A version of this post was originally published by Maria Fernanda Cavalcanti in Portuguese onTheCityFix Brasil on July 25, 2011.
Bicycles are a great ally in the fight for healthier communities through sustainable transport. However, a survey by the Department of Transit of Rio Grande do Sul (RS-DETRAN) featured in Zero Hora, a Brazilian newspaper based in the city of Porto Alegre, revealed an alarming rate of fatal accidents in 2011 involving cyclists. According to the article, in Rio Grande do Sul there was a 60 percent increase in cycling accidents when compared to the same time period last year.
There were 53 deaths in five months. This survey shows that cities are still ill prepared to provide the necessary infrastructure and security for the cycling population.
“People are relying on bicycles more, but there isn’t a dedicated space to these vehicles,” explains Luis Antonio Lindau, the CEO of EMBARQ Brasil, the Brazilian branch of EMBARQ (the producer of this blog). Since its founding, EMBARQ Brasil has supported and encouraged public policies and projects that promote the use of bicycles in large cities. “Today the bike accounts for between two to three percent of the modal non-motorized transport, but this percentage can reach rates as high as in Europe, around 20 percent,” says Lindau.
With the number of riders continuing to rise, planned changes are necessary to avoid an increase in accidents. The implementation of physically separated bike lanes, as well as clear and visible signage, is essential. Also, the re-education of the whole population is important to strengthen the “bike culture” in the country, and thus show that the bike is not an obstacle in traffic, but rather a “clean” option.
Read the newspaper article in Portuguese and find solutions to prevent bicycle accidents, identified by the publication.