Dr. Enrique Peñalosa Delivers Keynote Speech at Recycle-A-Bicycle’s 3rd Annual Youth Bike Summit

Mary Lauran Hall is communications manager at the Alliance for Biking & Walking. This post was cross-posed from the Alliance's blog.

Last weekend, Recycle-A-Bicycle held the third annual Youth Bike Summit, an inter-generational exchange between youth, advocates and educators from around the country who are working to promote bicycling and bicycle education in their communities. The Alliance for Biking & Walking was proud to sponsor the 2013 Youth Bike Summit as part of our efforts to support community bike shops.

Dr. Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, delivered a keynote address at the New York City event. Dr. Peñalosa earned worldwide notoriety for bringing a vast network of bicycle paths, cutting-edge pedestrian promenades, and a world-class bus rapid transit system to Bogotá. The following passages are excerpted from Dr. Peñalosa’s keynote remarks.


Original image: EMBARQ Brasil/Flickr

“Bicycles are revolutionary machines: they construct equality. … While cars are a means of social differentiation and exclusion, bicycles integrate people as equals. When two people on bicycles meet, they meet as human beings.”


Original image: Claudio Olivares/Flickr

“Saving on public transport by using a bicycle saves between 15% and 40% for a low-income person. A protected bicycle way is a symbol of democracy. It shows that a citizen on a $30 bicycle is just as important as a citizen in a $30,000 car.”


Image: add1sun/Flickr

“Parking is not a constitutional right in any country.”


Image: Ed Yourdon/Flickr

“We don’t have a right to go to most of the world. The only piece of planet to which you have access is public pedestrian space – sidewalks, bikeways, parks. In the 20th century, we made enormous mistakes in our human habitat. We worked hard to make it much more for cars’ mobility, not for human beings.”


Original image: Paul Krueger/Flickr

“All citizens are equal before the law. If that’s true, a citizen in a car has the same right to road space as one on a bicycle. For example, a bus with 80 passengers has the right to 80 times more road space than a car with one. Sometimes inequality is before our noses and we don’t realize it because we are used to it. Most cities in the world give more room to parked cars than to pedestrians and bicyclists. And we think this is normal.”


Original image: wileymcb/Flickr

“Sidewalks are for playing, for talking, for kissing. Ideally, sidewalks in every city should continue at grade. And cars should have to go up and down to make it clear that cars are entering pedestrian space and not that pedestrians are entering car space.”


Image: Saúl Ortega/Flickr

“In Bogotá, we close 120 kilometers of main arterial roads to cars every Sunday for 7 hours. Ciclovía is a ritual, a ceremony reminding us that the city belongs to people, more than to cars. … Besides, it’s always fun to do things you are not allowed to do.”


Image: EMBARQ Brasil/Flickr

“If you want a more bicycle-friendly world, it will not be the result of technical or academic analysis (as valuable as they are), but of political pressures and decisions. Therefore, get organized and participate in politics!”

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