New law seeks to incentivize biking in Costa Rica

January 12, 2019

Members of the Legislative Assembly approved Thursday in the first of two debates the proposal 19.548, Law of Mobility and Cyclical Security, an initiative to incentivize private companies and local governments to promote bicycles as means of transportation.

The initiative was approved unanimously, with the support of 43 congressmen, and was celebrated by the president of the Congress, Carolina Hidalgo, who highlighted the impact that the new regulations will have to reduce carbon emissions and to improve biking culture.

Among other measures, the law would create tax incentives for companies that develop bicycle infrastructure or acquire them for their employees — specifically through a one-time deduction of those expenses in their income tax returns, as long as they are current in their other tax obligations.

In the municipal field, the law would open the door for each municipality to promote public bicycle-rental systems responding to the needs of their public.

Likewise, the law declares cycling — and riders’ full and safe mobility — of “public interest” and imposes an obligation on the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) to work on cantonal plans for bicycle safety.

Finally, it also requires that all new infrastructure work in road areas should contemplate the objectives of the law, so that each project improves cycling conditions through dedicated bike lanes, shared lanes, pedestrian crossings, and speed bumps, among other methods.

Public parking locations would also be required to have a bicycle stand for every ten spaces for cars.

Financing

To comply with all these objectives, the law establishes different funding sources, among them the revenue from the fuel tax.

In addition, the government will accept donations and contributions from international organizations — in addition to state loans and non-reimbursable funds.

MOPT would be in charge of the application of the new law.

Now, the Executive Branch will now regulate the law within a period of six months and, thereafter, the MOPT will have another six-month period to enact the necessary regulations to adapt the infrastructure to current and future operators.

This law is part of the initiatives that were presented in the previous legislature. Specifically, it was left in the legislature by former deputies Laura Garro (PAC), Egardo Araya and José Ramírez (FA).

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This story was originally published by Semanario Universidad. It was translated with permission by The Tico Times. Read the original report here.

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