Last updateFri, 20 Mar 2015 4pm

Pioneer of nighttime cycle rides killed in road accident

Gustavo Berlanga Sánchez, 58, an icon of the local biking community who was always referred to as “Don Gus,” was struck by a private car while riding his bike Wednesday evening in the Batan neighborhood of Guadalajara.

Berlanga was the eighth cyclist to die in a traffic accident on the streets of the metro area in 2015.  (Three days later, homeopath Myrna Zazueta Padilla, 45, became the ninth when she was run down by a 629 bus in Zapopan.)

Poignantly, Berlanga was known for his attention to safety details during each nocturnal ride, taking charge of checking the numbers of those participating to make sure no one was left behind. 

Berlnaga’s death shocked the a cycling community that is growing in numbers and beginning to flex its political muscle.  More than 1,000 cyclists gathered Sunday morning in the Parque Revolucion for a special ride in honor of their colleague. And on Wednesday, members of several cycling collectives took part in a protest outside the Jalisco statehouse designed to pressure the state government into into assuming its responsibilities to modernize the city bus transportation network and develop a culture of sustainable urban mobility .

Commeneted Yolanda Ortiz of the Rodante Nocturno cycling collective: “If a cyclist who takes all the necessary safety precautions can be run over and killed, what are the chances for cyclists who still don’t understand the need to wear a helmet.”

Ortiz said it was not only up to authorities to enact policies to protect the “non-motorized” public, but for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to promote “a drastic change in traffic culture.”