Critical Mass, the international biking event held once a month in cities around the globe to help raise awareness for the rights of bicycle riders on the roads, has been picking up steam in Buenos Aires, a notoriously traffic-jammed city where auto accident rates are high and bikers rank at the bottom of the road warrior food chain.
Held in BA on the first Sunday of each month, bikers (know here as the ‘Masa Crítica’ meet at the Obelisco for a spin around the city, upholding the international Critical Mass motto that ‘we don’t block traffic; we ARE traffic.’ The rides occur during the afternoon, when the Sunday traffic is scarce. Special night rides occur on the eve of a full moon, such as this past week, when the Masa Critica took off from the Obelisco at 9pm for a long circuit around the city. The routes are unplanned and therefore spontaneous; this particular ride looped around the city on the Autopista General Paz elevated beltway before ducking back into Palermo and cruising back through town.
Buenos Aires has been more aware of the needs and rights of bicycle riders as of late, thanks to the city government. Painted and lined bike lanes, separated from the street by raised curbs, have been declared throughout the city, making certain streets safe for bikers for the first time ever. A bike-share system has also been put into place and will hopefully be built up to include bike pick-up and drop-off kiosks in several parts of town.
Don’t have a bike? No problem. Critical Mass is a celebration of non-motorized forms of transportation, so take your skateboard, rollerskates, blades, wheelbarrow, or wheelchair. Zip your wheels over to the Obelisco on Corrientes and 9 de Julio on Sunday the 6th of February to join the next BA Masa Critica. Check out more here and here.