Friday, April 6, 2018

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


Stuart Oswald said...

Finding it hard to side with you on this one. Much of the criticism bar the pollution can be applied to cyclists just as much. Even the point about crime can be applied to cyclists (seen far more crime committed by cyclists and that goes not just for Bogotá or Colombia). I know you try, but you would be more agreeable if you were to post evenly with facts on such issues. I like your posts a lot and they form a staple of my regular reads, but this one reveals a little too much.

Miguel said...

HI Stuart,

Are cyclists known for crime? Sure, there are crimes committed by cyclists - and by pedestrians, and by people in cars. But it seems to me that motorcyclists are particularly associated with crime. Of course, only a tiny percentage of motorcyclists are criminals, but still more proportionately than people who use other transport.