You might remember the Mayor of Rome, Italy, Dr. Ignazio Marino (formerly of Philadelphia), is an avid bike commuter. His daily bike commute apparently creates headaches for his chief of security, Giuseppe Pecoraro, who urges the mayor to ride in a car with police protection.
Car Crazy Rome
Rome, with a car ownership rate surpassing that of even the United States, is not a bike-friendly city. People on bikes compete for road space with heavy and chaotic car traffic on narrow streets. Roman motorists are perhaps more simpatico toward cyclists than their American counterparts, but they’re still viewed as oddball daredevils.
Dr. Marino was a transplant surgeon living car-free in Philadelphia when he was elected as the Mayor of Rome. Cyclists rejoiced at his selection, and Marino quickly shook up the transportation establishment by banning motorized traffic through part of the Via dei Fori Imperiali, the main avenue cutting through the center of Rome.
Death Threats Against the Cycling Mayor
The Roman police chief now says he has intelligence regarding death threats from the Italian mob against the cycling mayor, and has offered the use of an official car for the car-free mayor. I suspect Prefect Pecoraro is at least partially informed by the view that cycling is inherently dangerous, and safety can only be found within the confines of a highly visible box of metal, plastic and glass.
There’s also the little matter of the mayor’s aggressive crackdown on corruption in city government, but we’re talking a subtext of conspiracy here. The people in high places clearly dislike the growing influence of the All Powerful Bike Lobby.
The Sindaco di Roma Capitale says he will continue biking around Rome in spite of the threats against his life, because he is obviously Hard Core.
Full story at The Guardian: Rome mayor refuses to give up cycling despite death threats. Via that always wonderful resource of all news cycling related Biking In LA.