Critical Mass wins Lords appeal

Critical Mass riders in London

The hundreds of cyclists who ride around central London during the impromptu Critical Mass cycle rides do not have to give advance notice to the police, the Law Lords have ruled.

The rides, which start on the South Bank by the National Theatre on the last Friday of the month, celebrate safe cycling.

The Lords judgement overturns an earlier Court of Appeal ruling that demanded the police should be notified.

The police claimed the event was unlawful as it contravened Section 11 of the Public Order Act 1986 whereby the organisers of a 'procession' must notify the police about the date, route and organisers' names and addresses.

However, the Lords deemed the event to have no leader or set route, so is not subject to the Act.

The ruling specifically states that similar rides in other cities would be lawful.

One long-time Critical Mass participant said of the ruling, "This was a very important case for Critical Mass. We hope it'll encourage others to join the monthly rides, and that cyclists in other cities discover the joys of mass cycle rides."

Critical Mass cycle rides take place in more than 400 cities across the globe, and the monthly London event has been taking place since 1994.

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