Nude Cyclists Want Respect From Motorists

The Associated Press
Sunday, June 11, 2006; 2:50 AM

MEXICO CITY -- Dozens of cyclists rode nude through downtown Mexico City on Saturday, demanding respect from motorists and protesting against the car-oriented culture in this megalopolis.

With slogans like "Respect Bike Riders" painted on their bodies, about two dozen naked cyclists turned heads in a city where it's rare to see even clothed riders braving the chaotic traffic on bikes.

"Drivers don't respect us, which is why we've had to take this kind of action," said Felipe Fulop, a protest organizer.

Agustin Mendez, 48, arrived at the protest wearing only a pair of sneakers and a bike helmet.

"This is what we have to do to get drivers to see us and respect us," said Mendez, adding he was recently hit by what he believes was a bottle thrown by a youth leaning out of a passing vehicle on a Mexico City street.

While the city has constructed a few bike paths and lanes in recent years, it has built far more expressways.

The city's bicycle routes consist of lane markers painted on streets and sidewalks, which few drivers respect.

Saturday's demonstrators also stressed that they were helping the city's severe smog problem.

"We don't pollute," Fulop said.

© 2006 The Associated Press