City in Bolivia passes law making it compulsory to ride bikes

Citizens of Cochabamba will be required to use bike for local trips once a week

by Simon_MacMichael   October 7, 2013  

Cochabamba (cc licensed by Cochalomayer)_

A city in Bolivia has passed a law that will make it compulsory for residents to ride a bike once a week instead of using other means of transport to get around for their everyday trips.

Beatrice Zegarra, the councillor who proposed the law in Cochabamba, the South American country’s fourth largest city and home to some 600,000 people, hopes that it will come into force early in the new year.

The legislation was approved by the city council’s Committee for Urban Development, Planning and the Environment last week, reports Bolivian news website, Opinion.

It is aimed at not only reducing pollution, but also at improving the health of the city’s residents by introducing them to the benefits of using two wheels to get around, as part of promoting healthier lifestyles.

The law also provides for the construction of a major new cycle route, upgrading of existing ones, the provision of cycle parking at public and private workplaces and other institutions, and cycle training in schools.

Last month, the country’s president Evo Morales participated in a Day of Pedestrians and Cyclists in Defence of Mother Earth, held nationwide since 2011 but first instituted in Cochabamba a decade ago.

Each year, the day sees all motorised traffic in Bolivia halted for eight hours, leaving the streets free for people on foot or on bikes.

18 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Please can we have this in London?

I'd settle for just black cab drivers...

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [257 posts]
8th October 2013 - 2:20

26 Likes

Not entirely convinced this is a good move. For a start, how the hell are they going to monitor adherence?

posted by Al__S [874 posts]
8th October 2013 - 9:00

21 Likes

Al__S wrote:
Not entirely convinced this is a good move. For a start, how the hell are they going to monitor adherence?

True, it is going to be virtually impossible to police, but compare it to the uk... At least it implies a government that actually think cycling is a good idea. As for compliance on a car free day i think that is quite easy to monitor.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1864 posts]
8th October 2013 - 9:12

19 Likes

Interesting move. As said above, how will they enforce it?

Also though, as noted regularly on here, provision of cycling infrastructure etc is relatively cheap. So it will be interesting to see if less afluent or less developed regions, assuming they adopt a positive approach to mainstream cycling, manage to subsequently make a disproportionate jump in quality of life, where they perhaps couldn't have afforded to make such fundmental investment in other forms of transport.

Would the more affluent/developed regions (cities in many western countries, for example) start to look antiquated with their traffic jams and dangerous riding conditions?

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3707 posts]
8th October 2013 - 9:26

30 Likes

"Welcome to Brockenhurst, twinned with Cochabamba"

We can dream …

posted by ped [191 posts]
8th October 2013 - 10:39

21 Likes

Anyone know how much house prices are over there?

posted by thelimopit [124 posts]
8th October 2013 - 12:44

25 Likes

You guys are missing the point, its not about enforcing it, its about culture, look at Holland, there is no law there however every dutch person I know rides many times a week.

I suspect the law isn't about trying to force people to ride, its about the awareness of riding, people will now think... I need to ride and will, but the people who will never ride won't anyway because as you rightly say it cannot be policed.

posted by mikeprytherch [220 posts]
8th October 2013 - 13:08

26 Likes

No chance of it happening here. Car drivers would be screaming for a refund on their "Road tax."

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
8th October 2013 - 13:26

16 Likes

The Rumpo Kid wrote:
No chance of it happening here. Car drivers would be screaming for a refund on their "Road tax."

Give it to them (us). In fact, abolish VED completely - it makes no sense anyway. Increase fuel duty to cover the loss.

posted by teaboy [280 posts]
8th October 2013 - 17:25

23 Likes

Strava spot checks?

contrabland's picture

posted by contrabland [8 posts]
8th October 2013 - 18:12

23 Likes

contrabland wrote:
Strava spot checks?

Applause

posted by prawny [9 posts]
8th October 2013 - 19:40

18 Likes

Awesome! My kind of legislation!

So when is Cameron going to to take part in a Day of Pedestrians and Cyclists in Defence of Mother Earth?

Ghedebrav's picture

posted by Ghedebrav [1132 posts]
8th October 2013 - 21:11

19 Likes

teaboy wrote:
The Rumpo Kid wrote:
No chance of it happening here. Car drivers would be screaming for a refund on their "Road tax."

Give it to them (us). In fact, abolish VED completely - it makes no sense anyway. Increase fuel duty to cover the loss.

+1 totally agree with this, it's not complicated and requires no expensive monitoring technology, no paperwork or red tape for motorists, get's rid of the 'road tax' misnomer and is paid on a pay as you go basis.

the_mikey's picture

posted by the_mikey [155 posts]
8th October 2013 - 21:23

20 Likes

It's lovely in theory and I was about to shout "yay", great idea! Until I remembered that we live in a very rural area and we are already penalised for that by high fuel duty, no public transport and poor roads.

My mileage is fuel-efficient (not stop/start) but high because my nearest two major admin and shopping centres (Hereford and Brecon) are both 18 miles away.

I can cycle that but many cannot and going further afield there is no option but car. So spare a thought for those of us that really have no choice but the 4 bad wheels.

jmferros's picture

posted by jmferros [9 posts]
8th October 2013 - 21:37

21 Likes

It's once a week. Begorrah! As for rural living. Extra encouragement to carshare. Generally people use living in country as an excuse so drive far more than necessary. Electric bikes useful for longer rural trips. I live in small town 30 miles from Edinburgh.

Dunbar, Scotland

posted by mjcycling [13 posts]
8th October 2013 - 23:58

15 Likes

Remember that this new law in Bolivia applies only to the city, not rural areas. It won't apply to rural communities who have little alternative to the car.

In the UK I have mixed feelings about the 'no alternative to the car' reasoning in rural areas. I live in a small town and its true that to get anywhere outside of the town cycling is not a particually attractive option. Even a 5 mile pootle to the next town along takes in fast roads that are heavily used by HGVs and boy racers. As you might expect for a route used by HGVs the road surface is quite poor and, particually relevant at this time of year, the roads are unlit.

On the other hand I used to make this jouney daily by bike, so it can be done.

posted by Matt eaton [701 posts]
9th October 2013 - 8:53

13 Likes

I wish I could cycle to my local corner shop. But since I live above it, I cant cycle up the stairs once I have cycled down Tongue

I go great with chips Tongue

posted by tommyketchup [89 posts]
9th October 2013 - 11:00

14 Likes

teaboy wrote:
The Rumpo Kid wrote:
No chance of it happening here. Car drivers would be screaming for a refund on their "Road tax."

Give it to them (us). In fact, abolish VED completely - it makes no sense anyway. Increase fuel duty to cover the loss.


I also agree. But can we see this discounts-for-the-drivers-while-the-planet-burns government ever doing it?


How many fuel times have they put off fuel tax increases now, while the libraries and surestart centres continue to close?

posted by pmanc [181 posts]
9th October 2013 - 12:55

15 Likes