Rio and São Paulo on two wheels
Traffic jams in Rio and Sao Paulo can make the London rush hour look as clean as a German Autobahn. The two cities, are now stimulating cycle rides as way for people to get around and visitors are already able to reap the benefits. While Rio has their own version of Barclays Cycle Hire scheme (the Bike Rio Samba), Sao Paulo are planning to expand its 52-km network of paths.
The authorities’ decision to increase investment in journey made by bike will certainly greeted with optimism by the growing numbers of cariocas and paulistas who are now going through their daily business on two wheels. That has helped a lot the safety cause: according to official sources, the number of cyclists deaths on the streets of South America’s biggest city decreased from 93 in 2005 to 47 in 2010.
The fatality rates are still quite high, though, and campaigns are being put in place to increase awareness amongst driver. The cycle lobby also rely on very interesting research projects such as Cidade Para Pessoas (City for the People), a compilation of best practices in terms of urban planning and environmental management around the world and that pays special attention to alternative transport schemes.
In Rio, the cycle hire scheme, launched a year ago, offers 600 bikes in 60 stations spread across the South Zone and the City Centre, covering basically the main popular routes for tourists, including the seafront. As a matter of fact, there are bespoke routes for those willing to pedal while sightseeing.
A monthly pass costs less than £5 and the only perk in relation to the London system is that the release of the bikes has to be made via a local mobile phone. The City Council is planning expansions to other Rio areas in order to provide more coverage to a network of more than 290km of paths. The public system is not the only alternative. In places like the Copacabana promenade and the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon it is also possible to rent some heels, with prices starting at £3 per hour.
For maps, routes and registration: http://www.mobilicidade.com.br/bikerio.asp