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In Bogotá, “Mejor en Bici” Shows the City Is Better on a Bicycle

11:23 AM EDT on June 21, 2013

Bogotá, Colombia, has a deserved reputation as one of the best biking cities in Latin America. Former mayor Enrique Peñalosa helped endow the city with a system of all-ages bikeways. But like many global cities, Bogotá still struggles with congestion and car dependence, and cycling rates during the week are much lower than the weekends, when everyone comes out for the city's famous Ciclovía.

One group trying to encourage more cycling is Mejor en Bici -- "better on bike." Mejor en Bici gets people who may be new to cycling on bikes, mainly by working with employers to encourage cycling among their workforce. Network blog This Big City explains:

Since 2009, Mejor en bici (Better on bike) has promoted the use of bicycles in Bogotá as a solution for chaotic urban mobility issues and also to develop better lifestyles amongst citizens. They work with companies, universities and communities to design strategies and develop programs and partnerships helping people use bicycles as their main way to move from home to work or to study.

The key driver for the creation of Mejor en bici was the increasing number of cars on the streets of Bogotá. It is typical for a small family in Bogotá to have 2 or 3 cars, causing huge congestion. The bicycle is proving to be the best alternative. Mejor en bici works primarily with the private sector, which is much more agile and efficient than the public sector and the common target for urban mobility initiatives.

A video at This Big City goes into more detail about how Mejor en Bici appeals to different types of riders and help folks overcome the fear of the first trip. Program directors would like to see it evolve into a public bike-share system for the city.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Urban Indy reports that a state senator is promoting a roads-only regional transportation plan as an alternative to the transit-oriented plan IndyGo. New Haven Safe Streets says an Ohio State University study on "distracted walking" may have over-reached in its conclusions. And Mobilizing the Region relays the happy news that the city of Camden, New Jersey, is the latest Garden State city to embrace a complete streets policy.

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