Wednesday 2 March 2011

Motorist Behaviour - From Darlington to Porto Alegre

Two problems stood out when the Beauty and the Bike group from Bremen visited Darlington - the lack of good quality infrastructure, and the aggressive behaviour of motorists towards cyclists.
This is a world-wide phenomenon in car-centric societies. First, roads are designed for the motorist. Second, cyclists are “invited” to share them. Third, motorists get frustrated with non-motorised traffic getting in the way on “their” road. Usually, these manifest themselves as isolated incidents between individuals. But a more serious event hit the headlines last week.
Twenty cyclists were violently struck on Friday February 25 while participating in a Critical Mass ride in Porto Alegre, Brazil. An angry motorist attacked a section of the ride, hitting dozens of vulnerable cyclists. After being arrested, the driver Ricardo Neis, claims that he did this in self defence.
Tonight, a ride will be organised entitled SACA LA BICI. RUTA POR LA PAZ (Use the Bike, the Path to Peace), in Querétaro, Mexico, is one of a number of international protests seeking justice for cyclists, and the freeing of public spaces currently overrun by the irresponsible culture of the car.