In her column entitled “Fruitless Debates” (GR June 27, 2020), Dale Palfrey asserted in part that by virtue of its name, the ciclovia was meant for cyclists only and even included a picture of signage with the caption, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who belongs on the ciclovia.”
One could argue that if the name alone determines for whom it is intended, then motorcyclists must also be included as the name isn’t “biciclovia.” But more to the point, according to the Jalisco state government (under whose purview it falls), the project is also intended and entitled for non-motorized mobility.
Per their website: “The bicycle ride that the state government builds in one section and rehabilitates in others between Chapala and Jocotepec in a first stage, has the central objective of prioritizing the mobility of pedestrians and cyclists, providing them with a segregated, illuminated and signposted corridor that allows them to travel from the center of one municipality to the other safely.”
It continues: ”A fundamental point of this two-way ride that runs on Federal Highway 23 is that it is of origin-destination, that is, it guarantees the right of the inhabitants – not just tourists or occasional visitors – to pedal or walk safely from municipality to municipality; something that is not possible today.”
Other posts indicate the project calls for inclusive and expanded sidewalks. I’ve walked the ciclovia between Parque La Milagrosa and Walmart and there are no sidewalks to speak of. Indeed, it appears there are none between Chapala and Ajijic. And while I know the project is not yet finished, I understand why some of the signage is confusing. For instance, the word “solo” with an arrow can be found 20 feet from the same markings which also include a bicycle, with a drainage ditch on one side and the Carretera on the other. There are many other such examples. But cyclists should expect to see pedestrians along much of the ciclovia and will hopefully respect their right to be there.
Perhaps a not so “fruitless debate” would be proper usage of the ciclovia. I have been unable to find Jalisco state government guidance on this, and there seems to be no universally accepted rules, but I think we might all agree on some basic things. Each individual should be respectful of others. They should be mindful of their surroundings and not interfere with the flow of traffic (stay in one lane, keep dogs on short leash within the lane, don’t congregate on the path and block others, don’t stop short, step off path to use cell phone, etc.) And pedestrians should move to an adjacent, safe sidewalk when available. Some have suggested cyclists should be required to use a bell or call out to alert others they are going to pass. Regardless, we all must be mindful that many of the people who use the ciclovia are hearing impaired.
And although I know that quite a few people disagree, it seems to me that whether you’re riding or walking, all traffic should stay in the right lane according to the directional arrow. I’m guessing it’s a right brain/left brain issue, but some feel walking against the traffic is more comfortable for them. While that makes sense if you’re alongside traffic, to me it doesn’t if you’re part of the traffic. I’d suggest it’s akin to driving a car in the left lane into oncoming traffic. Also, it’s important to consider what works best for everyone you may encounter at any given moment. If you’re walking in the left lane, and cyclists and/or pedestrians are approaching from both directions, you’ve just created a decision making process for at least three people instead of just one or two.
Someone commented on a post I did that Mexicans don’t look at the ciclovia as belonging to any one group, but rather it’s for all. I think we immigrants could do well to adopt that attitude. In the meantime, I’ll see you on the ciclovia!