Bicycles (Sort of) Banned From the Democratic Convention

This is a threat to Barack Obama’s security?

You can just see the planning meeting for what organizers are calling the "greenest" national political convention ever. Special perks for hybrids? Check. Biofuel powered buses? Check. Solar powered green area? Check. Bike racks? Nope. Sorry, the Secret Service says they’re too dangerous.

The Colorado Independent reports that there will be no bikes allowed within the DNC perimeter of the Pepsi Center, nor at Invesco Field, where Barack Obama will deliver his acceptance speech. Convention organizers cite the Secret Service and the Denver Police Department as making all security-related mandates.

Meanwhile, national advocacy group Bikes Belong has arranged for 1,000 bicycles to be available during the convention week for free to anyone with I.D. and a credit card.

One can’t help but wonder if the crackdown on Critical Mass at the 2004 Republican National Convention had anything to do with the Secret Service’s view that bicycles represent a security threat. Before the last RNC, officials tried and failed to get Critical Mass banned during the convention. When the ride took place and attracted 5,000 riders, 250 of them ended up in jail.

Photo: blkmarket/Flickr

  • Can you post a link to the policy?

  • James

    This is nuts. So, say I were to decide to ride a scooter or a skateboard into the convention, I’d be good to go?

  • I’m pretty sure that all vehicles are banned from the grounds, but haven’t been able to find out for sure. Oddly, the Secret Service hasn’t returned my phone call.

  • LAAA

    Their were mass arrests of cyclists at the 2000 DNC in LA. They led to lawsuits by the cyclists and a pay-out by LA to settle the case. Some prominent bike advocates from other cities were among those arrested and litigating.

  • I spoke with a staffer from Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s office about this. She said it’s really not a big deal and that all vehicles including cars and bikes are not allowed within a specific perimeter around the buildings for security purposes.

  • Maybe it doesn’t seem like the biggest deal, and maybe it’s out of the hands of the DNC, but the quote from the DNC staffer seemed awfully dismissive of bicyclists to me. Also, if all the bike parking that is available is across the street at the local Metro stop, how many of the attendees are going to make use of the 1,000 bikes that Bikes Belong are bringing to the city will be used?

  • JK

    This headline is misleading. Bikes are not banned. The Secret Service is being prudent. Bikes have been used as bombs in India, Iraq, Northern Ireland and lots of other places. It would be one thing if they allowed cars up close and not bikes. That’s not what’s going on here.

  • There are four bike parking areas on Pepsi Center grounds that are open all year except when the DNC is in town. That sounds like a ban to me.

  • Hoog

    Bikes not Bombs.

    Bikes are Bombs.


    I need get drunk tonight.

  • Dave H.

    This seems like much less of a scandal to me than the headline suggests. You can’t bring bikes inside? Oh well, but do you really need to?

  • i was THERE at the 2004 RNC crackdown – what a crock that was…

    granted, there were FIVE THOUSAND people on bikes – biggest critical mass nyc had ever seen, i think, but i definitely watched a lot of people get manhandled… little did i know that later on that week i’d join many of them in jail (i was held illegally for days, still have a class action lawsuit)…


Party Conventions May Be Bike-Friendly After All

A couple of weeks ago, as part of the "Bike Unfriendly Place of the Week" series at Streetsblog Los Angeles, I took a look at the bike planning at the Democratic National Convention. Local press reports were dire, noting that bike racks near the Pepsi Center in Denver would be closed down as part of […]

How Do We Make Clean Transportation Part of the National Discussion?

Like Joe Biden, Barack Obama also mentioned Amtrak in his acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention, but only in reference to his running mate’s preferred mode of transportation. There were many, many things to be excited about yesterday, but any livable streets advocate anticipating a call to rebuild and expand our nation’s transit infrastructure, […]

Ding Dong Bruce Smolka’s Gone

Newsday is reporting that NYPD Assistant Chief Bruce Smolka has filed for retirement. Smolka is reknowned for his needlessly aggressive tactics in breaking up peaceful political demonstrations, his disregard of basic civil rights and his all-too-frequent abusiveness towards women. In one infamous video he was caught kicking a female demonstrator in the head at a […]

Greenway Shut Tonight for Presidential Forum — Motorists, Carry On

Due to NYPD safety/security measures, bikeway will be closed btwn W. 44th St and W. 55th St, 5-10:30pm tomorrow, 9/7. Plan alternate route. — Hudson River Park (@HudsonRiverPark) September 6, 2016 Ten blocks of the Hudson River Greenway will be closed during evening rush today as a “security” precaution for a presidential candidate event on the USS Intrepid. […]

Will Milwaukee Fall for the Convention Center Shakedown?

This is how it begins: Local leaders in Milwaukee commissioned a study examining whether the city’s convention center is up to snuff. Surprise, surprise, reports Bruce Murphy at Urban Milwaukee: Hunden Strategic Partners, a consulting firm that loves convention centers, says Milwaukee really ought to be pumping a bunch of public money into expanding its convention facilities and a […]