Chile seeks to become anti-bike laughingstock

Bicycling on the sidewalk, Valparaiso, Chile. Plagiarized photo, click for original.

I leave Santiago for a week and they try to destroy all that is good about the city. First my favorite produce market burns up, and now the government tries to ban cycling on the street, putting the city’s booming cyclist population onto the sidewalk. A call to your local Chilean embassy would be most useful in properly humiliating the country for even considering a law like this. Translated from the website of the Furiosas Ciclistas (Cycling Furies):

To the press, citizens afoot, cyclists, congressmembers and any other authorities:

The Cycling Furies Movement considers to be an aberration the proposed law [by various members of the ruling UDI party] which seeks to prohibit bicycle travel on the country’s streets and to oblige use of the sidewalks.

In Chile, pedestrians have few quality spaces, and the traffic law is clear: Vehicles must travel in the street. The bicycle is a vehicle! and we have more than 15 years standing up for this fact.

We believe that the deputies and their teams have lost their compass as they seek to reduce traffic accidents by eliminating cyclists from the streets.
We must inform the deputies that in the last 5 years cycling incidents have declined despite the lack of action by any congressmember or politician, in the absence of safety-promotion campaigns and ongoing security and the weak quality of the built infrastructure.

Esteemed congressmembers: If in truth you wish to reduce traffic accidents, cut the speed limits on urban streets and highways, improve traffic education in the schools that in reality today is nonexistent, increase the controls on new drivers, improving the quality of the drivers’ license process and finally revoke licenses from those who are in more than two traffic incidents in their life, regardless of whether it was their fault or not.

In this context, we add our bodies and our call to pedestrians and cyclists to demonstrate Monday at 8 pm at Plaza Italia.

Here is a news article on the same topic. If you want to remind the Chilean government that such a law would make the country into a global laughingstock, feel free to call their local embassy. Contact info here.

PS: Here’s what it’s like to ride on the sidewalks in Chile!

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