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Bike rights: New rules strip safety requirements for cyclists

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
A jogger in Mérida yields to two cyclists on the Paseo de Montejo on Sunday morning in February. Photo: Lee Steele

Yucatán’s new transit rules have done away with requirements such as equipping bicycles with front-facing lights. 

The new ordinance also no longer demands that cyclists wear reflective vests.

These changes come on the heels of several pro-cyclist initiatives championed by state and local governments, including Mérida’s controversial new bicycle lanes and special bridges which will allow bicycles to safely cross the Periférico. 

“It is the obligation of the government to bring enough light to city streets, cyclists should not be responsible for this,” said Everardo Flores, the founder of Ciclo Turixes, an organization dedicated to defending the interests of cyclists. 

However, Everardo Flores did add that the government, cyclists, and motorists all had a shared responsibility to ensure safety for everyone on the road, and that bicycle lights and reflective strips were a great option. 

Earlier: YucatánMerida Yucatán to help pay for bikes so more can enjoy the new paths

Cyclists and motorists on social media expressed amusement at the rule change, as cyclists in Yucatán have rarely been seen using the “required” gear. 

Critics of these new pro-cycling initiatives feel that too much is being done too fast and that Yucatán does not yet have a cycling culture mature enough to accommodate a large number of cyclists on busy city streets. 

“Cyclists are always demanding this and that, but they are the first ones to run red lights, to not stop at stop signs, and to zip through cars in dangerous ways. Bicycles are not the problem, stupid cyclists are,” said Manuel Caró on Ciclo Turixes’ Facebook comment thread. 

When completed, Mérida’s bicycle lanes will cover a total distance of 72km and make the city far more bicycle-friendly than it was before.

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