|It has an engine, burns fuel, belches smoke and goes vroom. So is it a bicycle or a motorcycle?|
|A bici-motor in a downtown bike lane.|
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