Bike Lanes in Lima – Can You Ride a Bike to Work?

Bike Lanes in Lima

Bike lanes in Lima Peru are known as ciclovias, and were non-existent a decade ago. Today, they’ve grown in popularity and many popular tourist districts have them, such as Miraflores and San Isidro. Bike lanes are becoming more and more connected with each municipal project. Is it enough to merit buying a bicycle and saying bye to Peru’s public transit system?

If you’re tired of traffic and sick of sitting in a car or riding a crowded bus, what other options do you have? Recently, districts have been trying to increase bike lanes in Lima. But can you ride a bike to work?

We’ll get to that question in a minute, along with how many bike lanes the city has.

City Bike Path

Bicycles Have Been Around Forever And A Day.

Bicycles have existed since the invention of the wheel. Alright well, not quite that long. The first actual verifiable claim for a practically used bicycle belongs to a German man named Baron Karl von Drais who invented it in the year 1817. The bicycle has since accompanied man in his evolution. The bike has had many transformations to its structure, but never varied from its original concept.

So Just How Many Bike Lanes Are There In Lima?

Just how many bike lanes are there? The answer is uncertain and hard to find, despite our best efforts. Estimates show that there were at least 100km of bike lanes back in 2016, and that district governments pledged to more than double that count by 2018.

2019 article claimed that there were 214km of bicycle-only paved areas in 2019, with plans to add another 147km

Plans for Expansion

There are plans for expansion cover a significant portion of Lima. 29 districts have pledged to add to their existing total. Many districts are trying to connect their scattered lanes or link to neighboring districts’ networks.

You can see a map of the existing network here. As you can see, it’s a very fragmented and random labyrinth of lines that seem to have no central organization. But there’s hope that it will all coalesce into a functional system.

So, could you ride a bike to work with the present infrastructure? The answer is that yes, you probably could. But you’ll need to consider a few variables first.

What’s The Bicycle Mean To Lima?

Bicycles are the most civilized means of transport of all. Bikes do not pollute, they take up very little space and contribute to our health. Using them in Lima means less air pollution, less traffic accidents and safer streets for pedestrians overall. The bicycle for many Limenos is an indispensable tool to carry out work or to move from one place to another.

Pros and Cons of Riding a Bike to Work

First of all, you need to evaluate whether or not you can actually utilize the bike network to get around. Going from one side of a major artery to another, for instance the Via Expresa or Panamericana, is quite difficult. You may have to improvise your way around using pedestrian bridges.

From there, you need to determine if your work area has a place to leave your bike. Talk to your employer. If the possibilities look promising, consider borrowing a bike or using a municipal shared bike, like the ones in San Borja, to test it out.

Pros

Obviously the pros of riding a bike to work are many. Better health, reduced stress, and environmental benefits top the list. You may even be able to get to work faster than by using public transportation!

You’re also likely to save money in the long term. Not having to pay for gas or taxi fares every day can save you a bundle. 

Cons

The most glaring con is safety. Not all the bike lanes in Lima are segregated from the street, meaning you’ll have to share the road with Lima’s notoriously reckless drivers.

Then there’s the comfort and hygiene factor. You might find yourself working up quite a sweat by the time you get to work. Limiting your biking to winter months solves this problem.

Incorporating Bicycles In To The Fabric Of Lima

The firm Aformal Arquitectura designed a proposal of making an accessible pedestrian route. The idea is to rearrange the improvised commerce, while at the same time proposing a bicycle path with adequate dimensions and adequate stops.

Recently a group of architects presented the architectural project to improve mobility in the historic center of Lima. The design seeks to organize not only cars but pedestrian and bicycle traffic as well, into an orderly manner. With the end goal being eco-friendly vehicles, while improving access for people with disabilities.

Recently Installed Bike Lanes

This plan in fact is already underway. Lima’s project consists of a central bike path with the regulatory dimensions ranging from 1.5 meters to 2.0 meters wide, and is said to cover a significant portion of Lima. 29 districts have pledged to add to their existing total. Many districts are trying to connect their scattered lanes or link to neighboring districts’ networks.

Currently Av Garsilaso de la Vega (AKA Av. Wilson) and Av. Tacna have in place a new physical barrier separating motor vehicles from the bicycles. The city has reduced the 4 lanes available for motorized traffic to just 3, allowing for one lane for non-motorized bikes.

Have you tried using a bike as your main means of transportation? Let us know how it went, and if you think it’ll become more viable in the future.

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