Escudo de la República de Colombia

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“Bikexperience”: an initiative to improve bicycle mobility

Using a citizen participation mechanism they called ‘Bikexperience’, two Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) School of Industrial Design alumnae implemented a new initiative to help bicycle mobility and culture and also provide proposals to improve infrastructure.

Bogotá D. C., 05 de mayo de 2016Agencia de Noticias UN-

They drew out bike lanes to avoid invading pedestrian walkways.

They provided ramps to facilitate access.

The cycling route was marked with recycled material.

School of Industrial Design alumnae, Yesica Granados and Alexandra Moreno. Foto: Nicolás Bojacá

They also manufactured traffic signs following mobility regulations.

Approximately 3,200 bicycles roam about UNal.

Taking into account that the amount of cyclists is rapidly growing, UNal alumnae Yesica Granados and Alexandra Moreno, carried out observations at the UNal-Bogotá campus to identify the main issues of bicycle transportation within the university. 

They discovered that the lack of road infrastructure and citizen culture were the greatest hindrances for more than 3,200 bicycles that roam the campus. 

“Bicycles numbers have increased and we still do not have the appropriate infrastructure for bicycling transit without disturbing pedestrians or automobiles. Bicycles do not have to be limited to travelling on the streets with cars because it would mean taking away their flexibility,” said Moreno. 

In face of this situation the designers carried out three experiments around campus proposing the infrastructure the city is lacking. 

First they marked bike lanes using recycled materials such as plastic bottles and sand. They also called on the community so they could be part of the solution. 

Thanks to the preceding, cars and motorcycles began to respect bike lanes and bicycle users said this organized bicycle flow and helped them reach authorized exits. 

The second action consisted of making out traffic tickets. This helped strengthen citizen culture. During this activity all actors (cyclists, pedestrians, car and motorcycle drivers) were given symbolic tickets to approve or disapprove their mobility attitude. 

“We discovered that the most common habit of bicycle users was being in a hurry during rush hours and this is why many of them invade pedestrian sidewalks, park in areas which interfere with pedestrian mobility and besides do not have enough bicycle parking,” said Granados. 

People of the community were in charge of imposing traffic tickets. 83% were negative and rest were to reinforce good practices. 

Tickets may be downloaded at www.biciexperiencia.wordpress.com/manuales/ for people interested in repeating the initiative in their communities. 

Lastly they carried out a participative session they named “Sharing routes” so bicycle riders could draw the most frequent bicycle routes in a campus map and also express their input with the purpose of improving mobility. 

From this activity they received more than 36 proposals and chose the best 3, which were implemented in the main university plaza. There they drew the bicycle route and installed ramps made by the students so they would not invade pedestrian walkways; furthermore they also implemented signage indicating the routes to the nearest buildings and the regulations which should be followed. 

During the first day 60% of the cyclists used the route while for the second day the percentage increased to 80%. 

“We created alternatives for bicycles to ride in other spaces but respecting pedestrians. These are short term solutions which may also be adopted by private or public institutions on the long run,” said Granados. 

With this project, directed by UNal Head of Extension Pablo Abril, the students carried out a presentation in the World Bicycle Forum recently held in Santiago de Chile. 

They were also finalists of the Youth for Public Transport International Transport Fair in the Sustainable Mobility Best Youth Idea category. They hope to replicate this initiative in several cities of Colombia and the world. 

“We demonstrated that the bicycle is also an important actor which needs its own infrastructure and to respect other mobility players,” said Moreno.

(Por: Fin/VC/DMH/APBL
)
N.° 646

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