domingo, 17 de agosto de 2014

A Novel Concept: Bicycle Parking

Parking a bike. By 6 p.m. about 500 bikes had arrived, and there was room for lots more.
3,000 pesos, please.
For the first time in memory, the city arranged bicycle parking at a major event - the annual, free Rock al Parque concert happening this weekend in Simon Bolivar Park. So, why is this not routine?
They created parking and bicyclists came. When I visited around 6 p.m. Sunday afternoon some 500 bikes had arrived, and more kept rolling in. Cyclists paid a 3,000 pesos fee (about U.S. $1.50) and received a numbered receipt. The cyclist got a paper slip carrying the same number. The bikes were locked with a cable - but owners also had to affix their own locks. No lock, no bike parking, the attendants told me. 
The system's complex, but perhaps practical. A few lost bikes and the whole system would likely be trashed.

Why didn't the city provide such parking - which encourages cycling and clean transit - as well as making the
city money - years ago? For that matter, why doesn't the city really require bike parking at important destinations, such as supermarkets and public offices and more than a few TransMilenio stations? (Rather, there seems to exist a paranoia about bikes. The other day, I locked my bike on a sidewalk beside a private university in La Candelaria. When I returned some 20 minutes later, several security guards were waiting, up in arms. What's the meaning of this? they asked. After all, my bike might be carrying a bomb. I pointed out that the cars I often see parked beside the school could contain much, much larger bombs.)

So, it's a good thing...but it could be better. In the first place, the fee of 3,000 pesos seems excessive, especially when the city wants to promote cycling. The adjoining car parking lot charges flat fees of 7,500 pesos for cars and 5,000 for motorcycles (it doesn't accept bikes). Considering the tiny space a bicycle occupies, besides cycling's benefits, makes the bike fee seem disproportionate.

Room for thousands more bikes.
The 3,000 pesos is about the cost of two bus rides. If the city wants to shift Bogotanos to clean, healthy transport, it should give people an economic incentive to pedal. But thanks to Bogotá's neoliberal mindset - even with an ex-guerrilla in command - even programs benefiting health and the environment are supposed to generate profits (even while cars often receive free parking and subsidized fuels).

For that matter, why doesn't the park's car parking lot have a bike rack - as required by law?

And more bikes kept on arriving.
'Come to Rock al Parque by bike.'
I was also surprised by the highly processed, plastic-wrapped cakes that were given to cyclists. Why not give out instead apples or bananas or something else that's healthy?

The park's adjoining car parking lot doesn't accept bikes. 
'Don't bring your bike into the parking lot.'
The car parking lot's normal daily fee for cars is 1,000 pesos per hour. In comparison, the charge for bikes seems relatively high.
This avenue connecting the park to 26th Street badly needs a bike lane.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

lunes, 11 de agosto de 2014

Flipping and Flying for Cycling

This five-member French family bicycled from Bolivia to Colombia and have been earning a bit of money by performing acrobatics on Ave. Septima.

By Mike Ceaser of Bogota Bike Tours

jueves, 7 de agosto de 2014

Who's a Bike Lane For?

Last night, cars created - and trapped themselves - in this traffic jam in La Candelaria.

Happily for them, however, the nearby bicycle lane provided a convenient detour.

'Bikes only.'

 And why shouldn't they? After all, just about everybody, including motorcycles, delivery carts, street vendors, and, of course, pedestrians, use Bogotá's 'bike' lanes.

A bike lane's a convenient place to pull a cart.
Motorcycle cops love a bike lane.
A bike lane's a nice place for a walk....
...or to set up a vending cart.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours