Ciclista de la muerte

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  • Publicado : 13 de marzo de 2012
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Cycles of Death
By Carlos González Méndez
Fresh, morning wind blows softly in your face. To your left, you enjoy the view of the shiny emerald-colored “Rio Grande de Arecibo” as it flows from the Utuado mountains towards the Arecibo coast. To your right, you admire a green, living carpet that ends in a group of hills which are adorned by “La Ventana” Cave. In short, you are riding theultimate convertible vehicle; you own a bicycle, and you are cycling. As you continue to appreciate the pure nature that the old road from Arecibo to Utuado offers, all of a sudden, the wind starts to blow harder on your back, and the street turns downhill, so you are able to increase your bike speed to twenty miles per hour. Then, just as you feel you are flying like a free bird, out of nowhere,a stray dog runs and stops right in front of you, so you do not have time to react and apply the brakes; consequently, you hit the dog that bounces in one direction, as you and your bicycle literally fly in the opposite direction. After three seconds of actual flight, you hit the pavement scratching both hands, elbows, and knees, but also breaking your sunglasses, your mp3 player, and yourbicycle, along with two ribs. This is one of the many avoidable accidents and scary incidents that I have personally experienced since 2004, when I made bicycle riding one of my favorite hobbies especially because cycling is supposed to be one of the most relaxing and passive, non-contact sports activities. Nonetheless, in addition to the previous personal accident, I have been hit by cars twice, butnone of my cycling stories are as shocking as the number of cyclists who have died in our Puerto Rican roads in the past five years. Specifically, on April 7, 2011, El Nuevo Dia online ( reported that from 2005 to 2010, eighty (80) cyclists had been killed by drivers in the roads of Puerto Rico. Therefore, our island’s roads are deadlier to cyclists than a boxing ring is to boxers because inthe same time period of 2005 to 2010, not even one boxer has died in a Puerto Rican arena as a consequence of that full-contact, violent sport. In light of that, cycling must be prohibited on the Puerto Rican roads.
Initially, cyclists are not respected by Puerto Rican motor vehicle drivers. To start, on January 2011, the Federation of Puerto Rican Cycling (FPRC) presented in theirwebsite the results of a survey made using a sample of 10,000 Puerto Rican licensed drivers. One of the questions in the survey asked participants to indicate if they knew the Articles of Puerto Rico’s Law # 22 of January 7, 2000, also known as Bill of Rights of Cyclists and Drivers. The FPCR informed that only 1,500 (15%) of the respondents possessed very general and limited knowledgeof a couple of the six Articles that compose Law # 22. However, 8,500 (85%) of the survey participants stated that they did not have any idea that there was any existing law for cyclists in Puerto Rico. At last and most dramatically, in the final, open-comment item of that survey, 9,950 (99.5%) of the sample openly criticized cyclists and their sport with remarks such as, “Puerto Rican roads areexclusive for the use of motor vehicles”, “Cyclists are yet another driving interruption that only creates more traffic congestions”, and “The government should force those people to use their bicycles only in parks, beaches, or mountains”. Additionally, disrespect for cycling and bicycle users can be evidenced in the latest cases of accidents involving cyclists and car drivers, which occurred inas little as two consecutive months of the current year. To illustrate, first, Primera Hora Online ( reported on March 2, 2011, that Luis Rivera Guerra, a political representative who was training for the Iron Man 70.3 competition, was hit in Aguada by driver who was over-speeding and who confessed that he was talking on his cellular phone as he drove, so he did not see Rivera...
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