Why Do Mexicans Get Into So Many Bike Accidents?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And what's the history of the Mexican flag?

DEAR MEXICAN: What is the reason for the colors of the Mexican flag?  Is there any razón it resembles the Italian flag, minus the águila y serpent? Conozco más mexicanos que estadounidenses pero none of mis 'manitos morenos seems to know why. . . .

El Girafe

DEAR MALE GIRAFFE GABACHO: Good for you for having Mexican friends and for learning Spanish to speak to them! And for having such cultured conversations instead of just whistling at hot chicas who pass by the workplace and talking trash on your kind! What's now the Mexican tricolor is technically older than the Italian tricolore—although Italian kingdoms had used red-white-green color schemes in their flags since the late 18th century, modern-day Italy really didn't form until the Kingdom of Italy in the 1860s, and it adopted the general design that still exists today in Italy's flag. Mexico's tricolor, on the other hand, dates back to shortly after the War of Independence for Spain and is based on the flag of the Army of the Three Guarantees, the unit led by Agustín de Iturbide, Mexico's first emperor; that flag was also red, white and green, although the stripes were diagonal instead of vertical. Reason for those color choices? Maybe Iturbide was a fan of Risorgimento, the movement that eventually unified all of Italy; maybe he wanted to confuse gabachos y Mexicans alike for centuries. Whatever the reason is, it's lost to history, like numerous Aztec codices and Salma Hayek's talent.

 

DEAR MEXICAN: I cycle-commute daily and follow the rules of the road, which include riding with traffic, not against it. (Riding against traffic is a good way to hurt another cyclist or get one's self killed at an intersection.) Several times per week, I encounter (I don't want to say "run in to") characters who do this exactly backwards, riding against traffic and even making right turns across lanes of traffic as normal people make lefts. Invariably, they're either college students or Mexicans. Is this the normal way of riding a bike in Mexico? Do cyclists in Mexico more often find themselves becoming involuntary hood ornaments, or is this something that only happens on this side of the border?

Thinking "Lucha Pollo" Is Not the Translation of "Chicken Fight"

DEAR GABACHO: In 2004, the Center for Applied Research did a study for the Federal Highway Administration titled "The Pedestrian and Bicyclist Highway Safety Problem As It Relates to the Hispanic Population in the United States" that found a couple of interesting things. One stat was that Latinos were twice more likely to bike to work than gabachos; another was that "Hispanics and Blacks are over-represented in pedestrian crashes," with Latino deaths in bike crashes at 2.88 per 100,000 population, with the rate for gabachos at 1.78 per 100,000; and that a disproportionate amount of said deaths and accidents in general happened late at night, when most Mexi riders are returning or going to work. The report recommended educational outreach to Mexicans to correct the errors that you pointed out, but to say it's due to Mexican culture is false: Negritos had a greater rate of death than Latinos, and while no hard stats exist for cycling deaths in Mexico, Mexico City is world-renowned for its great urban-cycling environment. If you see Mexicans cycling wrong, it's probably because the urban streets don't allow for a proper environment (cycling with traffic is also dangerous). This is a teachable moment: Get with them and advocate for designated lanes, bike-sharing programs and amnesty for illegal immigrants.

 
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12 comments
jmlomeli
jmlomeli

Hey, bato, the mexican flag and its colors have this meanings:

Los colores de la bandera se originaron de los de la bandera del Ejercito «Trigarante», en 1821. Originalmente el significado de los colores fueron los siguientes: Blanco: Religión (La fe católica) Rojo: Unión (entre europeos y americanos) Verde: Independencia (Independencia de España)

El significado fue cambiado debido a la secularización del país, liderada por Benito Juárez. El significado atribuido en esa época fue: Verde: Esperanza. Blanco: Unidad. Rojo: La sangre de los héroes nacionales.

Of course, that is info in spanish. Can´t be bother to do the translation.

Yours truly

Mexican married with a canadian gabacha

ogierdebeauseant
ogierdebeauseant

How come the colors of the Mexican flag? Well it seems ole Pancho Villas was eating watermellon one day and his boys came to and said: El Jefi? what colors for the flag? and ole Pancho scratched his head , thought a minute and said: roja...verde...y blanca!

b_mandelin
b_mandelin

Mexico City as a world renowned urban-cycling environment?!?!?!? You must be high on some Acapulco Golden son! 

The urban cycling projects for el defectuoso started less than 10 years ago and have been an uphill battle since its creation. The city government has done a great job to promote bicycle as an alternative, low cost, healthy mode of transportation but calling it a world renowned urban-cycling environment sounds like a stretch. 

yoshiyahu
yoshiyahu

One thing I am surprised Gustavo didn't mention -- in many Latin American countries, it is customary for cyclists to ride against the flow of traffic (like pedestrians in the US are supposed to walk if there is no sidewalk). So for many cyclists we see on the roads doing this, it's simply continuing the practice they learned in their country of origin.

 

As to Gustavo's point about education, it's really important, and a work in progress. in my city of Long Beach there are a lot of efforts underway, but still too much of it is geared towards getting well-off people who may CHOOSe to cycle onto their bikes, and not enough is geared towards making life easier for those who HAVE to bike to work and to the store every day. For instance, infrastructure is mostly in well-off areas as opposed to those corridors connecting service worker residences/transportation hubs and their jobs downtown.

BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

True statements by all that point out that latinos are not particularly more ignorant of the rules than others. I would put money down that says that less than, easily, 10% of folks don't know that bicycles are required by Calif. vehicle code to follow the same rules that cars do.

 

On the other hand there are the idiot car drivers who would rather take a chance on killing someone than share the road with ANY other vehicle.

Dave_Lieberman
Dave_Lieberman

I'm going to say something that I suspect is not going to be very popular here. I bike to work, and I bike both on the streets and on the grade-separated bike trail that parallels the Santa Ana River.

 

You want to know the biggest problem I see with Latino bike riders? It's not lack of helmet (though—pendejos—you only get one brain per lifetime!) or lawbreaking (they're actually more law-abiding than your average idiot gabacho in Lycra, not that that's a high bar to clear).

 

No, the biggest single problem is that they're scared to death to ride in the street. They hug the curb like it's the deep end of a pool they can't swim in, and then when there's a car or glass in the gutter or whatever, they dart out and that is when—WHAM—cars can't react in time.

 

Mis amigos latinos—the law says you have to ride as far to the right as practicable, which does NOT mean as far to the right as possible! Stay in the actual asphalt road, not the concrete gutter, and if there are cars parked where you would need to move in and out, just stay left of the cars. The cars behind you can see you better, and you're not making unexpected moves they can't plan for.

JamesRobertReade
JamesRobertReade

The reason you see gangbangers riding little girl's bikes on the wrong side of the road is because it is easier to scare a motorist into stopping so they can carjack and stab the driver many times and take the victims wallet. James Robert Reade

jared.limon.ch
jared.limon.ch

I don’t have the stats but I have a hunch: Leisure vs. need; those that take on an activity like cycling for leisure purposes, take it upon themselves to learn the rules of the activity because they actually enjoy doing it.  Those that take on an activity because of a need; may enjoy the activity but I would assume that most would only care about going from point A to point B if possible the quickest way.

 

So here in the states you will see the Gabachos with their expensive gear making a statement: “This is me, I love cycling and I care about my stuff, look at me” on the other hand the unassuming Mexican doesn’t want to be noticed he only wants to get to work.

 

This is a broad generalization; but in the case of Mexicans in Mexico City (or other mayor city in Mexico), I can see more of the Gabacho type of attitude (I call it: portrayal of cultural sophistication).  Nevertheless I see more and more Mexicans in the US taking on leisure activities besides Futbol (soccer) and Carne Asada… 

 

yoshiyahu
yoshiyahu

EXACTLY! This is the most frustrating thing-- in riding in a way they THINK is helping to avoid cars, they ride in ways that make it more likely they'll be hit by cars.

 
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