Medellin is to become the first city in Colombia with a public bicycle hire system, following the success of similar initiatives in cities around the world.
The launch of “Medellin EnCicla” follows a three-month pilot scheme, in which the bicycles were made available to students of EAFIT University, one of Medellin’s private universities. The scheme proved a success, with 11,000 loans made during the three month period.
Both EAFIT and Medellin’s government have invested almost $600,000 in the construction of the 145 bicycles, which comprise 105 urban and 40 rural bikes.
With the system ready, the challenge now will be to make Medellin’s streets cycle-safe. This will require many more bicycle lanes than currently exist.
According to Martha Lucia Suarez, Deputy Director of the city’s Mobility Office, “A cyclist is one more actor on the road. Right now there is no respect for the cyclist, so it is important that drivers begin to identify public bicycle users, and we believe that the pilot scheme has been a way to do this.”