The Dangers of Cycling in Brazil (or, “Juridical Weaknesses in Protecting Citizens”)


A road collision in Brazil has caused outrage after police said a motorist drove off with a cyclist’s severed arm attached to his vehicle.

The driver, who later turned himself in, reportedly told Sao Paulo police that he had dumped the limb in a stream.

The arm has not been recovered but doctors believe it could have been reattached, police told local media.

The cyclist is said to be in a stable condition in hospital.

This isn’t the first time there has been a high-profile crash that wounded or killed a bicyclist; last year, a high-profile crash involving Thor Batista, son of Eike Batista, Brazil’s richest person, highlighted both the class divisions in society that lead to unequal justice, and the ongoing disregard for cyclists’ rights and safety in Brazil. This seems to only add another gruesome reminder of the fact that Brazilian laws do little to protect cyclists’ safety. When you decide it’s safer to flee the scene of a bad accident than to stay and face anger from witnesses (as the lawyer for yesterday’s driver claimed), then it seems the laws designed to protect citizens are failing to deter people from committing crimes said laws are designed to prevent.


About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
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