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FIrst Critical Mass Ride in Moscow (June 12)

IMC-Russia | 19.06.2002 10:31

On June 12 first Critical Mass ride was held in Moscow to coincide with the Independence Day, which was nicknamed Day of Independence from Cars. The number of cyclists that turned at the CM was rather low – 25 people at peak – but still most of the participants seemed to have a positive attitude towards the new initiative.

A lot of discussion preceded the CM ride, as there were violent riots by football fans in the center of Moscow on June 9, which lead to one murder and a lot of injuries, and there was a lot of fear that police will disperse any “illegal assembly”. Fortunately, traffic and regular police didn’t pay any special attention to the ride, or better say, paid no attention at all, although Russian traffic rules prohibit any collective rides of more than 10 cyclists in one line without police escort. CM rode through the center of the city, in a rather chaotic mode at times, as the participants seem to have not read properly the leaflets that described the proposed route (and the recommendations for the ride), but all in all the ride was OK. It has ended in a sort of informal bicycle club in the center of Moscow.

The first CM ride was rather low profile, as we only distributed leaflets describing principles of CM and criticizing heavy car traffic in Moscow. Special leaflets to car drivers were also distributed, urging the drivers to pay more attention to cyclists and pedestrians and leave cars at home as often as possible. Next time we should be able to achieve more by having pro-bike T-shirts, more leaflets and hopefully more riders in the CM. So far we have agreed to have regular monthly CMs on the last Friday of each month, gathering at the entrance to bicycle market near Sokolnioki subway station at 7 p.m. (but the time may change as there are extra heavy traffic jams on a Friday night in Moscow now and we will either have to choose the route properly in order to have a ride, rather than a stand, or change the time – we’ll see).

We are happy to get Moscow on the list of cities that have their own CM now and hope it will become regular. Moscow CM now has a website at

There are plans to have other bicycle and anti-car events in Moscow for the World Car-free Days in September 2002 organized on the initiative of Car Busters.

If you have any questions you can contact Mikhail at

All opinions and impressions about past and upcoming rides, as well as discussion of ideas behind Critical Mass, can be posted to the forum of this website. Your contribution is very welcome, both in form of posting your opinion and active participation in preparation of future rides.

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