Friday, February 24, 2012

Buenos Aires Nighttime Bicyclists

When I first visited Buenos Aires, my first impression was that it is insane. For the good and for the bad, the city is anything but tame. Almost six months into my second stay here, I've become accustomed to the culture, yet it never ceases to amaze.
Recently, on my taxi ride home from dinner out on a rainy Tuesday night, we encountered a group of nighttime cyclists. I don't know anything about the group beyond this experience, but from what I saw they are a group of around 40 bicyclists who ride Buenos Aires at night. Because of or in spite of rain, I don't know. However, the uniquely irritating thing about them is that they don't let traffic pass. I don't know if they are supposed to be making some kind of political statement, but despite there being plenty of room to allow one lane for cars and the other for bicyclists, they won't have it. Passenger cars, taxis and buses alike were halted by the crossing-guard-one-hand-up stop sign from a bicyclist physically preventing the pass.
If sometime tries to pass they block you, cut you off or kick you car. The latter happened to us, which naturally did not fly with the cab driver. A game of chicken ensued, pleasantries were exchanged and eventually someone who appeared to be the leader of the group stepped in to broker an agreement. In the end, 10 minutes of trailing seemed to suffice and we were finally able to pass. WTF was the point of this? I don't know. With no message conveyed, it seems like a share the road campaign here should be geared toward bicyclists not drivers. Ahh, well, Argentina.

1 comment:

  1. sounds like critical mass

    http://www.sfcriticalmass.org/

    ReplyDelete