Bikes in the public thoroughfare

Research carried out in Buenos Aires City, in January/February, 2013 based on a total amount of 1,564 observed bikes (work days, from 9 to 18):

  • non-use of helmet 82 %
  • circulation against traffic 19 %
  • they don’t stop when traffic lights are red 71 %
  • they don’t have lights 87 %
  • they don’t have reflective materials 61 %
  • they don’t respect pedestrian priority 92 %
  • they don’t signal with their arms before manoeuvring 98 %


*Conducts which are legally compulsory whose non-compliance endangers cyclists and/or other people’s lives or physical integrity, as well.

 

ESTIMATION OF MORTALITY IN ARGENTINA

Total amount of deaths in Argentina
(Luchemos por la Vida) in 2012: 7,485

We estimate that
8% of the dead people were cyclists, that is, 598.

 

Conclusions

Figures show, once again, a worrying fact: most cyclists ride their bikes without respecting basic traffic rules, not only regarding the circulation (traffic direction, respecting traffic lights, and so on), but also with regard to regulations about the vehicle to be able to circulate (lights, reflective materials) and, although it is compulsory by Law, most of them don’t use helmets, which is a serious risk for their lives.

There are three main factors that contribute to this serious situation:

-Lack of traffic education. Cyclists, like the rest of the population, have hardly received traffic education. They don’t understand that, since they circulate along the road with a vehicle, they must know and respect traffic rules. And that they are, after pedestrians, the most vulnerable ones in traffic system, which is aggravated by drivers of other kind of vehicles who neither respect cyclists’ rights nor take into account their fragility.
-Lack of controls. If, in general, traffic is neglected by authorities who must enforce law, which can be seen just by driving a while along any street, cyclists seem to be invisible for them. Bicycles are not object of control for traffic agents. This indifference strengthens among cyclists the belief that traffic rules are not for them. And it doesn’t help them internalize the respect for the rules concerning to their safety.
-Lack of appropriate infrastructure: bike paths are at an incipient stage in Buenos Aires, where they need to be improved in different aspects, and they are almost nonexistent in the surroundings.
There are scarcity and failures in traffic signals. Besides, a lot of bike paths are blocked by parked cars, dumpers, and so on.