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Will Two Wheels Conquer Mexico City Gridlock Grind?

Sophie Hares - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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October 5, 2017

The things that make cycling so magical (CycleSpace)

Zipping through streets teeming with people and traffic after the earthquake that rocked Mexico City last month, cyclists helped locate collapsed buildings where people might be trapped, and ferried tools and supplies to rescue teams.

In the days after the Sept. 19 disaster, over 1,000 cyclists linked up to deliver medical equipment, tarpaulins and food around the city. Areli Carreón, the city's unofficial "bicycle mayor", used maps of quake damage as one way of directing riders communicating via walkie-talkie style apps.

"In the first few hours, the only thing that was moving around was bicycles. They really served as an emergency breathing system for the city," said Carreón.

"No matter the distance, no matter the place, no matter how bad the road was, how difficult the traffic, bicycles with their cargo were the fastest possible way," she added.

Set up by Amsterdam-based advocacy group CycleSpace, the international "bicycle mayor" scheme wants its representatives to help coordinate city resources better and work with authorities and businesses to make cycling safer and more accessible.

Setting a target for 50 percent of all urban trips to be made on bicycles by 2030, it has so far designated seven voluntary "mayors" in cities, including Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, Sydney and Baroda in India.

"We really believe you can make cities liveable again by integrating bikes," said Anna Luten, Amsterdam's "bike mayor", adding that Buenos Aires, Bogotá and El Paso in Texas are also interested. "If you have 20 percent or 10 percent less cars, (drivers) will have a smoother ride as well."

Read the rest at Mail Online

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