Cyclists Protest Against Mexico City’s Poor InfrastructureBy Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Mon, 02/15/2021 - 18:02
Mexico City saw a total of 11,153 biking accidents in 2020, of which 278 were fatal, reported Milenio, using data from the Ministry of Public Security. Bike mobility in Mexico City has increased a whopping 221 percent since March 2020, according to the Ministry of Mobility, leading the city’s government to build 54km of bicycle lanes to address the growing need, reported MBN. This increase in cycling activity has also led to more accidents in the city. “As the number of users increased, the number of accidents did as well,” highlighted the Ministry, according to Milenio.
So far, there have been seven fatal accidents in 2021, reports La Jornada. “These (accidents) also show a total lack of road culture among public road users, whether they are motorcycle riders, cyclists or pedestrians. The decrease in street traffic derived from lockdowns, which caused an increase in speeding, one of the main causes of all the accidents in Mexico City,” said the Mexican Confederation of Business Owners (COPARMEX).
Because of these accidents, on Feb. cyclists took Mexico City’s streets to demand stricter safety measures from authorities. Local police reacted with excessive force and a confrontation arose when protesters tried to access the second floor of the Periférico, leaving several protesters with injuries in the head and face, reported El País. Claudia Sheinbaum, Major of Mexico City, tweeted the day of the protests that “police brutality will not be tolerated in her government,” mentioning she had instructed the Minister of Public Security to investigate the officers responsible for these actions, which she described as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘deplorable.’
Protestors were adamant in saying that infrastructural problems, along with preference toward vehicles put cyclists in danger. “There is a new mobility hierarchy, where the pedestrian is king, followed by cyclists, public transportation users and private drivers. It is not about some people having more rights than others. It simply relates to the vulnerability of each user. A vehicle moving at 50km/h is a lethal weapon and speed is a decisive factor in a traffic accident,” Deputy Minister of Planning at SEMOVI Laura Ballesteros told MBN back in 2017. Opportunities to improve are plenty still. There are around 220km of bike lanes in Mexico City, which seems like a lot but it is very little compared to the 10,000 linear km of streets, reported UN News.
COPARMEX urged authorities to readjust budgets so Mexico City can provide the necessary infrastructure for road and bike lane safety. It also invited civil organizations to engage in dialog that encourages a proper road culture for everyone: motorcycle riders, cyclists and pedestrians, reported Milenio.