|A cyclist on a new bike lane on Ave. Septima|
A few mayors ago, Bogotá was widely seen as a trailblazer for bicyclists. It's since lost that image. When Gustavo Petro became mayor at the start of 2012 he really talked the talk about promoting cycling. Two years later, however, as Petro fights to stay in office, his record is disappointing.
Petro has built some bike lanes, created a very limited bike lending program in the city center and paid for pro-bike propaganda. But cycling conditions in most of the city haven't improved. And, in legal terms, cycling has been ignored.
|Painters lay down a bike lane on Ave. Septima.|
|In two years Petro has built only 14 kms of bike lanes. That's more than his predecessor Samuel Moreno, but only 10% of what Petro promised he'd build during his four-year term. (Image: El Espectador)|
|Free bike for loan on Ave. Septima - but only for use on Ave. Septima. A real public bicycle program is still just a promise.|
Mayor Petro won cyclists' gratitude by closing part of Ave. Septima to car traffic during the day and adding a bike lane to the street.
|Posters promoting cycling cover poles along Ave. Caracas.|
|And bicycles with motors, called ciclomotores, have proliferated as well. This one is on Ave. Septima's bike lane, even tho that's supposed to be only for real bicycles.|
|Meanwhile, the city's thousands of bicitaxis remain technically illegal and subject to police harrasment and confiscation.|
|And air pollution? City authorities still haven't noticed it.|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogota Bike Tours.