“I ride 43 km a day and I love it,” said Carlos Cantor in Bogotá, Colombia. “Five years ago I switched my car for a bike,” explained Tomás Fuenzalida from Santiago, Chile. They are both part of the burgeoning growth of cycling as a transport solution in Latin America.
But in the second-most urbanised region in the world, public sentiment towards bicycles is mixed, with some seeing them as a symbol of low socioeconomic status, says the “Biciciudades 2013” study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) with regard to the expansion of this sustainable means of transport in large and medium-sized cities in the region.
The report, based on surveys and commissioned by the IDB’s Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative, found that between 0.4 and 10 percent of the population in the region use a bicycle as their main means of transportation.
Among the cities studied, Cochabamba in Bolivia heads the list, with 10 percent of the population depending on the bicycle. It is followed by La Paz, Bolivia, and Asunción, the Paraguayan capital, with five percent. All of these are intermediate cities with populations between 100,000 and two million people.