Global Street Party, 16 May 1998 - report


Due to traditionally high social and environmental awareness of fellow Ljubljana people, we decided the best option for us is a Critical Mass action on bikes. We had the best intentions to organize a real Reclaim the Streets party, but since no one else showed any interest and we were too few, we went for the easier option.

More than 700 posters were put up and more than 700 leaflets handed out by just a handful of people. We also had a weekly radio-show talk about it and a lot of informal propaganda, just to make sure that "everyone" knew about it. Despite that, only around 40 people showed up with their bikes, inline skates, wheelchairs or on foot... perhaps because it was Saturday and we gathered at 12:00 so the punters were still asleep?! Anyway, 40 or 4000, we had a jolly good time biking around the city centre - our Ministry of Correct Image, Department of Statistics informed all Critical Massers after the action that we cycled around 5 kms (in 1 hour) with the average speed of 5.3 km/h! The weather was really nice, too, and amazingly, we had no bigger hassles with the police. At one point two men in blue on foot tried to get us off the road, but were promptly ignored, but other than that... nothing! A really nice surprise, especially considering that when we organised a Critical Mass action in 1996, the police were really aggressive, and also now there's a new traffic law in Slovenia, very strict and in practice targetting cyclists and pedestrians more than the car drivers or so it seems at least here in Ljubljana.

Other than the joyous action, the good thing that came out of this Critical Mass action is that we already have the next two planned: for 20th of June and 10th of July, with a promise of being even more colorful, funny and loud.

At the end of the day, i have to say i was quite satisfied with the turnout (although i made a bet beforehand that there would be more than 100 people), because there's just no awareness among people either of Critical Mass actions/idea or the fact that they can get off their arses and do something (and have fun doing it).

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