domingo, 19 de septiembre de 2010

Is This Really How to Get People onto Bikes?

The other day, this group of city employees pedaled up Seventh Ave. to the National Park, about 40 blocks. On a typically smoggy morning, they rode up Seventh St. amidst belching buses and cars which - at least normally - would be trying to run them off the road.

This was the municipal government's campaign, called Bicivilizate, to promote bicycle commuting amongst its employees. On the one hand, it's a small miracle that the Samuel Moreno administration is paying any attention at all to bicycles. Unfortunately, however, this attention isn't very productive. I'd like to know how many of last Friday's pedalers dusted off that old bike the next day, and how many told themselves: 'Thank God that death-defying experience was only a one-time thing!'

As well-intended as it may have been, one-time stunts like this won't bring the sorts of mindset changes necessary to make bicycle commuting grow. What I'd really like to know is whether these employees' offices provide secure bicycle parking, whether they have showers and lockers available and whether they provide any subsidies comparable to the free parking they likely offer car drivers.

Most of all, I'd like to know whether a person who does ride to work is met with respect or teasing and condescension.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it's worth repeating that what Bogotá needs is real control of pollution, respect from car drivers for cyclists and pedestrians and lots of traffic calming measures - not to mention that holy grail traffic rationalization: a congestion tax. This blog by Mike, of Bogota Bike Tours.

How'd you like to pedal behind this bus?

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