|Both of them have two wheels and a motor. So, what makes one of them a bicycle?|
So, how can they be bicycles?
|A legal opinion from City Hall: A bicycle with a motor is |
not a bicycle; it's a motor cycle.
But a recent opinion by Bogotá's Director of Legal Issues Gloria Inés Bohorquez put the lie to that, at least as far as bike lanes go.
In her analysis, Bohorquez made the sensible conclusion that bike lanes are exclusively for bicycles, which are defined as two-wheeled vehicles propelled by their riders.
In any case, you don't need a rocket scientist to figure out that a bicycle with a motor is a motorcycle.
Yet, for some reason, the thinking persists that, because - absurdly - they don't qualify as motor vehicles, the ciclomotores can still be bicycles, and I see them used frequently on Ciclorutas, the city's bike lanes.
Take this article in today's El Tiempo, which quotes a Ministry of Transport definition of the bicycle
|A 'ciclomotor' in a Bogotá bike lane, on Ave. Septima.|
Under such an absurd definition, every motorcycle qualifies as a bicycle because its owner could potentially get off and push it. Even a car isn't a motor vehicle under such thinking, because its passengers could climb out and push it forward.
In any case, I've almost never seen a rider actually pedal a motorized bicycle - which has a motor for a reason.
The flip side of this legal situation is that, because they supposedly qualify as bicycles, the ciclomotores aren''t covered by motor vehicle laws. They don't pay taxes, their drivers don't need licenses - even tho they can hit 40 kms per hour - and aren't subject to emissions laws, even tho their two-stroke engines can really belch out pollution.
According to this video the ciclomotores are to be banned by decree from the bike lanes and their users required to have licenses. Let us hope.
Should real bicyclists, who don't pollute, be subject to these noisy, dirty, dangerous machines exactly where cyclists are supposed to find refuge: in the city's bike lanes?
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours