Car Free Day in Bogota boosts bicycling and use of public transportation

Latin America

A cyclist casts his shadow on the street, during a car-free day in Bogota, on February 01, 2018. (AFP PHOTO: Raul Arboleda)

In February, citizens in Bogota are encouraged to step outside, walk, ride their bike or take public transportation.

Almost 1.2 million private cars and more than 300,000 motorcycles are not allowed on the streets during 5:00 am to 7:30 pm, or they can face a fine. It’s known as Bogota’s Car Free Day.

As CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports, not everyone is a big fan.



It’s an educational measure that the government hopes will teach citizens about their transportation options. They also hope they’ll take advantage of the more than 460,000 kilometers of bicycle paths in the city on a daily basis.

People ride their bikes along a highway in Bogota, on February 01, 2018. (AFP PHOTO: Luis Acosta)

Bogota residents voted in 2000 to make this an annual event, but on Car Free Day, some citizens believe there is still room for improvement.

“I don’t think it works, because everyone uses bicycles, but we continue using our cars the next day,” shared Bogota citizen Laura Ballen.

A women works at a bike parking area in Bogota on February 1, 2018. (AFP PHOTO: Luis Acosta)

“It doesn’t incentivize to stop using a car, but it does help the environment so that there can be less congestion. But overall people aren’t motivated to stop using their car,” said local Carlos Mario Bernal.

A man rides his bike in Bogota, on February 01, 2018. (AFP PHOTO: Luis Acosta)

In addition, Bogota’s air is in need of help. The air is much cleaner during the holidays when there are less cars on the road.