Early in my stay in São Paulo I heard a commotion from the street below. I looked down from the eighteenth floor of the apartment where I’m staying and saw thousands of cyclists moving slowly down Avenida Paulista, whistles blowing and lights flashing. They had managed to stop all the traffic on one side of the avenue, and to restrict it on the other side. This is quite an achievement! Avenida Paulista is eight lanes wide and considered the most important road in the city, lined with banks and company headquarters.
I grabbed my camera and ran down all eighteen flights of stairs, as the lift was too slow, sometimes taking two or three stairs at a time and trying not too smash my camera in the process!
When I got to street level I discovered that the protest was in memory of a cyclist who had been killed that week on the avenue, and in memory of the other cyclists who have lost their lives in São Paulo as a result of the inadequate road safety measures in this teeming metropolis.
The latest person to be killed was Juliana Diniz, a 33 year-old biologist, hit by a bus two blocks from where I’m staying.
As a regular cyclist back home in London I was easily able to empathize. Here are some photos from that night.
If you are interested in using any of these images please contact me. All photographs copyright Raphael Schutzer-Weissmann. Any use requires authorisation. Thank you.