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Is a Bolivian City Considering a Law Requiring Residents to Bike?

10:28 AM EDT on October 9, 2013

While some legislators in the United States want to keep cyclists off the roads, a city in Bolivia is taking the opposite tack. Cochabamba, population 700,000, is actually considering a law requiring that residents make use of bicycles to help preserve the environment and improve public health, according to reports.

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Richard Masoner at Cyclelicious dug up this story, first circulated as an editorial on Spanish language Reddit, then carried by news site Road.cc. Masoner cautions that it has been somewhat difficult to confirm, but here is the report:

Councillor Beatriz Zegarra for the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia introduced a proposal to mandate bicycle use at least one day per week for city residents to reduce pollution and preserve the Corazón de la Madre Tierra. Zegarra’s proposal has gone through the city’s urban development committee (“Comision Segundo“) and apparently moves on for full council consideration sometime soon, although it’s not on the agenda for tonight’s city council agenda.

I can’t find official city information available on the official city website, so I don’t know the actual text of the bill. The “news” repeated from road.cc comes from an editorial. I don’t hablo espanol too well and I’d be really surprised if Google Translate can catch Bolivian idioms, so I’m sure we’re missing out on nuances in the Spanish language editorial. Does obligar really mean “force” in Bolivian Spanish? Did the opinion writer purposefully select a misleading and perhaps emotionally charged word that might not exist in the actual bill presented to city council?

According to Road.cc, the law also proposes bike infrastructure and parking improvements.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Reno Rambler explains how the bicycle has long been a symbol of political and cultural resistance. NRDC Switchboard reports the government shutdown is holding up transportation projects all over the country. And Vibrant Bay Area says the most important part of aging in place is having a quality place to age.

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