Mexico City is super awesome. It’s kind of like L.A. with all the cool people and none of the annoying ones, and yeah, no beach, but whatevs. The existence of Peatónito makes it even better. Peatónito is the alter ego of one Jorge Cáñez, a 26-year-old political scientist by day who, at the blink of an eye, transforms into a traffic-stopping superhero.
Planning on barreling through an intersection without even pinche looking? Well you are going to meet the wrath of Peatónito, who will jump out and stop you in your tracks. You will be surprised. You will feel dumb. You will perhaps begin to drive in a way that acknowledges the existence of other people.
Peatónito (Peatón is pedestrian in Spanish, -ito generally means little, but in this case refers to the cartoonish/childish aspect of the character) wears a cap and mask in the tradition of lucha libre, the popular style of Mexican wrestling. His motivation is serious — every day in Mexico City a pedestrian is killed by a motorist — but his execution is fun. When he and his similarly dressed cohorts see someone driving stupidly or aggressively, they leap out with a raised arm to remind them to chill. It’s in your face, but it’s also playful, so people get Peatónito’s message without feeling too stupid or shamed. It’s his goal to not only raise drivers’ awareness, but to raise consciousness in the city government about poor crosswalks and dangerous overpasses that contribute to the city’s pedestrian fatality problem.
Peatónito has registered his distinctive look with Creative Commons, which means anyone can be a Peatónito. Do we see a new frontier in adventure travel?
- If Only Every City Had a Masked Lucha Libre Defender of Pedestrians, Atlantic Cities