Urban cyclists movement in Santiago

How and when did Movimiento Furiosos Ciclistas start?
It started as a public movement, demanding more and better bike facilities, which were promised by some local government. As they did not do anything to accomplish this promise, Furiosos Ciclistas started to do/organise a monthly bike race, as a protest. It happened in 1995.

What was the motivation at the beginning and what is it now? Has it changed?
We have always wanted to take up a place in the traffic system. As we are vehicles, we have the same rights. It’s our fight and our main motto to keep riding our bikes on the lane, on the streets, in a very respectful way. As you can see, the motivation has not changed, but now we have higher ideals and goals (to pursue).

Can you describe your activities?
We are a public non profit movement, volunteered by well-disposed people, who want to make bike riding a massive, green, healthy and respectful movement. That includes constant campaigns, consulting several private enterprises, the government (even if there’s some kind of incoordination between the parts), and the citizens. It’s almost like a fulltime job, made by many specialized bikers, like mechanical experts, graphic designers, communication specialists, publishers, sociologists, architects…

As traffic planners we try to help the government, and eventually we work as consultants. In public schools, in parks and in some suburban areas, we try to give common people tools and resources to use their bikes, and gain some independence in terms of mobility and economic improvement.

Has Movimiento Furiosos Ciclistas got employees and has it got a legal status?
No, Furiosos has not got employees, (that’s because) we all are volunteers. We don’t have a legal status, but we do count on some legal services and guidance in some special situations.

What is the relationship between the local government and Movimiento?
It’s a kind of convenience relationship, but sometimes it is one-sided. We’d love to help the city and the government and people, and we wish to be listened by the government, but the different political views of the city development (personal interests of the higherup ones, different political wings, egos, and many other things) makes it very hard. We do not have any political preference, and yet this fact is kind of hard to manage when it comes to political or public relationships.

What do you think about changes on roads and in minds in Santiago in the last 15 years?
We truly hope it’s going to be better. As a very complex and poorly developed city, Santiago has many challenges, and we think, as a Movement, we can make a big difference.

The next generations are the key to this change, with (the right) education and respect, so we all can share the streets, cars, buses, motorcycles… we have hope, and we’re working on this to get the things done in a very good way.

Interview with Pilar Naturali (activist of Movimiento Furiosos Ciclistas)