How Mexico City Cyclists Are Using Bicycles to Aid Earthquake Victims
This weekend, more than 250 riders had joined the Acopio en Bici (Donations by Bike) group (Clayton Conn/CT)
Update: Mexico Teaches Quake Volunteers Not to Make Things Worse (Agence France-Presse)
Amid the chaos of last week’s quake in Central Mexico, bicycles have become the missing link, allowing supplies to reach those in need, and averting the paralyzing traffic jams across the city.
Mexico City has a vibrant bike culture, and the city government has invested in a bike-share program, new bike lanes, and other infrastructure. However, cycling groups tend to be divided: riders on fixed gear mountain bikes, and racing bikes all have their own groups. The earthquake relief is a rare example of Mexico City cyclists coming together around a common cause.
“It doesn’t matter if you have a fixed gear or a mountain bike, everybody is coming out to help,” said cycling activist and technology specialist Fernando García. The couriers, known as Acopio en Bici (Donations by Bike), are now riding side by side with commuters on foldable bikes, and young men on sleek touring bikes, typically used for deliveries at local markets.
The Saturday after the earthquake, García put out a call for cyclists to meet on Revolución Avenue in the south of Mexico City. About 20 cyclists were waiting to load plastic sacks on to their bikes to bring to the sites of collapsed buildings, where volunteers were clearing rubble.
... The efforts of cyclists to help earthquake victims has not only changed the attitudes of drivers, but some government institutions.
The Metro system, which usually only allows bikes on Sundays, has permitted cyclists to board trains if they don’t impede other riders. And the city bike-share program is permitting bikes to be used for up to 24 hours, instead of the usual 45-minute limit before applying an extra charge. Several bike shops are offering free repairs to cyclists assisting in earthquake relief.
Across the city, a new type of cooperation is emerging between cyclists, drivers, and motor-cyclists.
Read the rest at Cycling Tips
Related: More Buildings, Perhaps Lives at Risk Following Mexico Quake (Associated Press)
Related: A Bicycle Workshop in Cuba Wheeled By Women (Xinhua)
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