Bicyclists ride through Miami Beach in Critical Mass event

Miami officers ride with bikers for safety reasons

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Hundreds of bicyclists rode Friday night through Miami Beach in a Critical Mass event.

The route took bicyclists through east Little Havana, Liberty City, Little Haiti, North Bay Village and then Miami Beach before crossing back over to downtown Miami.

"Critical Mass is not sponsored or sanctioned by either the city of Miami Beach or the city of Miami, and no special event permits are issued," Miami Beach Mayor said in a released statement ahead of the event. "In fact there is no central Critical Mass organization."

The statement went on to say, "While we don't encourage, organize or sponsor Critical Mass, bicyclists are welcome on Miami Beach ... That said, traffic violations that endanger anyone will not be tolerated."

The event, which happens the last Friday of every month, has been criticized in recent months by law enforcement officials, some of whom have dubbed the event a "critical mess."

Police said bicyclists had not been following traffic laws and are causing unsafe conditions and heavy traffic congestion, even getting into altercations with drivers.

Those who attend the event, however, said it's meant to promote bicyclist rights on the road and that not all participants misbehave.

Miami police, however, have now joined the movement by allowing its officers to ride with bikers for safety reasons.

Both Miami and Miami Beach police departments are using motorcades to ensure the safety of citizens and try to get all cyclists through the course as quickly and easily as possible.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine wrote he has instructed the "police department to explore innovative ways in the future to minimize any inconvenience" to residents.

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