Monday, August 3, 2009

Public Bikes in Latin American Cities: Now what?

We are seeing some pretty good city-size public bike systems in cities like Paris, Barcelona, Lyon, and more recently Montreal -- and more than fifty smaller systems, most of which in Europe and all doing a pretty fair job at what they have set out to do. That's just fine. But what about the mega-cities of Latin America?

Will shared bike projects work out there? And if they are to have a shot at success how should they be planned, configured, implemented and then made to do the job day after day in the full stream of the continent's exciting traffic and city life.

That was the issue that Eric Britton of the New Mobility Partnerships and World Streets was asked to address in an open brainstorm organized by the WRI EMBARQ team in Cuernavaca Mexico on 2 July 2009.

* Click here for PowerPoint presentation:

Britton was asked specifically to report on the role that public or shared bike systems might eventually play in Latin American cities, against the background of their successful implementation for the most part in rather different environments. There has been considerable interest shown by politicians, some planners and transporters, public interest groups (mainly cyclists of course) and the media across the region over the last year or so. But how to move ahead with a concept which until now has been largely successful in European cities, under circumstances on the ground that differ considerably in most cases.

* Click here for PowerPoint presentation:

"What next?" -- Keep pedaling
This presentation represents his attempt to open up the discussions and at the same time to plant a few seeds. He looks for clues to what might be adapted and approached quite differently in these for the most part quite different environments. His closing message: Keep on pedaling, you can get there.

World Public Bike Consortium at (Offers extensive references and sources.)

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  1. In my city, Rio de Janeiro, RJ - Brazil, the government is implementing the public bikes' project. It's still hard to do upon a city is a little violent and the streets are not so straight, due the hills. I think going by bike is a necessity of the 3rd Millennium and we must join it.

  2. Mike Ceaser/ Bogota Bike Tours, Bogota ColombiaWednesday, 12 August, 2009

    I understand that Buenos Aires is creating a public bikes system. and Bogota, Colombia is studying the idea. However, they need to calm the traffic and create more bike lanes for it to be successful.

    Also, a discouraging note: Las year the National University tried a public bikes program inside the U., which is a closed area. But it failed due to damage to and theft of bikes. So, could it work city-wide?


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