The use of bicycles as a means of transport is an increasingly present reality in the country, and studies confirm that with the advent of the pandemic its use has been increasing.
A recent study by the Automobile Club of Chile found that 23% of respondents are making their transfer by bicycle, while 20% said they are evaluating acquiring a means of transport that will ensure they avoid physical contact and crowds during the pandemic.
Currently, more than one million people use the bicycle every day as a means of transport, but accidents like last Monday, December 28, continue to occur, as in Chile there are still no conditions for cyclists and motorists to live together safely.
«While we were growing more than 50% annually, due to increased use of the bike as a trend and e-commerce, in August 2020 we sold six times more than in equal month 2019 and in September, ten times more compared to the same month of the previous year, growing by 1,000%,» explains Andrés Roi, co-founder and marketing manager at Yerka Bikes.
However, the death numbers of cyclists have also been increasing and there is concern about the 28% increase compared to the 2019 statistics.
From the National Transit Safety Commission (Conaset), they explain that the increase in deaths this year is mainly due to two reasons: the increase in the speeds reached by motorists, the result of the vehicle decongestion that was experienced in the country as a result of the pandemic and the increase in cyclists and pedestrians that have been recorded as a result of the deconfining.
There are 90 cases of cyclists killed by road accidents going in the year and concern about the lack of concrete measures to address this problem is on the rise. Nicolas Riquelme, spokesman for the Cycling Revolution, called on the authorities to take matters into letters, as «we cannot continue to allow people to die every day, it is irresponsible of the government and congress to continue to allow these accidents. We need everyone to participate in this, we can’t keep allowing more people to die.»
More infrastructure and auditing
The processing of a bill that creates an Automated Infringement Treatment Center (CATI), which would consist of installing automated monitoring to detect speeding violations and launching a guide with recommendations for the safe use of bicycles and other cycles during the pandemic, are the only initiatives seen during this 2020 focused on providing a safe space for cyclists , but still do not address the problem in the background: There are no spaces for cyclists and motorists to live safely.
Since 2013 there has been a promise to create 800 km of cycles that became dead letter. But in the face of the increase in accidents, the Ministry of Transport announced that 2.5 billion pesos will be invested for the construction of cycle roads and solving problems of safety and road coexistence.
The Undersecretary of Transport, José Luis Dominguez, explained that the resources were delivered to the municipalities through the Undersecretariat for Regional Development (Subdere) in the regions of Valparaiso, Santiago, Maule and Biobío, which include 24 cycleways and the rest Tokyo crossings and new types of exclusive roads.
At the same time, the Ministry of Housing will continue its own projects to build 59 kilometers in Rancagua, Chillán, Punta Arenas, Chiguayante and the conservation of routes in the Biobío. In addition, the construction of another 80 kilometers is being studied.
In this sense, from Revolution Ciclista explain that as an association they are seeking, in addition to the education of the population on transit issues, that the authorities provide them with a safe space to be able to mobilize, because as specified in the Transit Law, bicycles are also an authorized means of transport, so they should have the same rights and conditions as cars.