Manifest of the invisibles

About fifty active urban cyclists, among them myself, decided to get together and write an open letter, so that we could have a voice in the discussion about segregated bike lanes, rented bikes and respect in traffic. The letter enriched so much that became a Manifest. The Manifest of the Invisibles. Check it bellow the fold. If you like and agree with what we are saying, feel free to sign it. Just leave a comment and I’ll include your name.  

Driver, what would you do if people said you could only drive in some special street, because your car doesn’t have an airbag? And that, where these paths don’t exist, you could not transit?

To us, citizens who use bicycles as means of transportation, that is the feeling when we hear that “it will only be safe to cycle in São Paulo when there are bike lanes”, or that “bikes mess up traffic”. We need to bike now! And we already do! We and more than 300 thousand people, daily. Do we really need to wait until 2020, when Eduardo Jorge (secretary of Green and Environment of São Paulo) estimates we’ll have 1.000 km of physically separated bike lanes? If the city already has more than 17 thousand km of streets, at least 94% will remain without bike paths. What shall we do when we need to pass thru those streets? Carry up the bike up to the next bike path?

Physically separated bike lanes are just one of the possible infra-structures to improve bicycle usage. Our roads, as well as the city, were designed for private transportation and, when it doesn’t ignore, it puts buses, pedestrians and cyclists in second plan. We don’t need bike paths to bike same way that cars and trucks don’t need to be separated. The bicycle has the legal right of cycling thru practically every street, and even has the preference, guaranteed by the Brazilian Traffic Code, over all motorized vehicles. The evolution of cycling as a way of commuting means citizenship in Europe and functionality in China. We already have, even in South America, a great example of creative solutions: Bogotá.

We are not claiming for bike paths, we are claiming for respect. For the traffic laws, for life. The streets are public and have to be shared between all vehicles, as says the law and good sense. But many people don’t risk cycling because they fear the violent attitude of some drivers. These drivers, thankfully, are a minority, but a minority that scares and hurts.

The recent initiative of the Subway of renting bikes and offering bike-storage facilities is important. It covers a need which is not attended by the public power: the need of safe space to park bikes. Instead of bike lanes, the installation of bike-storages should come with a campaign of traffic education and road signing, to inform drivers that bikers might and shall cycle in the streets of our city. In drivers license courses there isn’t even a paragraph about protecting the cyclist, about the bigger vehicle taking care of the smaller one. They mention the legislation to be memorized without really adequately going thru it. And road signs, when exists, prohibits the bike. It doesn’t communicate drivers about sharing the road, regulating its use or indicates alternative ways to the cyclists. The absence of signs perpetuates the drivers’ egoistic attitude, because it doesn’t legitimize the presence of bikes in the public streets.

Affirming that streets will be safe for bikes only when there’re millions of km of bike lanes seems to be the excuse used by many drivers not to live their cars home. “I’ll only change my habits when there’s a subway station right in front of my door”, while continuing to jam traffic and polluting public spaces. They’re all waiting for others to solve their problems, instead of taking the initiative of building a solution.

We cannot and shall not wait. We need to use our bikes, now, respecting traffic law with safety. We’re already contributing to improve our city’s quality of life. We’ll optimize space in traffic and will not pollute the air. We’ll do our part for (everyone’s) health and share, with those who haven’t experienced it, the pleasure of biking.

We’d rather believe that we can make our city more human, instead of believing that the solution to our problems is supporting the segregation with bike lanes. There’re faster alternatives and solutions that will benefit everyone, if we can unite ourselves and built them together.

The street is ours.  And so is the city.

We, who are also traffic:

Alberto Pellegrini
Alexandre Afonso
Alexandre Catão
Alexandre Loschiavo (Sampabiketour)
Alexandre Palmieri (Kampa)
Alex Gomes ( U-Biker )
Alonzo “Chascon” Zarzosa (Terrorista Latino)
Álvaro Diogo
Ana Paula Cross Neumann (Aninha)
Andre Galhardo
André Mezabarba – Belo Horizonte
André Pasqualini (CicloBR)
André Vinicius Mulho da Costa
Antonio Lacerda Miotto (Pedalante)
Aylons Hazzud
Ayrton Sena Santos do Nascimento
Beto Marcicano (Super Ação!)
Bruno Canesi Morino
Bruno Gola
Carolina Spillari
Cármen Sampaio Amendola
Célia Choairy de Moraes
Chantal Bispo (Eu vou voando)
Chico Macena (www.chicomacena.com.br)
Daniel Ingo Haase (FAHRRAD)
Daniel Albuquerque
Daniel das Neves Magalhães
Daniel Moura
Daniel Ranieri Costa (São Paulo, SP)
Daniela Pastana Cuevas
Danilo M May
Drielle Caroline Alarcon
Eduardo Girão (Estudio Girão)
Eduardo Lopes Merege
Eduardo Marques Grigoletto (CicloAtivando)
Evelyn Araripe
Fabiano Faga Pacheco
Fabricio Mouret
Fabrício Zuccherato (pedal-driven)
Flávio “Xavero” Coelho
Felipe Aragonez (Falanstérios)
Felipe Antônio Paulon Fontes
Felipe Fontes (pensandotorto)
Felipe Martins Pereira Ribeiro
Felippe (Ciclo Urbano)
Fernando Guimarães Norte
Filipe Franco de Souza
Gerhard Grube
Gustavo Bianchini (Total Bike)
Gustavo Fonseca Meyer
Hélio Wicher Neto
Henrique Boney (www.boney.com.br)
Ian Thomaz (Enquanto não Há Fogo)
Isaac Akira Kojima (Total Urbs)
Jeanne Freitas Gibson
João Guilherme Lacerda
José Alberto F. Monteiro
Joao Paulo Pedrosa (Malfadado, o contestatário)
José Paulo Guedes Pinto (Ecologia Urbana)
Juliana da Silva Diehl
Juliana Mateus
Jupercio Juliano de Almeida Garcia
Laércio Luiz Muniz
Larissa Xavier Neves da Silva (Porto Alegre, RS)
Lauro Martins de Oliveira
Leandro Cascino Repolho
Leandro Kruszielski (meandros)
Leandro Valverdes
Leonardo Américo Cuevas Neira
Luciano César Marinho
Lucien Constantino
Luis Sorrilha (BIGSP)
Luiz Humberto Sanches Farias
Maíra Rosauro Zasso (Desembuchando)
Manuela Ortiz
Marcelo Bunscheit (Roda 28)
Marcelo de Almeida Siqueira (http://www.bicicuba.blogspot.com) e (http://www.galeriadoartista.com.br)
Marcelo Império Grillo
Márcia Regina de Andrade Prado
(† 14.1.2009)
Márcio Campos
Marcos Miranda Toeldo – Belo Horizonte
Mariana Zdravca
Mário Canna Pires
Marla Estima Vargas Ranieri Costa
Matias Mignon Mickenhagen
Mathias Fingermann
Maurício Rodrigues de Souza
Mauro Baraldi
Michelle Bertolazi Gimenes
Neide Gaspar
Otávio Remedio
Paula Cinquetti
Paulo V. Delgado
Polly Rosa
Poti Campos (Pedivela)
Rafael Ehlert (Porto Alegre, RS)
Renata Falzoni (falzoni.comnightbikersespn/renatafalzoni)
Renato Panzoldo
Ricardo Lacerda Bruns
Ricardo Nunes (ExtremeFunBikes)
Ricardo Shiota Yasuda
Ricardo Sobral (Bicicleta na Cidade)
Rodrigo Arnoud
Rodrigo Mendonça (www.blog.caminhosturismo.com)
Roberto Piani
Rodrigo Sampaio Primo
Rodrigo Squizato (Blog da Terra)
Ronaldo Toshio
Silvia Düssel Schiros (Faça a sua parte)
Silvio Duarte Moris (http://silviobikersp.multiply.com)
Silvio Tambara (Na medida do humano)
Thatiane Hijano Costa
Thiago Benicchio (Apocalipse Motorizado)
Tinho Costa (Selva de Pedra)
Vado Gonçalves (cicloativismo)
Victor Y. G. Takayama
Vinicius Zanona (Guarapuava, PR)
Vitor Leal Pinheiro (Quintal)
Willian Cruz (Vá de Bike!)
Yorik von Havre (Yorik`s coffee corner)

:::
Picture courtesy of patotenere via Flickr.
Comments
2 Responses to “Manifest of the invisibles”
  1. Fabiano says:

    please, remove Curitiba as a example of cyclable city. See the version in Google Docs.
    Thanks!
    Hugs!

  2. Henrique says:

    Assino em baixo – Henrique Vedana (http://veds.nomadlife.org)

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