viernes, 14 de marzo de 2014

Crusading for Las Ciclorutas

Cycling activists in front of Bogotá's Movilidad, or Transit Department.
Way back around the year 2000, Bogotá's ciclorutas, or bike lanes, were a pioneering initiative. But more than a decade, several mayors and years of neglect later, some ciclorutas seem more like monuments to urban mismanagement.

Today, a group of bike advocates and an official from the city's Movilidad, or Transit Department, rode some of the city's bike lanes to see the problems first-hand. They found blocked and invaded bike lanes, troubles with signage and difficult street crossings, among other things.

Andrés Vergara and other cyclists in an impromptu meeting with Transit Department officials (the two women in dark shirts) in the agency's parking lot. 
Transit Department officials expressed support for improving and expanding the city's bike lanes, but said their department has to seek the funds in other government agencies. They also promised to join a ride along some bike lanes to see the problems.

Do as I say, not as I do: The transit department is supposed to promote cycling and mass transit. And one of the officials had in fact brought her bike to work today - in the back of her SUV. She said she didn't like driving. "If I didn't have an assigned driver, I'd probably come to work in public transit," she said.
Really? I'll wait and see.But, as people personally immersed in car culture, one wonders how deep their commitment is. 

Bogotá's ciclorutas have been troubled from the start. Many are built on sidewalks, forcing cyclists to dodge pedestrians, vendors and delivery vehicles. And where the lanes are on streets, cyclists are obliged to swallow exhaust from Bogotá's highly-polluting vehicles.
A father and daughter ride the cicloruta along Calle 13. 
A sidewalk-level crossing for cyclists on Calle 13, which doesn't require bicyclists to descend and ride up again. However, the crossing has other obstacles. 
Pedal up! Where street crossings aren't raised to sidewalk level, cyclists have to repeatedly descend and then ride up again. Often, the curb accesses are not smooth.

One would think that along a bike lane cyclists would get priority...But this pick-up truck driver didn't think twice before cutting of a cyclist.
A truck waiting to turn stops on top of a crosswalk. Car drivers always assume they have priority, even when they're in pedestrians' , or cyclists', space.
A difficult crossing. 
A bicyclist manuevers around a cellular phone sales tent set up on Calle 13's bike lane. This tent has been here for weeks, with no apparent trouble from transit authorities. Would they have it so easy if they blocked cars?
A cellular phone sales tent set up in the Calle 13 bike lane blocks a wheelchair user. 
Another hazard along bike lanes: Air pollution, like this smokestack, which happened to be located next door to the Health Secretariat. 
While I was photographing the stationary chimney, this 'rolling chimney,' also known as a 'truck', passed by.
Many of Bogotá's ciclorutas, like this one on Calle 13, are located along the city's most polluted streets, making one ask whether or not bicycling in Bogotá is healthy. 
This sidewalk does contain a bike lane, if you could only see it amidst the potholes and obstacles. 
Lots of signs, but not so much space on this bike lane near San Victorino Plaza.
A somewhat worn sign along Calle 13's bike lane. 
At Caracas Ave., Calle 13's bike lane simply ends, with no continuation. 
And Caracas Ave. has no bike lane. 
Near San Victorino Plaza, this vendor found this bike lane a convenient spot for a food stand.
Wonder why? This bicyclist preferred to ride on the street instead of this sidewalk bike lane. 
The Transit Department's parking lot. The bicycle's area is hidden in the corner, between the motorcycles and the double-parked cars. We discovered an electric scooter in the bicycle rack. The security guard insisted the scooter was a bicycle.
The Transit Department's parking lot has an area for bicycles, squeezed in between the cars and motorcycles. Like nearly all workplaces, this one provides free parking for cars, subsidizing the most inefficient form of transit.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

jueves, 6 de marzo de 2014

Cyclist Suffers Toxic Attack!

A bicyclist gets smoke bombed by a bus on 26th Street. 
The other day, these bicyclists were pedaling along 26th St. when this bus belched this toxic cloud over one of them.

And some people ask why more Bogotanos don't ride bikes.

Other people ask why authorities don't sanction polluters. But why ask absurd questions?

Blog by Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours