Has Critical Mass Outgrown its Purpose in San Diego?

The question about critical mass comes up more and more often in San Diego: is it effective, and does it accomplish anything? I would say that it has, in some way, accomplished something. It has brought cycling to the forefront. Where things were an anomaly, that is, us crazy bike riders all out in traffic, we are now recognized, of course in concert with others' efforts. The police, who were often anti-cyclist, or in some cases, rationally ignorant of our status, now pay attention. And, critical mass has actually bridged gaps and built new niches.

The problem now however is its extreme size. With this size comes the potential to fizzle and attract the negative aspects of mob mentality. Privately I lean toward wanting critical mass to fizzle away because any crowd this large is going to attract extremists of many types. Both publicly and privately, critical mass appears to be drawing the ire of many here in San Diego. It seems that the local news, participants of social media such as yelp.com, facebook.com  and myspace.com all have groups opposed to the idea of critical mass.