Today, a group of students of the Universidad Jorge Tadeo, an important Bogotá private university, held a 'flashmob' today. For the students, communication students, this event was one of their semester projects.
We started out by donning cardboard car costumes in a neighboring parking lot, and then rolling out onto the street, where we formed a caravan and moved down the street honking on little plastic horns. Predictably, we caused a traffic jam behind us, and the drivers immediately began leaning on their horns. After all, losing three minutes of television time is much more important than witnessing a dozen college students parading down the street wearing colored cardboard cars and blowing on blaring plastic horns. But, there's a principle involved here: nothing ever has a right to get in the way of cars, except for other cars.
We deposited the cardboard cars on the Tadeo's concrete plaza and mounted our bikes and road in circles, demonstrating that cars cause traffic jams and how much faster and more agile bicycles are.
Afterwards, I asked several of the students how they commuted to university: 'by bus, they said. Too far to bicycle.'
To its credit (and in obedience to the law) Tadeo U. has bicycle parking, consisting of a small rack in a sprawling auto parking lot a block away from the campus where thousands of students study. (I have been told that in order to use the bike rack, you have to sign up before the semester starts.) Today, there was only one bike parked there, and I'd be willing to bet that it belongs to a local security guard or the parking lot employee.
The flashmob students whom I'd accompanied pedaled their bikes across the parking lot and loaded them into a car for the trip home.
|Everybody put on your car costumes!|
|After motoring up the street and causing a traffic jam, the car costumes com off.|
|After abandoning the cars....|
|With trees on our backs, we rode around the campus.|
|Afterwards, the students pedaled into the university's car parking lot. Note the lonely bike rack. The students loaded the bikes into a car for the drive home.|
|On nearby 19th Ave. the traffic made its own traffic jam, without students' help.|