Think of bike-friendly cities and the list might include many European, and possibly some North American metropolises. But a developing South American capital?
According to Treehugger, over the past ten years the city of Bogotá, Colombia has quietly invested in its bicycle transportation infrastructure. The result has been massive: over 300 kilometers of protected bikeways, connected in a useful network that links some of the city’s richest areas with some of its poorest. Carlos Felipe Pardo, Transportation Consultant for Bogotá, explains:
It is a true network of cycling, and it’s a true network of high-quality bicycle infrastructure.
But getting Bogotá’s residents out of their cars and balancing on two wheels hasn’t been easy. It’s taken a shift in cultural attitudes around cycling itself. Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, said:
People used to be ashamed of using a bicycle because that was a sign of being the poorest of the poor. When we built a very high quality bicycle infrastructure –besides protecting cyclists – this is powerful a symbol that shows that a citizen on a $30 bicycle is equally important to one in a $30,000 car.
Bicycle ridership has already gone up from 0.1% to 5% of the population, the former mayor estimates. We’re glad to see there are some alternative gears turning over at Bogotá City Hall.