|A student in a city-sponsored bike-to-school program.|
|Bicycling down a cycle path in the Santa Fe neighborhood.|
Children also learn basic mechanics and receive helmets and other things as prizes. In addition to commuting to school, the program also organizes cycling outings to parks, museums, historical sites and other destinations. Some 6,000 students participate, according to El Tiempo, under the watchful eyes of more than two hundred guides, primarily in middle- and lower-income neighborhoods. The idea is to set mobility and physical activity patterns the children will follow through the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, only a small proportion of students can participate - perhaps 20 or 30 in a whole
|A well-worn 'Al Colegio en Bici' |
Of course, many other children ride to school on their own bikes. 'The school bike parking lots are always full,' says the friend.
The program has been marred by tragedies. Recently, a guide was hit and killed by a bus, and a child whose parent didn't meet him at an after-school pick-up spot was fatally struck by a car as he tried to make his way home.
Both tragedies may say more about the habits of Bogotá drivers and the unruliness of the roads here, than the Al Colegio en Bici program.
With luck, the program will have a multiplier effect, by making the cyclists the envy of their classmates, and motivating others to buy bicycles or take that old bike out of storage.
|'To the museum by bike.' Bikes wait outside for students visiting the National Museum.|
|Hand me that helmet!|
|Waiting to ride home.|