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Wednesday, Oct. 4
The Indiana Daily Student


Cyclists crusade for safer city roads

The sun set hours ago, and the street lights now illuminate the fog-covered roads near the Piazza Duomo.

There are a few clusters of people sitting, talking and walking alongside the church and down the allies. The sky is gloomy, overcast and cold from the rain that did not let up for most of the day.

In the distance there is the sound of music and horns. It is 10:30 p.m.

Despite the cold, a group of cyclists sweeps around the corner of Via Torino, entering the square. There are young people and old, women and men, some screaming, some silent, but all supporting the same cause.

A rainbow flag reading “Pace,” meaning “peace,” is held by a middle-aged man on a cherry-red tricycle in the back of the pack. A slip of cardboard is also attached reading “no oil.”

This is the weekly routine of the Critical Mass bike group in Milan. Every Thursday night they join together in a riding protest of the city’s lack of bicycle lanes.

On this night they take over the roads, taking what they feel is their rightful place on the streets, building their own bike paths that during the daytime are overflowing with cars emitting toxic fumes and leaving no place for bikes to pass.

As defined in the city code Article 1, the street is “an area for public use for pedestrians, vehicles and animals.” Cyclists come together to reinforce the concept the law itself states: that the road is for all.

Members of Critical Mass believes that by exploiting the power of numbers and
invading the streets, the group can draw attention to its cause, and on this one night have complete peace while passing through the city.

Anyone may join the protest. The group’s Facebook page reads, “Cycling in this way
is beautiful. Easy, even. The road runs beneath your wheels and makes you happy. You move from one part of the city smoothly and rapidly, without the worry of being pushed into cars and trucks. And Milan is beautiful.”

The next protest will be this Saturday in the streets of Milan, where Critical Mass hopes to have hundreds of cyclists and skaters to promote the importance of bicycle safety and the need for better lanes within the city.

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