Every hour, 365 days a year, 3 Mexicans die from a traffic accident. Which places, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), are in 7th place worldwide with the highest number of deaths due to traffic incidents.
Deaths are “morally tolerable”
The number of traffic deaths has become a statistic that represents a “morally tolerable” death rate in our culture. Well, Mexicans are willing to tolerate 24 thousand deaths per year to preserve our cult of the automobile. For getting women’s bike, women’s bike size chart.
And I want us to be clear, without, for this reason, we put aside the responsibility that corresponds to each one. In the deaths of those more than 24 thousand Mexican men and women that happen annually, there is invariably a car involved.
In that shameful 7th place in deaths worldwide that we occupy, it is motorists who put the most victims, it is true. But even more dishonorable is that the highest number of deaths without owning a car are: pedestrians, followed by cyclists, as estimates from the Ministry of Health indicate that at least 20 people are run over daily in Mexico City while transport by bicycle. Keep reading https://celb.org/how-to-store-a-bike-in-small-apartment/
Invading “your” space
Many, but especially motorists, say that the causes of these accidents are that pedestrians and users of bicycles and other types of active and alternative transport such as skateboards or scooters are invaders of their space, but in a city that allocates more than 60% of its surface for cars, it is very difficult not to “invade” the supposed space of cars.
So, if we put aside the criminalization of victims for transporting themselves in something other than cars, it turns out that the real causes are the lack of adequate road infrastructure to have stricter speed limits for cars, coupled with a total lack of respect for traffic regulations, and that not to mention that any Mexican can buy a driver’s license with all the laws of the law without knowing how to drive, there are even people who are blind and have a driver’s license.
To which motorists will refute with cruelty that really gives chills, and not because they do not take their share of the blame, but because for them it is simply absurd that there are people walking or transporting themselves in alternative means to the car.
From the outset, and without verifiable evidence or call it scientific, they will tell you that they did not see the pedestrian or cyclist, that he asked for it, that we feel like rubber, any kind of implausible excuse, but that at the end of the day, we cost thousands of lives and billions of pesos a year.
The first skateboard user is run over by a car
One of the most notorious cases in recent days is the death of a user of an electric skateboard who died due to the run over by a taxi driver on Avenida Chapultepec in Mexico City. And once again, the wave of recriminations to the victim did not wait. The famous “is that” with which many Mexicans began our excuses: “is that he did not have a helmet”; “Is that they feel like rubber” and so on until they hear the most absurd thing their minds are capable of dictating to them.
Now, few really question themselves with verifiable and measurable facts about those road safety campaigns -which in reality is a simulation- that it is nothing more than a distraction to continue with the hegemony of the automobile and that, in reality, what they are looking for is not share the streets with the pedestrian, cyclist, “skateboard” or anyone who does not go in a car, and who on many occasions do not even want to share with each other.
All those recriminations towards bicycle users because they wear high visibility clothing (reflective) and a helmet is nothing more than to show who really owns the roads and our city: the car!
And it is so because among his report of reproaches is the: “why don’t they use the sidewalk to walk?”, To which we must answer: have you ever used a sidewalk in the city? They are almost non-existent, or in the best of cases, they are impassable or the “go to the bike path.” I would ask them the same: have you tried to go from A to B on the same bike path?
The criminalization of victims
With the arrival of the car and the chaos it created with a trail of death in its wake, we clung to our humanity, and even though cities called for stricter traffic laws and better enforcement. The auto industry responded by mounting a propaganda war disguised as a safety campaign. One of his greatest successes was the invention of the concept of “reckless pedestrian” or, more recently, “the city is not made for bicycles,” which effectively robbed us of our right of way.
Today the carnage still exists, but we have sublimated any trace of indignation over death, blaming the victim, be it a pedestrian, user of the bicycle or skateboard. Indeed, we have lost equal access to public roads, reducing it to fewer options than we are willing and able to pay thanks to the expensive bill that the car has not passed.
Thanks to him, today we have an optimized infrastructure for private vehicles, a disappointing and insufficient public transport network, and the laws seek to criminalize cyclists and pedestrians, so the bulk of the population refuses to accept any other form of transport other than the private car.
And the prevailing idea regarding equality and the right to roads is the “idea of equals”: an insidious form of inequality in which it is claimed that the powerful and the weak are exactly the same. And, of course, it is not the same to pedal on a lane in which a car is accelerating with its 800 kg weight behind the cyclist of 80 kg.
Without a helmet, you are guilty
We are already at the point where every incident involving a car and a bicycle, the police always assume that it is an “accident”, and drivers are allowed unlimited apologies to evade justice, it is always their fault of the cyclist; pedestrian and lately of the “skateboard” as well, and where not wearing a helmet is automatically equivalent to being guilty.
Always a suspicious indictment looms over pedestrians and cyclists. Now they have started to toughen the laws and regulations for cyclists in their joke of equal rights and obligations for all. But do not be fooled. This only seeks to criminalize the weakest.
Vision Zero: no loss of life is acceptable
This is why the automotive industry, the insurance industry and government officials want to pressure the prohibition of alternative vehicles and active mobility, with the obligatory nature of the helmet and the tightening of the rules for cyclists.
First of all, what is forcing people to wear helmets is avoiding responsibilities around cyclists and absolving governments of the need to build better infrastructure for pedestrians and bicycles, as well as forcing motorists to obey traffic laws, sound familiar?
Put this styrofoam on your head. With that, you will be safe!
Do you want to be more secure? They tell us cyclists. Well, we are only going to build 40km of bicycle infrastructure, because they take up too much free parking. Put this styrofoam on your head. With that, you will be safe!
Please! The statistics of head injuries in cycling are so ambiguous that even many governments have had to stop their intention to enact mandatory helmet laws, even the manufacturers of helmets do not dare to certify their product to protect beyond a fall of the cyclist without involving a collision with another vehicle or other object.
The utopia of the automobile that does not run over
Automakers have changed, too, haven’t they? Now they are very friendly and adorable. No more Henry Ford, the anti-Semite, now it’s Bill Ford, Jr., the sponsor on the bike share.
Now they are making electric cars and family vans with sensors and cameras to compensate for a century of neglect by the driver towards the most vulnerable road users, and which has been culturally reinforced. Oh, and let’s not forget the technology companies: Google and Apple, who are going to make the car that crashes and runs over pedestrians and cyclists, a thing of the past, and soon, we will all be around the utopia of the pushchair self-driving golf.
Do not be fooled. That the plans of the auto companies, with the help of the governments, are actually devious, so insidious, and terrifying that they will turn pedestrians and cyclists, all alike, into reckless trespassers on the streets.
Before we start banning mobility options, let’s make sure motorists stop killing people, themselves included.