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City improves biking in Rio de Janeiro

Cycling in Rio de Janeiro is becoming a bit easier again. The City is continuing to improve conditions for its bike riders, with the opening in February of the first 3,3 kilometres of cycle lanes in the city’s downtown area. This is good news for Rio by Bike and will give us the possibilty to expand our bike tours in Rio. Soon we'll be exploring that part of the city, to see if it is feasable to do a guided bike tour there.

There are three different cycle routes in Rio de Janeiro connecting important transit stations with their surrounding neighborhoods. Although it marks a modest initial growth to Rio’s existing bike infrastructure, the so called Ciclo Rotas Project is an important development for city’s residents. The designated lanes are the first in downtown Rio, allowing bikers more safety, comfort, and accessibility and linking bus and metro stations with pedestrian areas.

The new lanes aim to increase mobility in the neighbourhoods of Lapa, Saúde and Gamboa, addressing the ‘last mile’ problem from transit stations to people’s jobs and establishing space for non-motorised transport in downtown Rio. In addition, the new lanes will be integrated with the existing cycling infrastructure, increasing connectivity of the entire network, promote biking in Rio de Janeiro and helping to create a complete path from the city’s North Zone to the South. This might be an interesting guided bike tour route in the future.

However, Rio is doing more other things as well to make the city more bike friendly. This year (2014) Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes inaugurated a new bike station near the Port Zone’s Museu de Arte do Rio, one of Rio’s newest art museums. The station is part of a BikeRio expansion project that is scheduled to include 20 additional stations in total and should add 200 bicycles to the bike-sharing program.

BikeRio is a sustainability program enacted by the city which provides bicycles to promote biking in Rio de Janeiro as a means of transportation and to encourage healthier lifestyles.

The bicycles are commonly referred to as “laranjinhas” (oranges) due to their orange coloring associated with their sponso Itaú Unibanco.

The project has already placed 600 bicycles at sixty points in fourteen districts of Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone). The expansion is scheduled to include an additional nineteen new stations in: Rio’s downtown, Catumbi, Estácio, Cidade Nova and the Port Zone, as well as Tijuca, Vila Isabel, Maracanã and the surrounding area. Later on the expansion will extend to Barra da Tijuca and other Zona Sul neighborhoods.

“This is the beginning of a process of expansion,” Mayor Eduardo Paes said during the bike station’s inauguration. “We have 600 bikes today in the city, and we will turn that into 2,600 bikes, as the project will go to every neighborhood in the West Zone, in the North Zone and in the Baixada de Jacarepaguá.”

The city currently has more than 250km of bicycle paths, and according to Mayor Paes, an additional 17km of bike paths and bike lanes are scheduled for the city’s Port Zone. “These bike lanes will be ready by 2016,” said Paes. “They are a big part of the renovations and improvement to the Port Zone.”

(Source: riotimes.com / cities-today.com)

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