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  • Robert J. Matter
    PRESS RELEASE ... for more information and/or photos, contact: steely@igc.org BIKE USE IN BOGOTA JUMPS 900%, BOOSTS LOCAL BIKE RETAILERS Bogotá, COLOMBIA--
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 11, 2001
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      for more information and/or photos, contact: steely@...


      Bogotá, COLOMBIA-- Sales of Trek, GT, Schwinn, Bianchi and Giant have increased 80% at Bici Ruta, a bike retailer in Bogotá, Colombia. Bici Ruuta is not the only retailer who is selling increasing numbers of bikes and accessories; business is booming for bike dealers throughout Bogotá, a city of 7 million people. Why the sudden jump?

      This year, Bogotá completed a network of "Ciclo-Rutas", 300 kilometers of bicycle paths, the most extensive dedicated bike path network in the world. The new paths, coupled with other bike promotion measures, have caused a 900% increase in cycling. In 1997 only 0.5% of the population used the bicycle as a means of transportation, today more than 5% do it.

      Other strategies that have led to the growth of cycling in Bogotá include a crack-down on cars parking on public space, and the "Ciclovia", a policy by which all cars are banned from 120 kilometers of the city's main arteries on Sundays and holidays, opening the streets to 2 million cyclists, walkers, and roller-bladers. The popular Enrique Peñalosa, who because of term limits recently stepped down as Mayor of Bogotá, was the primary force behind these and other pro-bicycle measures.

      On Thursday, February 24, 2000 Mayor Peñalosa carried out Bogota's first Car Free Day, a day in which no cars were allowed to circulate in the entire urban area (32,000 hectares). During 13 hours, from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM, about 6,5 million people moved in public transit, bicycles, roller blades, taxis and by foot. On this workday 98% of all activities functioned normally. Indeed, many businesses reported increased sales. Due to these visionary efforts, Mayor Peñalosa was recently awarded the prestigious Stockholm Challenge Prize.

      A bus rapid transit system called TransMilenio was also launched in December 2000. 160-passenger buses run through exclusive corridors. The system is integrated with the Ciclo-Ruta network, TransMilenio's main stations are provided with bicycle parking facilities.

      In a referendum held on October 29, 2000, Mayor Peñalosa asked citizens if they wanted to hold a Car Free Day every first Thursday of February and whether they wanted to prohibit all cars circulation at peak hours (6 AM to 9 AM and 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM) by the year 2015. Both proposals were approved, which means that Bogotá is becoming the first Car Free City in the world.

      "Mayor Peñalosa's policies have positively affected my business; I have increased sales as well as the mechanical service. People have become passionate about bicycles; they buy accessories to repair or improve their bikes, sport clothes, helmets, gloves, and other accessories," said Carlos Torrado, the owner of Bici Ruta.

      According to Torrado, who in addition to Trek, Gary Fischer, GT, Schwinn, and Bianchi carries his own line of "Torrado" bicycles, monthly sales have jumped 80%, to US$ 9,900 per month in one year "It has become a trend for parents and their children who go together to the Ciclovia or the Bike Paths. I have seen cases in which the father buys a bicycle for his son and then buys one for himself and another one for his wife, so they can enjoy bicycling together," continued Torrado.

      Oscar Edmundo Diaz, who is currently employed at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), an international bike advocacy group based in New York City, gave a seminar to industry leaders at this year's Interbike trade show. "This is a perfect example of how pro-bicycle policies and infrastructure can yield significant increases in sales for the bike industry," said Diaz. Mr. Diaz, before he came to ITDP, was Mayor Peñalosa's Special Advisor on Foreign Affairs. "Now that I am at ITDP, I am working to convince other cities around the world adopt the same things that have worked so well in Bogotá."

      The Bogotá model has been studied with interest by other Latin American capital cities such as Lima, Quito, Santiago de Chile, Panama City and Guatemala City. For more information, or to receive accompanying photos, contact

      Paul S. White at ITDP: steely@...

      Paul Steely White
      Director, Africa Programs
      Institute for Transportation
      & Development Policy (ITDP)

      115 W. 30th St. Suite 1205
      New York, NY 10001
      Tel +212 629 8001 Fax -8033
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