miércoles, 30 de septiembre de 2015

Laws for Biking?

It has an engine, burns fuel, belches smoke and goes vroom. So is it a bicycle or a motorcycle? 
Colombian lawmakers are considering pro-cycling laws right now - but unfortunately they likely won't get much priority - and lots of opposition.

A bici-motor in a downtown bike lane.
One would prohibit bicycles equipped with motors from bike lanes. It might just seem like common sense that a bicycle with a motor is, by definition, a motorcycle. However, because the motors' have less than 50 cc of displacement, the city's motor vehicle laws don't cover them, That's despite their being very noisy and often generating more pollution than a car, since their two-stroke engines burn oil.

One complication with banning the motorized bikes from bike lanes is distinguishing them from electric bikes, which are also motor-powered, but don't pollute or make much noise and go much slower than gasoline-powered motor-bikes. The electric bikes aren't a problem, the gasoline-powered ones are.

In any case, if this legislation nears becoming law, you can expect the motor-bikes' makers and users to scream that barring them from bike lanes violates their human rights. But that's not all. Even when they're on the street, they should be equipped with anti-pollution devices and their riders should be licensed.

A second law, in Congress, is intended to promote cycling - actually has some good things: It would provide some financial incentives, albeit small ones, for frequent cyclists, and would also give extra time off for public employees who commute by bike.

Unfortunately, the benefits are slight compared to the huge subsidies given to motor vehicles, such as free parking and subsidized fuel - not to mention the non-stop onslaught of pro-car propaganda.

The law's most important benefit might be a change of mentality legitimizing bike commuting in a climate where many workplaces provide no place for bike parking, much less showers or a changing room.

Businesses will undoubtedly oppose this legislation, as more costs and government regulation. This despite the fact that more bike commuters means healthier employees, and each worker who switches from driving to cycling can mean big savings in less parking.

By Mike Ceaser of Bogota Bike Tours

4 comentarios:

  1. OMG, Mike...great commentario. Is that bike under the title a modified Trek Pur? It looks like my Trek.

  2. Partially agree with your words, I think Electric bikes are equally dangerous as the ones on gasoline, they are even promoted in Ad flyers as Bicycles not Eco-bikes, I can testify how dangerous they are. Its speed is fairly faster than a normal bicycle, but that’s not the problem, its weight and poorly made brakes has caused some accidents on many ciclo-rutas, especially during rush hours in Avenida Boyaca and Ciudad de Cali. Maybe, in a near future, these bikes have better chances to have their way in bike lanes, like in Germany, their speed is heavily regulated, electric bikes, modified ones, have the right to share its place with bicycles on a bike lane but they cannot exceed their speed to more than 20 km/h, of course, after mandatory modifications. As bogotano I should remind you that bike lanes were specifically designed for cyclists, not Eco-bikes or Bicitaxis. Unfortunately lawmakers never are in our side, unless there is a business in between, and, to put it bluntly, people in Bogota seems to appreciate more their freedom than their own lives. These new “bikers” don’t pay taxes; they don’t need to go to a driving school, even though it’s a motorcycle; they don’t need a license, number plates or vehicle registration; in case of accident who is responsible to pay medical expenses? What about the insurance? No, no, no, definitely not; too many loopholes in the law for Colombian “bikers”.

  3. Ever hear of 4 stroke engines for bicycles?

  4. With a four-stroke engine, nobody could call it a bicycle.