We reported recently on a legal case concerning the future of Critical Mass, a monthly meet of likeminded cyclists, which was heading to the Law Lords with much riding on the outcome.
The case hinged around section 11 of the Public Order Act 1986, which requires that organisers of demonstrations give written notice to the police, along with details of the planned route and names and addresses. The police wanted to use this act to gain control of Critical Mass, something that regular Mass cyclists were strictly against.
The case was brought before the Law Lords recently and the decision was passed that the police have no Public Order Act powers to control the regular ride, which often takes over entire sections of road as it passes around the city, starting on the South Bank.
The event has no organisers or set route, and the Law Lords decided that this meant it fell outside of the Public Order Act 1986, a decision that London Assembly Green Party Member Jenny Jones is pleased with. “This is a victory for common sense, and for the rights of cyclists to get on their bikes. The decision is an embarrassment for the Metropolitan Police, who have wasted resources in trying to clamp down on the civil liberties of cyclists and insisted on taking the case to appeal. The Met should get back to stopping crime, and let cyclists get back to cycling.
“Critical Mass is a lively but peaceful get-together of cyclists which has been going on for over a decade without any major incidents. Arresting cyclists at Critical Mass would be like arresting a group of passengers for gathering at Westminster tube station during the rush hour.
“I’m going to ask the Mayor if he will join me on this month’s ride”.