Every Sunday in Bogota, Colombia, the city’s main roads are cleared of cars so that residents can bike around downtown without fear of becoming roadkill. I had the chance to join the bike carnival a few years ago during a vacation, and I returned to Tijuana thinking about the possiblities here.
Tijuana has some similar challenges – potholes, fickle drivers and tight spaces – which means its rare to encounter a bicyclist on the roads. One time, though, I was pleasantly surprise to see a group of perhaps 50 bicyclists zoom through a major intersection as I iddled at a red light. One of them had a shirt that said “Ciclopista Tijuana.” After an Internet search (see video above), I discovered this was part of an earnest movement in Tijuana to create more spaces for urban bikers.
The “Ciclopista Tijuana” group has learned that pedaling in large groups is the best way to ensure safety on the roads and make a public statement (Their Yahoo! groups page lists 111 members). Now it appears their persistent and visible campaign has gotten some results. Tijuana-based Frontera reports that the city is beginning construction of a one-mile bike path overlooking the city’s canal. Unlike Bogota’s solution, it appears be geared more towards bike race training but it could be a pedal in the right direction.
Note: Mexico City started a program like Colombia’s last year that reserves 20 miles of the city’s historic downtown streets for bicycles on Sundays. Los Angeles Times reporter Ken Ellingwood writes about it here.