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Critical Mass Continues Despite Heavy Police Presence

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Despite a warning from Miami’s Police Chief, cyclists once again took over city streets for the monthly Critical Mass bike ride through downtown Miami.

Hundreds of riders set out from the Stephen P. Clark Center Friday night, just days after Chief Manuel Orosa proclaimed “Critical Mass has turned into critical mess.”

From deliberately blocking traffic to riding without helmets, police say some riders too often break the rules of the road.

But first-timer Diego Deleon says he obeys the laws.

“I want to prove that not everybody is like that. I stop at every light. I stop at every stop sign,” Deleon said.

The ride seemed smaller Friday, perhaps some cyclists opted to stay home to avoid the threat of a citation, but it was by no means an unsuccessful event.

In fact, a few riders made an effort to occasionally stop at lights and allow cars to squeeze through from time to time.

“I’ve been a driver. I know how annoying it is when a biker can cross in front of you and it becomes a dangerous situation,” cyclist Juan Carlos Gonzalez said.

Driver at some intersections did try to reclaim the road. In some instances, they were successful. A county bus was scene driving through the crowd along Northwest 2nd Avenue.

But some drivers remained stranded, forced to wait out the mass.

“I have no idea what’s happening,” Amy Perez said as she attempted to drive through the intersection.

Even though it tied up her commute, she says she can appreciate the spirit behind the event.

“I guess they’re pretty successful because we can’t get anywhere right now. It’s working for them. It’s a great cause I guess,” Perez explained.

Of all the sounds heard along the route, from bells and horns to music and cheering, the sirens were silent.

Cops appeared to their distance In spite of the earlier warning and it seems the cyclists will keep on pedaling.

“I hope that we can all learn from this and remember no one is to blame. Cyclists, drivers  or the police. This is really about the city about adopting this and making Miami more bicycle friendly,” Eric Madrid said.

For now, it looks like Critical Mass is here to stay.

Remember, it happens on the final Friday of every month, so if you really don’t want to deal with it, just check the route ahead of time, and avoid the area if you can.

Watch Lauren Pastrana’s report, click here.

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