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National Campaign Promotes Bicycle Use in Chile

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SANTIAGO, Chile (July 28) – For years, bicycles were the main mode of transportation for the lower classes in Santiago. Construction workers and students were the only ones who took advantage of this cheap way to get to work or school, places which were often on the other side of the city. Now, after considering […]

SANTIAGO, Chile (July 28) – For years, bicycles were the main mode of transportation for the lower classes in Santiago. Construction workers and students were the only ones who took advantage of this cheap way to get to work or school, places which were often on the other side of the city.
Now, after considering all the health and environmental benefits associated with bicycle use, Chile’s National Commission for Traffic Safety (CONASET) has begun a national campaign to promote bicycle use and the construction of bike paths (ciclovías).
According to CONASET: “Bicycles are environmentally-friendly, cheap and people do not spend money on fuel to make them work.” CONASET also outlines the health benefits. A 30-minute bike ride several times a week would have huge benefits for a population like Chile’s, where 90% of the people lead sedentary lifestyles and heart disease is the country’s number one killer. A new transportation plan coordinated by the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOP) called Transantiago includes the construction of bicycle paths, and the introduction of a new fleet of 1,000 buses in Santiago. The plan will take effect in late October. The first stage of the ‘ciclovías’ plan has already created new bike paths and soon the city will see a network of paths covering 1,200 kilometers. (MH)

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