Copenhagening Latin America

Copenhagening Latin America

The hundreds of new bake lines must go hand by hand with urgent infrastructure

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The title of this article refers to an English saying used to name cities that have been transforming to give more space to bikes. A little like what has been taking place in Lima, Quito, Bogotá and San José de Costa Rica, among other large Latin cities where the pandemic is accelerating the adoption of measures to spread the use of bikes.If some still doubted, confinement made more transparent the pollutant load of motor vehicles, which decreased as they went out of circulation; opposing the bike, in addition to being relatively cheap, is much safer than public transport; it is difficult to catch the coronavirus on a bike, while the opposite occurs inside buses.Some encouraging data: Mexico City has announced the construction of 54 kilometers of emerging bicycle lanes, and Quito, the Ecuadorian capital, will build 63; Bogotá has already created 80 kilometers this year alone, and Lima added 46 kilometers to a rapidly growing network, which includes closing streets in the city center, exclusively for pedestrians and bicycles. In Central America, San José de Costa Rica becomes a regional leader by completing its first 15 kilometers of bicycle lanes and the franchise of a bicycle rental network, while the sale of bikes rose, according to a Deutsche Welle recent report.A scenario that paints very well but is clearly insufficient. With the devilish traffic that characterizes large Latin American cities, cyclists are easy targets for traffic accidents. For this reason, civilian organizations demand infrastructure to better demarcate, impose speed limits on motorized vehicles or, to continue with the Danish example, install traffic lights that signal the passage of cars and bikes. Copenhagen, with 350 kilometers of bike lanes, more than 62 percent of the workforce on two wheels and an emerging economy even in the days of COVID-19, has already shown that change is possible. It seems like a matter of vision and intention.
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