Cyclists take Met to court

IssueFebruary 2006

The attempt by the Metropolitan Police to criminalise central London's monthly Critical Mass bike ride (see PN2467) faces legal action supported by Friends of the Earth's Rights & Justice Centre.

On 16 January, papers were filed in the High Court seeking a judicial review of the police's sudden attempt, last September, to make the 11-year-old tradition of a collective bike ride around central London subject to the Public Order Act. The rides had hitherto been tolerated or even assisted by police.

The legal argument is that the rides are not subject to the Act because they are not demonstrations or processions intended to publicise a specific cause or campaign - any more than lots of people out enjoying a walk at the same time are. It is also argued that the events are exempted, since they are commonly and customarily held in the area.

Meanwhile, of course, the rides have been continuing every month regardless, with the first ride after the police announced their change of attitude being the biggest ever, with well over 1000 people.