Buenos Aires Travel Planet

Buenos Aires visitor’s guide

Bicicles as public transportation


Posted 3 years, 11 months ago at 2:20 pm. 1 comment

Better by bike in Buenos Aires?

What do Buenos Aires, Paris, New York, Bogotá and Barcelona all have in common? Apart from all being major world capitals, they are also all countries that have a network of bicycles that’s open to the public for free. In December 2010, Buenos Aires, with its Bicycle Public Transport System, has joined this league of future thinking cities. There are, currently, 500 bikes available to the public, which can be picked up and dropped off at any one of the city’s 12 bike hubs. The slogan for the City scheme is ‘mejor en bici,’ which translates as ‘better by bike.’ But is it really better by bike in Buenos Aires?

There are obviously huge advantages to cycling in Buenos Aires. As the bike programme’s website states, cycling is quick, cheap, good for your health and environmentally friendly. Emily Seaman, an Australian national who has been living and biking in Buenos Aires for the past two years, advocates cycling in the Argentine capital.

“For me, the best way to get around Buenos Aires is by bike. I use my bike to run errands around the city and to get to work. Cycling is fantastic for exercise, getting to know this great city and I love the freedom that it gives you.”

However, she encounters some of the disadvantages of travelling by bike on a daily basis. “Cycling during rush hour is a completely different experience. It can be quite unsafe, as buses don’t respect you and pull in and out of the lane you’re in with no concern for your safety or right of way. Car drivers have no patience either with cyclists and they constantly beep their horns at you, which can be really distracting and dangerous.”

The estimated 7,700-10,000 people a year that are killed in traffic accidents in Buenos Aires is testament to the lack of road safety here. Road traffic accidents are the No. 3 cause of death in Argentina and the most common cause of death for under 35 year olds, which may put you off taking to the streets on a bicycle. If you´re looking for info about other kind public transportation? check it in this Buenos Aires travel guide.

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Yet, despite the city’s bad reputation, things are definitely improving. For example, the Buenos Aires bike programme is trying to increase safety for cyclists. A one hundred kilometre long network of ciclovías, or bike lanes, has already been constructed, with more lanes currently being built. These cycle routes are protected and separated from the rest of the traffic by raised curbs and they connect key locations, like universities, major railway stations and shopping centres.

If you don’t fancy braving the busy streets of Buenos Aires then the city offers cyclists plenty of peaceful places to cycle where you won’t have to worry about road safety. For instance, the Costanera Sur area, hidden beyond Puerto Madero, is a beautiful, wetland nature reserve that has a network of cycle tracks. You can pick up one of the scheme’s bikes by registering with the programme. You just have to show provide some ID e.g. your passport, a bill or proof of address (you can easily get from the Police for ten pesos). So is Buenos Aires better by bike? Definitely.

One Reply

  1. The new bike lanes in Buenos Aires are really appreciated by the students. They can use them to get to and from the school everyday and on some afternoons, also some groups on tours of Buenos Aires by bike. Safe, and environmentally friendly.