Mike’s Bogota Blog: More Motorcycles, More Problems

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Mike’s Bogota Blog: More Motorcycles, More Problems

A crowd of motorcyclists roar along an avenue in central Bogotá.
El Tiempo: ‘Motorcycles take more
and more passengers from buses

Bogotá is becoming inundated with motorcycles. For their riders, they provide an alternative to having to wait for buses or idle in traffic jams. But for cities they create problems including crime,  traffic chaos and a weakened mass transit system.

Perhaps surprisingly, motorcycles also pollute – a lot, particularly those motorcycles with small two-stroke engines which burn oil and often leave behind a stream of white smoke dense with particulate

A motorcycle belches out white smoke.

matter. Bogotá officials have repeatedly declared they would restrict the two-stroke motorcycles, but instead they are proliferating. (Today, even many ‘bicycles’ are equipped with dirty, noisy engines – altho they still behave like, and claim to be, bicycles.)

Motorcyclists are also linked to crime. I myself was once mugged by a group of young men on motorcycles. And official concern was so much that several months ago Bogotá banned male motorcyclists from carrying other males as passengers.

A motorcycle club rally in La Candelaria. Most Bogotá motorycles are smaller, newer and more practical.

But perhaps motorcycles’ most worrying impact for urban liveability is the way that they drain

Motorcycles lined up in a Bogotá neighborhood
dedicated to repairing motorcycles and selling
morotcycle parts.

passengers from mass transit. If mass transit ridership drops far enough – and that’s already happening in Bogotá – it will make mass transit economically inviable, reducing its availability and pushing even more people to cars and motorcycles and worsening Bogotá’s terrible traffic.

Motorcycles are involved in a dosproportionate number of accidents and injuries.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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