San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Ban on a bike

UN secretary-general hops on a bike to promote urban cycling

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Ken Morris

Good for him. Notice though that all the cyclists except the front two are riding illegally according the Costa Rican law, since they aren’t wearing the mandatory reflective vests, and the cop in the rear (who does have reflective garb) isn’t arresting them. By my count from just what I see in the photo, Costa Rica failed to collect $1260 in fines from this illegal bike ride.

Of course, the mandatory reflective vests written into the law have zero efficacy. They’ve been tested in Europe and been found not to help. But do you think that the clowns that write and pass these laws bothered to check? No. They just write anything they dream up into laws, and in doing so set up a system if irrational arbitrary enforcement. Yes, some bicyclists in Costa Rica have been arrested and fined for not wearing the reflective vests.

Plus, good for cycling activist Soledad Castro to champion a bike lane from Sabana Park to UCR, but I’m afraid that this may be a misplaced priority too. Although it is counterintuitive, the evidence suggests that bike lanes are in general not a good way to encourage bicycling. Like reflective vests, bike lanes sound like good ideas, until you look at the evidence.

Serious planning for bicycling is a lot more complicated than either the lawmakers or the activists realize, but it’s not that complicated. There is a wealth of literature out there.

Instead though we have a display of bicyclists, most of whom are riding in violation of existing law.