Monday, December 21, 2009

84 bicyclists run down and killed in Guadalajara in one year

I worry less about swine flu and armed drug dealers than I do about careless motorists.

Cindy and I don´t ride our bikes here in Guadalajara, nor would we be likely to try it anywhere in Mexico. It just doesn´t seem safe to us.

Today I got confirmation. I read in the paper (Mural) that in 2008, 84 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents in the city of Guadalajara. Eighty-four! In one year! In one city!

In the first nine months this year, 272 pedestrians have been run down and killed by motorists in Guadalajara, but the authorities didn´t break out how many of those were bicyclists. That´s in one city, in nine months.

Drivers on cellphones, so look out

When Cindy and I walk in our neighborhood, we have to be really careful crossing the street. Drivers don´t seem to pay any attention to pedestrians. They ignore red lights, stop signs, everything.

There are lovely trees and bushes along the streets, but you can´t see the traffic, nor can the drivers see you. Even on the sidewalk, you have to dodge cars pulling in and out of illegal parking spaces.

It´s not just legendary Mexican macho. Male and female drivers seem to be on their cellphones all the time.

Driving on the shoulder

Two-lane highways have an imaginary third lane in the middle for use by the bold and impatient.

It´s just as dangerous outside the cities. There´s an unwritten rule that on a two-lane highway, there is an imaginary third lane down the middle for passing. So it is customary for all drivers to stay to the right with two wheels on the shoulder.

Note that our driver has two wheels on the shoulder.

I wouldn´t want to be a bicyclist on any of those two-lane roads.

There is talk of building bike lanes and bike paths in Guadalajara, but I have my doubts. Motorists would ignore the dividing lines, for sure, and if the bikeways were on sidewalks, people would park in them. That´s what they do with the sidewalks.

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