Bikers in Sao Paulo Homage Fallen Cyclist, Claim More Respect in the Streets


Photo: Paulo Fehlauer.

As much as we love bikes and biking, these are the pictures of them we never want to see. The sad photos in this post show a ghost bike homage and demonstration in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, over the running-down of 40 year-old prominent bike-activist Marcia Prado. The accident heated the long claim of the city's bikers for more space and respect in the streets.

Did you know that every four days, a biker is killed in Sao Paulo? Find out more about the situation and see more pics and after the jump.Márcia Regina de Andrade Prado was a well-known bike activist who was run-down by a bus last January 14. Her accident exposed one more time the fragile situation of bikers in large cities and caused great mobilization among the Sao Paulo's bikers.

A group of them held a demonstration last January 15, in which they placed a ghost bike as a memorial on the Avenida Paulista (the main artery of the city). They also published an open letter called Manifest of the Invisibles, with sound words about the disrespect they go through every day in the city.

"Driver, what would you do if people said you could only drive in some special street, because your car doesn’t have an airbag? And that, where these paths don’t exist, you could not transit?," the text begins. "We are not claiming for bike paths, we are claiming for respect. For the traffic laws, for life," they say.


A graffiti on the street where the accident occurred. Photo: Paulo Fehlauer.

Even though this particular accident is recent, the issue is not new. According to records from Sao Paulo's Mayor Office, every four days a cyclist is killed in the city (Nosso Quintal). This is based in statistics from 2006 and the first semester of 2007, when 84 and 47 seven people were killed, respectively. The accidents have raised 62.7% in the period of 2004-2007 (ISTOE).

It's not so hard to believe the accidents considering Sao Paulo only holds 29.5 kilometers of bike paths for 250 thousand bikers, nothing compared to the situation in cities like Bogota or New York, which have 300 and 675 kilometers of paths, respectively (ISTOE).

Just a day before she was killed, Marcia Andrade had spoken to magazine ISTOE about this: "(In the past 20 years) Drivers have become much more aggressive. There used to be a lot more care for the bikers. The most difficult drivers are those on buses and motorcycles." One day later, she was a victim of them.


An image of the flower homage to Marcia Prado. Photo: Mario Amaya.

News like these prove how far some cities are from a true bike culture that provides safety for people who choose this vehicle.

But that doesn't mean that we have to give up. Instead, be sure to take bike-safety measures and go ahead and claim for bike respect.

Some organizations that do this are Critical Mass if you're in the US, and Bicicleteada if you're in Brazil.


Bikers gathered in Sao Paulo. Photo: Mario Amaya.

For more on the accident, check the coverage at O Globo, Folha de Sao Paulo.

Via: Tipster Vitor Leal

More on Bike Memorials and Bike Safety:
Taking Back the Streets: Cyclist Memorials
Bike Safety Tips
Freakonomics on Bike Safety

Tags: Activism | Bikes | Biking | Brazil