an overweight media presence.

Comment by Ken Simpson

Good idea. I will be there.

Comment by James Spears

Jen, A HUGE congratulations for organizing this in Vancouver!!!

I used to be a supporter of Critical Mass as it does raise awareness. However, especially lately, it seems to be hurting the Cause rather than helping it, as many people I know have had extremely negative experiences with that particular Ride.

As a daily bike commuter, it is a quite relieving and refreshing to know that there are others who are representing the cyclists who do respect the rules of the road. Those who would prefer harmony vs. antagonism and rage with motorists.

Yes, the last Critical Mass did raise awareness. However it was quite offending and did not help daily commuters by bridging any gaps between motorists & cyclists. It only amplified frustrations and I, myself, was witness to absolutely belligerent behavior of certain (obviously, not all) Critical Mass riders.

Seems that the only truly positive effect that Critical Mass created recently was the forming of this group. It did serve a purpose in raising awareness, but now, it seems that it needs to adapt it’s strategies on peaceful sharing of the roads.

Comment by Arlene

Well, best of luck…….
Just remember, single file only, make sure that you have all of your relectors on.
As required by law you need a white one on front, red on the rear and the wheels are recommened under DOT to have amber.
Everyone needs to have a bell.
Everyone must use arm signals, not just the lead person.
Yeild the right of way to public transit buses. This goes for when they are pulling into stops as well as pulling out of stops.
It would also be a good idea to allow parked cars to merge into traffic. Because you will all be riding single file following each other with the two second rule, car drivers leaving a parking spot merging into traffic may get upset with the wait..
Watch out for door prizes, after all you will be riding in the left hand portion of the rightmost lane as you’ll be passing parked cars. Oh, and again, due to the length of each segment you’ll want to stop and allow motorists out of their cars.


Comment by Bobbie Bees

Excellent! I am so pleased that you have gone ahead and organized this. I ride 200km a week through traffic in this city and am sickened that the critical mass riders have been taken to represent me. They do not. You do.

Our cause will not be advanced by confrontation. It will be advanced by awareness and political pressure. The sooner we get over the “us-vs-them” mentality the faster we will see positive changes in the larger community’s opinion (and support) of cycling in Vancouver.

Comment by Matt H

Still have no Idea where we’re meeting! I presume we will take up a single traffic lane, and stop at reds?

Comment by Christopher_Corrigan

Nah, I got it! Thanks. See you there!

Comment by Christopher_Corrigan

I love Critical Manners! I am a cyclist and, unfortunately, I also have to be a driver here in Pittsburgh. I haven’t had a chance to participate in Pittsburgh’s local Critical Manners ride, but I have happened to drive past both Critical Mass and Critical Manners rides (both times while taking my dog to the off-leash area — it’s too far for him to walk, and I can’t put an 80-lb. Labrador in a bike basket or trailer and expect to get up a half-mile hill at a 15% grade). The Critical Mass ride has always been very alarming to be caught in. As a cyclist, I always try to respect fellow bike riders when I’m in my car, but even I found myself quickly becoming enraged by the people who shouted rude things, got into verbal altercations with drivers, and frightened my dog (who was cowering in the backseat, crying, with his hackles up and the whites of his eyes showing. He was really scared. I consider the behavior of Critical Mass cyclists to be cruel to any animals who might be innocent passengers in the cars that they beat on.)

On the other hand, when I drove past our local Critical Manners ride, I was really impressed. The cyclists were almost universally well-mannered, biking according to the rules of the road and not hindering or obstructing the flow of traffic, and the other drivers on the road were responding really well to their presence. Go Critical Manners! This ride is definitely the best way to counteract the negative image of cyclists that is perpetuated by the counterproductive excesses of Critical Mass.

Comment by Kat Salerno

I don’t have an issue with following the rules and being safe. Having the route and start location of this ride approved by the city, however, seems like a rather unfortunate idea.

Comment by anonymous

It’s not about having the route approved – the city has flat out said they don’t care (though the VPD asked to be notified).

But the city does appreciate the head’s up that something is happening, and checking-in with the starting/ending gathering points so we don’t conflict with other groups who’ve booked park space.

I fail to see how there’s any sort of unfortunate aspect to that.

Comment by criticalmanners

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