viernes, 28 de octubre de 2016

A Bicycle Promotion Law

Cyclists in a bike lane in north Bogotá.
A law approved by Parliament this week promotes bicycle use - but only half-heartedly.

The instructs mass transit agencies to provide bike parking, but doesn't appear to specify exactly how much parking, or what sort of conditions. Bogotá's TransMilenio has some impressive, massive bike parking lots on end-line stations - but the great majority of stations have no bike parking at all. Will this actually be enforced, or will transit agencies just plop a cheap bike rack in a back lot somewhere?

The law also requires government agencies - but not private companies - to provide bike parking equal to 10% of their car parking. That's not a lot, and it only covers public agencies. So, it's a step forward, but only a small one.

The law includes some interesting incentives. Those who travel to the public bus systems by bike for
Biking down Carrera Septima.
30 days get one free bus ride. That's not much, but it's something. And public workers who commute by bike are to get a paid afternoon off for every 30 bike commutes.

Transit systems are also supposed to try to make arrangements for riders to travel with their bicycles, as well as equip vehicles with bike racks. Will transit systems cooperate with this? How many cyclists would risk mounting their bike on the back of a bus, within reach of thieves at every stoplight?
A parked vehicle blocks a bike lane.
Enforcing traffic laws might help.

The new bike law is a step forward, at least as a public signal that the nation does support two-wheeled transit. But it also falls way short - primarily in its failure to include private companies in its policies. I suppose that the parliamentarians didn't want to make enemies.

The law also has a huge failure. Apparently (I've read only news reports about it), the law doesn't bother to define a bicycle as a 'motorless vehicle powered by its rider.' Doing that would finally ban those polluting, dangerous motorized bikes from bike lanes, sidewalks and La Ciclovia.

Still a bicycle? A noisy, polluting bike-with-a-motor.