Ray Strack, Leader of Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass, Arrested on Friday's Ride VIDEO

Categories: Bike Life, News

Officers from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department started following alongside the city's Critical Mass in May. To say the event didn't go well would be an understatement. Dan Littell, a 30-year-old accountant, was tackled by an officer in an altercation that was caught on video. Rahim "Ra" Benjamin, a 23-year-old who lives in Sunrise, said he was knocked off his bike by a motorcycle cop.

June was much calmer. Although there were tons of cops herding the riders, there was no violence. Officers and cyclists actually seemed to -- gasp! -- get along.

Unfortunately, the peace didn't last.

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Critical Mass Fort Lauderdale Is Happening Tonight: Here's How to Join the Ride and Avoid Trouble

Categories: Bike Life

via Critical Mass Ft. Lauderdale
Critical Mass Fort Lauderdale is back and running tonight, and while joining in on the ride is a fun and cool way to take part of the community, it's also seen its share of problems.

Particularly during the past few Critical Masses, when a cop tackled a cyclist and another officer allegedly knocked a rider off his bike with his motorcycle.

Naturally, the Critical Mass peeps want to avoid this kind of thing and bring things back to their rightful chill vibe.

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Craig Camlin Memorial Bike Ride Scheduled for Sunday

Categories: Bike Life

Via Wikimedia Commons
Last December, bicyclist Craig Camlin was the victim of a heinous hit-and-run crash that left him horribly injured. Camlin succumbed to his injuries and passed away in February, but his story left a ripple effect across the cycling community, given the manner in which he was injured, the attention it brought to the dangers of cycling in Fort Lauderdale, and the seeming indifference of many drivers.

On Sunday, Camlin is being honored with a bike ride in Fort Lauderdale to not only celebrate his life and his love for cycling but also to bring even more awareness to the issue at hand.

See also: Axel Inostroza, Man Who Left Cyclist Behind Dumpster After Hitting Him With Car, Denied Bond

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Scores of Cops Descend Upon Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass, but Only One Arrest (Video)

Categories: Bike Life

Photo by James Argyropoulos
At this month's Critical Mass in Fort Lauderdale, there seemed to be more police present than cyclists. Cops on bikes, in cars, and mounted atop horses showed up at Holiday Park to herd several hundred riders along their group ride on Friday. Even (and oddly enough) park rangers were present.

Close to 8 p.m., one officer laid down the ground rules through a megaphone: Biking sober, obeying all traffic laws, and putting helmets on kids were expected. About 500 cyclists applauded and cheered in response.

It was a surprising reaction given what happened last month. May marked the first time that FLPD assisted with Critical Mass, which takes place in about 300 cities across the globe, and it was also the first time conflict occurred at the event. Dan Littell was tackled by an officer, and Rahim Benjamin says a police motorcycle rammed him on purpose.

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Critical Mass Fort Lauderdale Happens Tomorrow: What You Need to Know

Categories: Bike Life, News

Via Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass
At last month's Critical Mass Fort Lauderdale -- the once-per-month, 14-mile ride through the city -- one cop tackled a cyclist and another officer knocked a rider off his bike after ramming him with his motorcycle, according to the biker.

This month? Hopefully not that.

Tomorrow, the monthly event to raise awareness of cyclists' rights takes place at 7 p.m., but not much more has been released at the moment, perhaps to avoid more mishaps like last month. (Ed. note: A previous version of this article contained incorrect information about the route found on Meetup.com)

According to James Musters, "There will be no route publicly published prior to the ride but the police will be on hand to help facilitate the ride. Second, I understand there are several other events happening in the park this Friday night. We have been advised there will be limited parking in the park, but not in the usual location. It is suggested that locals ride their bikes to the park, or park elsewhere and ride in."

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MacArthur Causeway Biking Is Crazy Dangerous -- Kevin Culp's Tale

Categories: Bike Life

Courtesy of Kevin Culp
South Florida cyclists have been vocal for years about the dangers of riding down here, what with wet grates and unruly drivers hitting people, but those aren't the only dangers. Kevin Culp, a 43-year-old cyclist who moved here from New York two years ago, says South Florida is the most dangerous place he's ever ridden. Culp has put in miles on his bike in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia and even rode BMX as a kid.

Last month, Culp took a ride from Brickell to Bal Harbour and back, something he's done more than 100 times. But after he ran into a construction site that had no warnings and nowhere for him to go, he landed on his head and sliced open his fingers. He wrecked his bike and doesn't remember parts of it, he fell so hard.

Fast-forward a month and Culp is speaking out, trying to change the way cyclists are treated. And he'll file a lawsuit if he has to, he says. What follows is his account, told to New Times.

See also: Wet Bridge Grates and Cyclists Are a Dangerous Combination

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Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Knocks Down Critical Mass Rider With Motorcycle

Categories: Bike Life, News

Courtesy of Christopher Lloyd (No, not the actor from Back to the Future...)
Rahim Benjamin claims a motorcycle cop hit him on purpose moments after this shot was taken by a passing cyclist.
Last Friday marked the first Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass in which the police offered to help direct traffic. But instead of showing up on bikes, officers policed the area in cars and motorcycles. Although video circulated on Saturday of a 30-year-old accountant being tackled from his bike after blocking a cop car from passing, that wasn't the only confrontation -- or cyclist -- that went down.

Who was right or wrong in these instances isn't entirely black and white. What's clear is that tensions arose between cyclists who behaved a little recklessly and cops who didn't understand that it's technically legal for a bike to take up an entire lane of traffic or to overtake using the left lane. When officers don't understand bike statutes and put cyclists on the defensive, it creates a self-perpetuating cycle of conflict.

Rahim "Ra" Benjamin, a 23-year-old who lives in Sunrise, was not even part of the Mass on Friday. He was biking home from his job at an optical center in Plantation when he pedaled through Victoria Park and came upon the pack of about 900 cyclists. He turned east on 16th Street and tried to pass the mob, traveling just over the double-yellow line near the street's 1700 block. That's when a cop, he and several witnesses tell Pulp, started trying to force him into the crowd.

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Fort Lauderdale Cops Tackle Critical Mass Cyclist on Video

via YouTube
Dan Littell says he was tackled by the cops for asking them to slow down.
Dan Littell was crossing Las Olas bridge as part of last night's Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass when a police vehicle whizzed by him and his fellow riders. He knew bridges were particularly dangerous places for cyclists in an already inhospitable town. In the past, Littell had been hit on both Sunrise Bridge and an overpass on Broward Boulevard near I-95.

So seeing a cop car flagrantly speed down a bridge crowded with cyclists compelled him to say something. "Slow down!" he shouted at the driver, just as he would have with any other person making the road unsafe.

See also: Leader of Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass Hurt in Bicycling Accident

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South Florida Bikers Sliced and Diced by Unsafe Drawbridges

Categories: Bike Life, News

Photo by Herb Neufeld via Flickr CC
Drawbridge at SE Third Ave. in Fort Lauderdale.
Biking in South Florida is dangerous. Given what we see in the news cycle on an almost daily basis down here, that can be said flatly.

Hell, last year cyclists riding down the Rickenbacker Causeway were shot in the leg and back by teenagers armed with BB-Guns.

So, after a cyclist took a bad fall over a wet grated bridge recently, Transit Miami put up a Facebook status asking for any cyclists that had befallen to similar injuries, people that had ridden on dangerous bridges across South Florida.

The answer from the community was swift and, well, sad: Cuts that demanded stitches, Broken bones and worse, Basically, the bridges are a slice and dice for the athletic set.

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82-Year-Old Tamarac Cyclist Killed in Collision With Van

Categories: Bike Life, News

Wikimedia Commons
Another day, another bicyclist is a victim of getting hit by a car.

On Monday morning, Oscar Aleman, an 82-year-old father and grandfather of 19, was riding his bike on McNab Road and NW 70th Avenue when he collided with what police describe as a 2004 Chevrolet Express.

Aleman was treated at the scene by Tamarac Fire Rescue and Broward Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue before being airlifted to Broward Health Medical Center.

Aleman died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

See also: Fort Lauderdale Is Among Top Cities Where You'll Get Killed Crossing the Street

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