domingo, 23 de febrero de 2014

A Cycling Czar for Bogotá?

London and New York City have them. And so do Madison, Wisconsin; Thousand Oaks, California; San Diego, California and many other cities - but not Bogotá, despite its reputation as an urban bicycling pioneer.

The good: Bicyclists on the Sunday Ciclovia. A few
years ago a senator tried to cut back La Ciclovia's hours.
But may come soon. At a meeting Friday evening in the Bogotá City Council building, councilman Roberto Saenz proposed the idea of creating a city 'bicycle office.'

But, what such an office would be called or do, and what authority it would have, aren't clear.

Several attendees at the event urged that the office not be 'just about infrastructure,' which is a good point. Also, that it be made to last, rather than just for this mayoralty, whose weeks may be numbered.

Jesús David Acero, bike coordinator for the
Institute of Urban Development (IDU) makes a point. 
For the sake of cyclists, the mission of such an office should be defined early - and in our favor. After all, a 'bicycle office' could be about, instead of promoting cycling, sanctioning cyclists. Or counting them. Or restricting and regulating them 'for their own good.'

Would this office possess its own real authority or only be a conduit which would have to go, hat in hand, appealing to other city offices for resources and support?

But, as long as it stays positive, a bicycle office could be a good thing just by existing, since it would provide bikes and cyclists with attention and importance.

The bad: Bike lane needed on Carrera 10, in the city center.
Meeting attendees also discussed the problem of bicycle theft. If the Dutch haven't eliminated bike theft, I don't expect Bogotá to, either. However, there are basic measures the police could take - but, infuriatingly, don't - to reduce the impunity, at least a bit. One would be to control or shut down the shops, in areas such as the Santa Fe neighborhood, which everybody knows deal in stolen bikes. Another would be to equip a nice bike with a hidden GPS tracker, let it get stolen, and then follow it to the place where gangs steal or fence their goods.

City Councilman Roberto Saenz,
with an assistant on his right.

By Mike Ceaser, de Bogotá Bike Tours

2 comentarios:

  1. We've had a 'cycling czar' in London for a year or so but he's a mayoral stooge with no teeth or ideas, just a pal of the mayor with no cycling background. If Bogota gets one he/she must be independent and with a serious agenda.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I totally agree. And that's particularly true in light of Bogotá's extreme mayoral instability. And I'm sad to hear that about London. I'd have expected more from Boris. New York's cycling Czar under Bloomberg made waves, but got things done. - Best, Mike