Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Anything But an Accident
Anti-cyclist attitudes amongst a minority of motorists in Darlington are well known. We have had many reports of aggressive drivers shouting and abusing cyclists on our streets. And I have previously blogged about the reaction to cyclist Norman Fay's death on the Croft Road in 2008. Most traffic planners, and many politicians, in the UK blindly continue to encourage this kind of "the roads belong to us" attitude amongst motorists. But this shocking video from Porto Alegre in Brazil is in another league.
It shows a motorist deliberately ploughing through a large group of cyclists. The incident took place last week during a Critical Mass Ride there. It has provoked a string of solidarity rides in Latin America, and indictment of the driver for attempted murder. It is not a video for the squeamish.
Critical Mass rides reveal the poverty of current traffic management thinking in countries like our own. Cyclists are expected to share road space with motorised traffic, but when there are enough cyclists on the road we suddenly become "an obstruction". My own understanding is that "congestion" is the correct term, and that it is an issue at the top of the agenda for traffic planners to do something about - like providing better infrastructure.
And I refuse to label this post "accident"!
You can see more world-wide condemnation of the incident on Beauty and the Bike's Facebook page.
EDIT: Picture from the Buenos Aires solidarity ride: