Many people prefer cycling over driving in urban mobility in cities like Mexico City (CDMX); this calls for empathy between cyclists and drivers.
“He cut me off!” – that colloquial expression from Mexico now describes the discomfort of cyclists when drivers of private cars invade bike lanes or use the size of their vehicles to intimidate those who prefer cycling as an alternative for urban mobility in large cities.
The spiral of confrontation between cyclists and drivers sometimes goes beyond social media comments and turns into scenes of hostility in the middle of the public road, when in reality, both parties have the same right to the city and to the urban space bounded by traffic rules and regulations, whose respect is everyone’s responsibility.
According to the document “Cycling Mobility in Mexico City” published by the Ministry of Mobility (SEMOVI), CDMX already has more than 300 kilometers of cycling infrastructure, and it is expected to double by 2024. However, this scenario involves only 3% of the total trips made in the capital being done by bicycle, so it is necessary to coexist with other modes of transportation: metro, metrobús, light rail, eco-taxis, and yes… also private vehicles.
The following comparison illustrates the challenges of reconciling the transit of cyclists and drivers when the authorities have already made an investment in terms of cycle paths:
As seen, a separated bike lane from the vehicular flow is just the first step towards mutual respect between bicycles, cars, and other vehicles. A bidirectional awareness campaign is also necessary, where both cyclists and drivers become responsible for respecting the designated spaces for other moving individuals:
- Not invading
- Respecting the direction of each street
- Always cycling below the speed limit
- Signaling turns with indicators
- Observing traffic lights and pedestrian crossings
We must leave behind confrontation and the rhetoric of “cyclists vs. drivers.” It is not about that. Reconciling the right to the city as a public good enjoyed by everyone implies leadership from the authorities, but also shared responsibility from people who commute, regardless of their means of transportation.
From your perspective, what measures or actions are needed to eliminate the “cut-offs” and reconcile cyclists with drivers?