On my monthly relocation tours there is always someone who asks about using a bike to get around in Costa Rica. I am always quick to point out that Costa Rica is not as bike friendly as the USA but things seem to be changing quickly, especially in and around the capital city of San José.
In the past I have written several articles about bike paths in the San José area. As my readers probably know I am bullish on this topic. The good news is that ciclovías (bike paths) are finally starting to become a reality. The first sign is a blue lane that has been painted down the center of several walking streets in downtown San José. It goes from Merced Park to the main courthouse. This new bike lane is the first stage of a seven kilometer bike route that will eventually enable cyclists to travel from San Perdro Montes de Oca in the eastern part of the city to the Sabana Park on the west side of town. The estimated travel time will be about one-half hour.
The next phase will go from the court house to the University of Costa Rica (UCR) in San Pedro.
The Municipality of San José has allocated about $180,000 dollars for the project. The goal is to get more and more people to use bicycles as an alternative means of transportation. ChepeCletas is an organization that is also promoting the use of bicycles to reduce emissions from automobiles.
Pedestrians and cyclists will have to lean to live with each other since the bike paths run through the middle of several streets in the downtown area.
The Municipality of San José is also exploring the idea of renting bicycles like the neighboring City of Cartago has done successfully. In October last year, in the city of Cartago began a pilot progam to loan bicycles to students of the Liceo Jorge Volio of the Colegio Universitario de Cartago (CUC) and the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (TEC). Today it already has more than 500 users and in the first three months, from October to January, it made 2,027 loans. On average, 75 bicycles are loaned out daily. The city has 100 bicycles available and is planning to purchase more given the success of the program. Hopefully San José will follow suit soon.