Bike Beats Helicopter in Traffic-Choked São Paulo

The average commuter in São Paulo, Brazil spends nearly three hours a day stuck in traffic. Gridlock is so prevalent and stifling that the wealthy prefer to get about via helicopter. But the recent São Paulo Intermodal Challenge suggests that human-powered ground transport may be the way to go. PSFK reports:

The means of transportation chosen ranged from cars, bikes, motorbikes, and a helicopter to buses, metro, their own feet and even a wheelchair. Contrary to all forecasts, a biker won the challenge, with a total time of 22 minutes — more than 10 minutes faster than the person on the helicopter, who spent a total of 33 minutes and 30 seconds between going to the heliport, waiting for takeoff clearance, flying and landing. The car came way behind, with a total time of 1:22 — slower than the runner, who took 1:06, the bus (1:11) and just 10 minutes faster than the person who chose to walk the whole path (1:32).

Maybe Mayor Mike could save his next chopper ride for next year’s TA commuter race.

(h/t Brooklyn)

  • Very few people bike in Brazil. The fear is that its very easy to be shoved off and have your bike stolen while riding it.

    I wonder why the race didnt include the subway.

  • Bernardo

    Well, the biker is riding like an absolute maniac. Ride like that every day and the probability of being killed in São Paulo traffic approaches one.

  • All the buildings have helipads?!?!


  • Andy, not all but most. Sao Paulo has the largest private helicopter fleet in the world. Some houses even have one in their back yard! And yeah Bernardo, he wasnt riding safely at all, but there really is no way to do so on those streets.

  • I don’t think the bicyclist was riding all that dangerously. Really not much different than typical commuter riding in NYC, with exception of the jaunt through some low-traffic, winding tunnels where the motorists likely speed through without looking for bicyclists.

    And the soundtrack was perfect!

  • he didn’t seem to be riding TOO carelessly to me, but he definitely needed some blinky lights. the fact that he was light-free definitely seemed like a bad idea.

  • neb

    Cool video. The point isn’t that it is dangerous to ride a bike. The point is that it is faster. If there were better facilities it would be safer and faster. Its hard to imagine now, but SP could be a great bicycling city.

  • Mikko

    I get that the idea is to demonstrate how quick and easy cycling can be. During the bit in the tunnel with no lights on the bike had me half expect to see a car squash the biker against the wall. Seems like wearing a helmet and having no lights on the bike after sunset is having your priorities backwards.


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