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Social Issues: “A critical Mess” by Scott Rowan Essay

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Updated: Mar 21st, 2020

In his article “A critical Mess”, Scott Rowan highlights the problems associated with the monthly cycling event ‘Critical Mass’ in the streets of Chicago. In his argument, Rowan, the president of Sherpa Multimedia, explains the pains and frustrations that the Chicago community undergoes when the cyclists take to the streets demonstrating their riding skills and claiming that it is their constitutional right to do so. I tend to agree with Rowan that the problem can be solved through corporate sponsorship.

Specifically, the cyclists take to the streets without warning, blocking the roads and shouting obscene words at other road users, who are forced to stick in the traffic for several minutes or even hours. Even more worrying is the time at which the event takes place.

Almost every Critical Mass event takes place on Fridays and in the morning rush hour when most of the city commuters are moving towards their workplaces. If corporations are involved in sponsoring the cyclists, the companies involved are likely to consider their social responsibility and rights of others by making sure that the sponsored participants are educated on the need to respect other road users.

Noteworthy, it is embarrassing to note that the cyclists have the support of the authorities. The Chicago City Hall has recognized the rights of the cycles to assemble and express their conscience about the affairs of the city. Rowan states that “…Every time they start their “en mass” movement, the police always give them escort and protection…” (Rowan 12). They do not recognize other people’s rights and affairs.

I recognize the right of the people to assemble and expression. I also support the right of the cycles to claim that the city planners did not recognize cyclers as normal road users. Therefore, I believe corporations can determine the best time and place for the event because it will be a form of business. Thus, the organizations will ensure that they adhere to civil and traffic rules and regulations.

However, it is clear that the main problem concerns the behavior of the participants. Although they have the right to assemble, I do not think the constitution grants them the right to disrupt the public. In most of the events, some participants attend the event while under the influence of alcohol (Schweitzer 18).

They abuse other road users, cause traffic jam and sometimes accidents. On their part, the city authorities have failed to consider the economic loss associated with the event. A minute delay in the city’s traffic means a loss to the economy, yet the city’s coffers have huge deficits. When corporations are involved, they will be accountable for any behavior and problems caused by cyclists. Therefore, they are likely to ensure that the cyclists are registered before they are allowed to participate.

Instead of finding better methods of solving the problem, the authorities and the media support the event and the hooliganism associated with it. In his article, Rowan suggests that the city of Chicago should “…consider the initiatives that the organizers of the 2012 London Olympics did- corporate sponsorship” (Rowan 12).

According to Rowan, corporate sponsorship will turn the chaotic event into a profitable monthly event that will attract genuine and decent cyclers into the city. He argues that it will ensure that motorists are safe and the hooliganism will cease.

I must agree with Rowan on this matter. Providing corporate sponsorship does not necessarily mean that the riders will behave. However, it will attract decency because the sponsors will be held liable for any problem associated with the behavior of the riders. Corporations that sponsor the event will be responsible for any damages made, including accidents, public disruption and traffic jams.

Thus, they will try to hold the event at the appropriate time and place in order to avoid some of these problems. On their part, the riders will be required to behave in the appropriate manner and ensure that their actions do not violate the rights of other road users.

Works Cited

Rowan, Scott. “Critical Mess…uh En Masse.” Chicago Tribune 2 Oct. 2011: 12. Print

Schweitzer, Kevin. “Bike’s Messengers: Critical Mass a Rolling Example of Cycling’s Appeal”. Chicago Tribune 25 May 2003: 18. Print

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