In hyper-dynamic São Paulo, South America’s largest city, people battle for space every day – and never more so than out on the roads. This weekend, the battle hit a macabre low, when a 21-year old hit-and-run driver threw the detached arm of a cyclist he had struck into one of the city’s filthy rivers
Worlds collide on the streets of the mega-city
By Claire Rigby, in Folha de S.Paulo
‘… São Paulo is not safe for bicycles: according to new figures, nine cyclists are hospitalized in SP each day. The city’s dense, stressed traffic is a menace to its pedestrians as well as cyclists, and most of all to motorcyclists, who die at the rate of five a day, in the state of São Paulo. Aside from the ciclofaixas, a small network of permanent ‘ciclovia’ cycle routes and a handful of patchy bike-rental and park-and-ride schemes, the city has pitiful provision for bicycles. And its army of drivers, addicted to their cars, have little experience of sharing the road with cyclists – and seemingly little desire to learn. …
And yet, often unacknowledged by bike enthusiasts, there are parts of São Paulo in which cycling reaches ‘European proportions’, as reported by Vanessa Correa in a feature in Folha’s saopaulo magazine last September. On pock-marked, pitted, sometimes unpaved streets, thousands upon thousands of cyclists use a mixture of rickety bikes and sleek, prized specimens to come and go, navigating their neighbourhoods and setting out on long rides to work in the city. It’s an army of David Santos de Souzas, and they don’t need to be encouraged to use bicycles: they have no other option.’
Read the rest.
Fabio Braga/Folhapress image of the naked bike ride along Avenida Paulista, Saturday night, 9 March 2013.