miércoles, 22 de abril de 2015

A Nice Day for (the Few) Cyclists

A bicyclist enjoys open road space on the normally car-choked NQS today.
Today's extra Petro-sponsored Car-Free Day appeared to motivate more Bogotanos to stay home than to switch to other forms of transit. But for those who did use their bikes, the open street space and lower pollution did make cycling lots more pleasant.

For the first time that I can recall, the Car-Free Day included a Ciclovia, normally just on Sundays and holidays. 

But even with all that, the number of cyclists didn't seem much greater than normal.

Bogotá's occasional Car-Free Days, while well intentioned to change people's transit habits, are too few and far between to accomplish much. Instead, Petro should back the London-style congestion charge which he promised us upon election, but then abandoned in the face of political opposition.

According to El Tiempo, bicycle - or, bike parking lot - use rose 9.2%, SITP bus use rose 19% and pollution dropped 15%.

Contrast with a cyclist trapped in traffic on a normal day.
A few cyclists on La Ciclovia on 26th Street near the Universidad Nacional.

Bicycles - well, a few of them - use a bike lane near the Universidad Nacional.
This bicyclist on the NQS near Palo Quemao today had lots of space.
Not so nice for cycling: The same stretch of NQS on a normal, polluted, traffic-choked day.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

jueves, 9 de abril de 2015

What Bicycle Boom?

Wow! There' a cyclist among those cars!
Can you spot the cyclists in these photos, among all the cars?

The cyclist is the dot on the upper left.
A month ago, after the bicycle summit in Medellin, there was much talk of a 'bicycle boom' in Colombia, and across Latin America. Maybe it's true in some places, and one does see lots of bikes in specific spots in Bogotá.

But the real boom here, tragically, is in private cars. And a recent report by the DANE made it official: in Colombia, bicycle commuting is actually DOWN from last year, while commuting to work by car is INCREASING.

According to the DANE, bicycle commuting dropped dramatically from 4.4% in 2013 to 3.5% last year
El Tiempo 'Use of cars increases and of bicycles drops.'
Of course, this shouldn't be surprising. For all of the Petro administration's commendable pro-bike publicity campaigns and new bike lanes, they can't compete with the economic and propaganda onslaught pushing private car use.

'Free Parking.' Free parking is not only a huge subsidy for car driving, but also sends a message that you are supposed to drive everywhere.
But Petro could still save the situation, by supporting the London-style congestion charge he talked about upon election (but then proceeded to abandon).

There a cyclist!
Thousands of cyclists turn out on Sundays and Holidays for La Ciclovia. But few of these people go to work or school on two wheels.
When many bicyclists, like this guy, feel compelled to wear gas masks because authorities don't bother to control pollution, is it any wonder that lots of people fear pedaling?
One of the chronic traffic jams in La Candelaria. On the hill above the neighborhood the private Universidad Externado is building a huge parking garage. 

Any bikes in sight?
Blog by Mike Ceaser, of Bogota Bike Tours