Critical Mass

An excerpt from the Critical Mass website:-

“London Critical Mass cycle ride has now been in existence for 14 years and 6 months, not 11 years as stated by some of the mainstream media. It is not known when the result of the appeal officially will be made known but it could be sometime before Christmas. This all began as a leaflet issued to CM participants by police at the start of the ride in September 2005 which stated:

“…Police can impose conditions on processions, demonstrations and other assemblies, and participants render themselves liable to arrest if they fail to comply with those conditions. These cycle protests are not lawful because no organiser has provided police the with the necessary notification. Your participation in this event could render you liable to prosecution. Police policy in facilitating these events is currently under review…”

After that the High Court decided in favour of CM but the police then appealed against that decision and won. The legalities involved are quite complicated and seem to hinge on whether the ride is customarily held and therefore not subject to certain police restrictions, or is it just a conflict arising from a clash of widely differing cultures?

Interestingly, during the recent Radio 4 Law in Action program about London CM, a police Inspector stated, “In my mind and in the view of the service, they are going out there to cycle with a common cause to demonstrate, Anybody who is an organiser of that event, whether it be by running a website, producing fliers, giving direction on the night, being out in front telling people which way to go and which way not to go, is an organiser and as such should give us notice where they are going to go…”

So does this mean that webmasters and leafleters, who have no control over the direction of the CM ride, will be liable to prosecution if the police win in the High Court and these alleged organisers remain incapable of giving the route? Would this also arouse freedom of expression issues?


Even cycling magazines, provide information, and much of it is word of mouth. It’s all very confusing and complicated!

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