‘On your bikes’ plan for Bolivian city

Cochamba No Car Day 2013-09-04 - 700 x 300 WebsiteNo worries:  People in Cochabamba, Bolivia, take to the streets on No Car Day.

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, cycling news website road.cc reported, citing Bolivian news website Opinion.

Beatrice Zegarra, the councillor who proposed the law in Cochabamba, hopes that it will come into force early in the new year.

Cochabamba is the South American country’s fourth biggest city with about 600,000 people.

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

It has to be passed by the full council.

The law is aimed at reducing pollution and improving residents’ health by getting them to exercise, part of the authorities’ programs to promote healthier lifestyles.

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

Last month, 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 on the day, all non-essential motorised traffic in Bolivia is halted for eight hours, leaving the streets free for people on foot or on bikes.

American blogger Nicholas Fromherz posted photos of Cochabamba on his website taken during the Day of Pedestrians and Cyclists in Defence of Mother Earth.

He said all non-essential car use was prohibited and people took to the streets on bikes, skateboards, and their own two feet.   According to Los Tiempos, air contamination dropped dramatically.

Nicholas Fromherz is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.  Before joining the faculty at Lewis & Clark, he lived and worked in  Cochabamba, as an environmental law and policy scholar.  Professor Fromherz’s blog can be found at southamericanlaw.com.

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