Raging Cyclists push for bike-friendly reforms in Santiago

Inspired by Critical Mass, the cycling activist group formed in San Francisco in 1992, the Furiosos Ciclistas — or Raging Cyclists — of Santiago, Chile, are inspiring real reform in that polluted city. The group is one of more than 200 inspired by Critical Mass in cities across the world. Santiago is one of the most polluted cities in the world, with frequent air-quality alerts, but bike usage is on the rise: Some 5 percent of residents now use bikes as their primary means of transport. Founded in 1996 and spread mostly by word of mouth and word of mouse, the group now boasts more than 3,000 participants. Their constant pressure for “ciclovias,” or bike paths, is paying off, with plans in the works for a $500,000 path down Santiago’s central avenue. Says Raging Cyclist Jesus Montealegre, “This is changing the way cycling is seen, from being a lower-class necessity to a classless means of transportation and recreation.”