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, San Isidro and Lince. Bike lanes are becoming more and more connected with each municipal project. Yet, is it enough to merit buying a bicycle and saying goodbye to Lima’s public transportation 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? One things for sure. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the bicycle lanes that connect Lince, Miraflores and San Isidro are increasingly used.
We’ll get to that question in a minute, along with how many bike lanes the city has.
Below we’ll talk about how to use a bike lane, pros and cons, as well as the rules you need to know
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.
A 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 the expansion 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.
Unfortunately the map we had posted by the Municipality has been taken down. either way it shows 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 Does The City Controllers Office Say
Since last May, the Municipality of Lima began installing new bicycle lanes in various parts of Lima. The purpose the bike lanes is to contribute to social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through a report issued by the Controller’s Office warned, that on some roads in the capital, the bike lanes installed during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), “lack studies and they present technical inconsistencies, which show inadequate planning ”. The newly installed bike lanes are temporary and implemented by the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima.
The Controllers Office stated that the Motorized Transport Sub-management (of the Municipality of Lima) has promoted the implementation of bike lanes without doing studies of vehicular flows, traffic and / or transport. All of which are necessary to technically sustain the bike lanes viability and ensure that service levels are not affected, among other things.
The Comptroller’s Office pointed to an example of the situation of vehicular congestion recorded on Av. Sánchez Carrión, heading towards San Miguel, This is where a recently installed bike lane “caused an ambulance heading to the Military Hospital to have to drive in to oncoming traffic lanes to continue ”.
In addition, his report noted that, as of the date of issuance of the document. The only bike lane that has been fully enabled connects Av. Garcilaso de la Vega – Av. Tacna (4.40 km).
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.
Obviously the pros of riding a bike to work are many. Bicycles are the most civilized means of transport of all. Better health, reduced stress, and environmental benefits top the list. And they take up very little space. 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.
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.
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.
However, in the middle of winter and with a few days of sprinkles, the routes become dangerous. We’ve also note that some bikeways in Miraflores and San Isidro are completely painted. It’s possible that when it sprinkles the routes get wet, and you could lose control of the bicycle and cause accidents. Unfortunately the builders didn’t use non-slip paint, so please be careful.
How To Use A Bike Lane In Lima
The National Traffic Regulation or RNT for short is the regulatory framework that regulates, among others, the proper use of a bicycle.
The law requires the cyclist to wear a safety helmet in order to reduce the impact on the head in the event of a fall.
Likewise, the bicycle must have foot and hand brakes and reflective devices at the front (white) and rear (red) ends. Also on the pedals and wheels. The purpose is to warn motorized vehicles and pedestrians.
The RNT also establishes that the circulation of bicycles in the city must use the bike lanes. However, if there’s no bike lane, you must ride in the right lane of the road.
Sidewalks are for the “Exclusive Use” of pedestrians, and riding bicycles on sidewalks is prohibited.
This is a rule that is hardly respected in the city, so please be respectful when riding.
“The bicycle rider or as is known in Peru as a vehiculo no motorizado” or “non-motorized vehicle” may not hold onto or hold onto another vehicle that travels on public roads”. In more plain terms, the law strictly prohibits holding onto a moving motor vehicle.
The law goes on to say
The driver must not carry cargo or passengers that hinder their visibility, balance and proper driving. Only the number of people occupying seats specially equipped for this purpose may travel in the vehicle
Use of hand signals are required for turning and the riders are asked to have some type of horn or early warning device to help prevent accidents
And finally, every bicycle must carry a Basic Tool Kit. And bicycles must respect, the traffic signs as cars are supposed to, the signage is also visible in the bicycle lanes.
To read all the rules on non motorized vehicles in Spanish you can click the link
Meanwhile, in Lince, potholes and the lack of signage is common on most routes. Proper and constant maintenance is required for the good of our city’s cyclists.
Then we have what seems like a forgotten bike path on Avenida Universitaria. Despite being the longest cycling route in Lima at 14 kilometers, it has the greatest number of defects: potholes, garbage and zero signage. The Av. Universitaria bike path extension is over 14 kilometers (almost 10 miles) long and unites the districts of San Miguel, Cercado de Lima, San Martín de Porres, Los Olivos and Comas.
While having significant potential to connect the city and boost the use of bicycles in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, its condition is lamentable. We noticed several sections of the route lack maintenance in many areas.
We also noticed garbage covers different points of the path and plenty of potholes. A regrettable scenario generated by the forgetfulness of the authorities, but also by the lack of empathy of some neighbors and merchants who dump their waste in the bike path used by several cyclists in North Lima.
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.
Ride a Motorized Bike? Best to check out our post on them too. You’ll be surprised, I promise.