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Numerous Pedestrian Deaths on São Paulo, Brazil's Treach...

Numerous Pedestrian Deaths on São Paulo, Brazil's Treacherous New Bike Lane

A 78-year-old man was killed after being struck by a cyclist on the ciclovia (cycling path) underneath the Minhocão expressway in the center of São Paulo, Brazil. The incident occurred in the central median of Rua Amaral Gurgel around 3 p.m. on Monday, August 17, 2015. Florisbaldo Carvalho da Rocha lived in the area and was

Cyclists in São Paulo , Brazil

A 78-year-old man was killed after being struck by a cyclist on the ciclovia (cycling path) underneath the Minhocão expressway in the center of São Paulo, Brazil. The incident occurred in the central median of Rua Amaral Gurgel around 3 p.m. on Monday, August 17, 2015.

Florisbaldo Carvalho da Rocha lived in the area and was on his way to buy bread when he was hit after crossing outside of the crosswalk. He was taken into Santa Casa Hospital, but did not survive the injuries, and died from brain trauma.

The case was registered in the Police District 23 and the cyclist must respond for involuntary manslaughter, as there was no intent to kill.

The son of the victim, Eduardo Carvalho Rocha, said that the cyclist was moving at a high speed.

“My father left to buy bread, he crossed the street, and when he stepped in the pedestrian part of the ciclovia, he was hit by a bicycle. The bicycle came at a high speed, hit him and consequently, since he was already an elderly person, he suffered injuries and passed away,” he stated.

The Rua Amaral Gurgel ciclovia, in the center of São Paulo, opened only ten days prior to the accident, and since its opening, pedestrians have been complaining about the conflict in the use of space, which previously functioned primarily as a sort-of median for those crossing the two-way street.

Minhocão ciclovia, São Paulo , Brazil

The problem happens when the pedestrians, some of them heading to the bus stops, walk underneath the Minhocão. In the narrow spaces between the road and the pillars of the overpass, they end up walking along the bike path. Both the pedestrians and the cyclists have their vision blocked at certain points by the pillars.

A nine-year old boy was also killed after being struck by a van that was driving in the bike lane on Avenida Bento Guelfi, in the São Mateu neighborhood in the east zone of São Paulo. That ciclovia, which is located right in the middle of the road, is quite dangerous. The lane has signage, a pedestrian lane, and markings that separate it from the car lane, but according to the residents, many motorists do not respect these signs.

Cyclists

The bike-exclusive lanes are located underneath the Elevated Costa and Silva Highway, locally referred to as the Minocão (“giant worm”), and extend 4.1 kilometeres.

The most recent stretch is comprised of Amaral Gurgel Road, and the São João, General Olímpio da Silveira and Auro de Moura Andrade Avenues. The construction began in January 2015 with a cost of R$ 7.6 million, which included resizing the bus stops, revitalization of the corridor, and accessibility upgrades. Even before the official inauguration, this new stretch was already being used by cyclists.

The new ciclovia connects Roosevelt Square to the Barra Funda bus terminal, going through the city center and the neighborhoods of Santa Cecília, Vila Buarque and Barra Funda, and connects to the existing ciclovias on Frederico Abranches, Largo do Arouche, alameda Nothmann, and Doutor Alburquerque Lins roads.

Controversy

Even before the inauguration, the new ciclovia received criticism, but this time it was not from the motorists, who lost a travel lane, but from the pedestrians complaining about the lack of safety when crossing the Minhocão.

Pedestrians are trapped in the middle of the street, and when it’s time to cross, they can be hit by cyclists, since the pillars of the Minhocão cause the cyclists to veer off course.

Bike Racks

The ciclovia connects to the bike racks located on Roosevelt Square and at the Latin American Memorial. Beyond this, it’s connected to other modes of transport, such as the Amaral Gurgel bus terminal, which also has bike racks, the Marechal Deodoro metro stations, and the  Barra Funda bus and metro terminal.

How safe are the bike facilities in your city for pedestrians and cyclists? Are they well integrated with other transport modes? Are there similar conflicts in the use of shared space? Share your thoughts and city’s stories in the comments below.

Original article, originally published in Portuguese here.

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

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Anna Petrone is a transportation engineering masters student at the University of Maryland, with a Bachelor in Math and Economics. Her interests lie in transportation projects located in developing countries, particularly in South America. She took a...

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