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Critical Mass is an organized coincidence that happens around the world. It happens when a lot of cyclists happen to be in the same place at the same time and decide to cycle the same way together for a while. Very often, those taking part enjoy it so much that they decide to get together at the same place and time the next month and the month after and so on, and to get other cyclists to join as well.
Cyclists are just as much traffic and have just as much right to be on the roads and travel at their own speed as anyone else. Moreover, cars clog up the streets all day, every day, so a lot of cyclists doing the same on a limited scale once a month cannot be a great source of complaint. Indeed, Critical Mass often finds itself held up by the traffic jam caused by motorists going about their "usual" business.
Critical Mass's aim is to make people take notice of cyclists as road users. Although some obstruction of "normal" traffic occurs, we are only seeking to raise the profile of cycling, and put cycling and transport issues on the agenda so that they will not be ignored. We are traffic!
In New York City, Critical Mass meets at 7PM on the steps of Union Square South on the last Friday of every month.