Photo by Secretaria de Movilidad
As we near the end of the programme with the IDRD, having covered the various aspects of Ciclovia's operations in different sessions and activities, we have looked further to learn from other initiatives in Bogota that promote sustainable transport. It has been especially interesting to talk to organisations and groups outside of government, to get a different angle and learn how different approaches can complement public programmes.
We met with Andres Vergara and Deyanira Avila from Bogota's Secretariat of Mobility who told us respectively that without Ciclovia there would be no bicycle lanes and Ciclovia and the Transport Department in Bogota have similar objectives but different tools. Through NMT government tackles infrastructure and policy. One of their goals is to optimise and democratise transport space in the city, where currently 15% of trips are made in private vehicles, which occupy 80% of the infrastructure.
In addition, we met with Juan Camilo, who works on the theme of sustainable transport in Colombia's Ministry of Transport. He expressed how vital it is to generate passion amongst the public, as the implementation of infrastructure and programmes alone is destined to fail. He said, "People need to be moved" (no pun intended).
This sentiment was echoed by Alberto Goana of Mejor en Bici, a social enterprise working to provide better quality of life to people through the use of the bicycle (for companies and universities); both through operational services such as fleet maintenance, as well as promotion in the form of internal campaigns to get employees and students to use the bicycles. Mejor en Bici believes that in addition to providing the bikes, it is key to help people change their mindset (their "transport chip").
We have also come across a number of different bike colectivos, which are civic groups dedicated to cycling advocacy and recreation, usually through regular night time bike rides. These groups, of which there are more than 100 in Bogota, vary in theme, size and focus, but all are dedicated to spreading the message about alternative urban mobility and growing a movement of active citizens. In Cape Town, in the vacuum left by the dismantling of the monthly Moonlight Mass, there are surely many people who would love to join in similar activities (see Critical Mass Cape Town or The Riding Hood). These groups need passion, dedication and leadership, but once momentum is gained, the possibilities for real impact can be great.
The final activity in the programme here in Bogota, during this coming Sunda's Ciclovia, is to observe the first part of the day from 4:30am in the warehouse where all infrastructure is stored, organised and deployed. We will also be visiting a neighbouring Ciclovia in the rural town of Soacha. Stay tuned for the final blog post next week, reflecting on the weekend's activities and wrapping up this incredible journey we have been on.
Read more and see previous blog posts about the Cape to Colombia trip here
Read more about the history of Ciclovia here
This content was made possible through the support of the WWF Nedbank Green Trust.