Bike Lanes: Tools Against PandemicBy Alejandro Ehrenberg | Mon, 04/13/2020 - 17:33
Bicycles are the perfect option for short urban trips during the COVID-19 outbreak. In an article for Gaceta UNAM, Manuel Suárez, director of UNAM’s Institute of Geography, pointed out that “bikes are quick, safe and comfortable. They help those that must go out during the pandemic to avoid public transport, which is a hot spot for contagion. Bikes help people to do social distancing.”
Of course, bicycles’ benefits are not as straightforward with regards to bike-sharing systems, like Mexico City’s ECOBICI or Uber’s Jump. To keep its service as safe as possible, ECOBICI has intensified efforts to continuously sanitize all bikes and stations. According to the city’s Ministry of Mobility, units are disinfected with a chlorine solution at least every 48 hours. For its part, Uber decided to suspend Jump until further notice. In a note sent to users, the company said: “Thank you for your understanding while we work to reduce the virus’ propagation. We will notify you when Jump’s operations are restored.”
In any case, the potential usefulness of bicycles as safe transport alternatives has not gone unnoticed in cities around the world. As reported by The Guardian, “German cities are redrawing road markings to create pop-up cycle lanes for the duration of the COVID-19 lockdown, as cyclists demand more space to physically distance on their commutes to work.” New York City and Bogota are also tracing temporary bicycle lanes so users are able to social distance while riding. Carlton Reid, mobility writer at Forbes, says that “Bogota introduced 100km of cycleways to enable essential journeys.” Mexico City may soon follow in the footsteps of the Colombian capital. Queen Anne Greenways, a Seattle bike-riding advocacy group, tweeted a document showing that plans for bike lanes throughout the megapolis are being thought out.