John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
If common courtesy can't be relied upon, these beefy Brazilian martial artists can.
You know why you shouldn't let your car come to rest in a crosswalk? Common courtesy, that's why.
But for people who don't believe in courtesy, maybe the Gracie Floripa Jiu Jitsu team will serve as another motivator. The next time you stop far out into a traffic light, be prepared for eight beefy Brazilians to rush your car, pick it off the ground and move it backward to where it should be. Violate the crosswalk again, and presumably they'll put all kinds of holds on you until you're too pretzel-fied to even grasp the wheel.
The auto hoist actually happened recently in Florianópolis, the capital of Santa Catarina, as part of a local Rotary Club's battle to shame drivers who stray into the zebra lines. With the support of area businesses, the club plans to stage similar pedestrian-safety efforts over the next three years as part of its "Respect Life, Respect the Crosswalk" campaign.
It's a timely effort, given that Brazil's rate of pedestrian fatalities is on the rise partly due to more cars on the road. While Argentina saw about 10 traffic-related deaths out of 100,000 people in the last decade, and Chile about 11, Brazil has entered the dangerous territory of nearly 20 fatalities per 100,000 people, with motorcycle riders and pedestrians being especially at risk of injury. The efficacy of martial artists on crosswalk trespassers has yet to be scientifically proven, but perhaps the shock and awe of this tactic will be enough to prevent at least a few bloody collisions.