The new owners of the street

The arrival of the bikes without anchorage and the scooters to the roads of Mexico City have provoked a war between neighbors, companies and capital authorities. The challenge is to demonstrate that they are a sustainable alternative to mobility and not (only) a lucrative business.

Mobility issues. Photo: Pixabay
Mobility issues. Photo: Pixabay

In months they have taken over sidewalks and public spaces. They came with the promise of providing a clean and efficient mobility alternative, but their lack of regulation has made them a headache for pedestrians and drivers: these are bikes without anchors and electric skateboards also called scooters.

These vehicles are popular in the main arteries of Mexico City such as Paseo de la Reforma and in neighborhoods such as Polanco, La Roma, La Condesa, and Hipódromo, where they have already won the rejection of neighbors, to the point that they have started a campaign against temporary permits granted to them.

Among the main complaints of its detractors is that users of these units circulate without a helmet, at high speed, traffic lights are passed, car drivers are traversed, they go in the opposite direction, get on the sidewalks and park them anywhere. And that its operation was allowed without the existence of regulation and without having a road safety protocol.

"We lived quietly in our neighborhoods, we walked our streets, our ridges, we used the street with caution, there were neighbors who could walk with their dogs quietly, others exercised and suddenly, from one day to another, for the month of October, the famous red Mobike bicycles appeared on our streets ", recalls Rafael Guarneros, of the Foundation Committee Resident Association Colonia Hipódromo.

"And along with those about two months later the skateboards without anchorage appeared, the motorized ones. And the drivers are on the sidewalks, do not respect the stops, they go in the opposite direction even in main streets and avenues in both directions, the first affectation is in road safety, we got another element of uneasiness, "accuses the neighborhood leader.

The controversy recently gained strength with the death of a user of these devices during the early hours of Sunday, February 3, in the avenues of Florence and Chapultepec, to be run over by the driver of a taxi. To date, there is no person responsible for such a fact that neighbors like Guarneros catalog as criminal negligence, since they had been informed of the risks to the authorities and they did nothing, he says.

At the beginning of February of the current year, the temporary guidelines to regulate these units were announced, as well as the temporary permits, but the challenge of the authorities is to enforce them to avoid that the problems escalate and not only be a lucrative business that worsens capital mobility itself deficient.

Almost a year after arriving in Mexico City as an alternative for sustainable mobility, and already in a new administration now governed by Morena, temporary guidelines for the operation of bicycles and scooters were issued, but could this solve the road conflicts? What have they caused?

The Secretariat of Mobility (Semovi) established on February 1 the temporary guidelines in which it prohibits parking units in places such as sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, emergency exits and hydrants, access zones to mass and semi-mass public transport stations, stops public transportation and parking for people with disabilities.

However, Semovi is currently unable to sanction those who fail to comply with the measures since the final guidelines will be announced in March.

"Temporary permits will regularize the operation of bicycle companies without anchors and electric skids, since the last permit they received is expired, which prevents the Semovi from sanctioning, supervising or revoking the permits," is mentioned in the Temporary Guidelines for bicycle operators without anchors and electric skateboards.

Also, on February 6, Andrés Lajous, owner of the Semovi, informed that he met with the operators of electric skates and bicycles without anchoring to give them temporary permits of 45 days in order to order the service.

These establish a limit of one thousand 100 bicycles per company and 500 skates, it is forbidden to park them in places where the pedestrian crossing hinders and obliges them to provide road and accident insurance.

It also gives them a period of 5 days to give authority information about their vehicle fleet and 10 to give detailed information about their operation. As well as making communication campaigns for its users in which it is reported that its use is in the vehicle stream and not on the sidewalks.

"Failure to comply with these rules could revoke the temporary permit and its definitive operation," Lajous wrote in his twitter account.

TEMPORARY PERMITS

Establish a limit of one thousand 100 bicycles by companies and 500 skates

Prohibit parking in places where the pedestrian crossing blocks

Set 5 days to give the authorities information about their vehicle fleet

The private systems of this type of vehicles arrived in Mexico City in February 2018 as a complementary option for those who are daily transported in the capital, in accordance with the temporary guidelines for bicycles without anchors and electric skateboards.

"The lack of regulation of these systems has caused that the users and operators of bicycles and skateboards park them practically in any place, impeding the pedestrian spaces", recognizes the document.

To address the situation, in March 2018 the Notice for the "Pilot" operation of the Individual Public Transportation System without anchor was published in the Official Gazette of Mexico City and in October of that year, it was for Electric Skateboard.

The guidelines established by the government, the vigilance to respect these and the commitment of private companies can correct these discomforts that have been generated by the use of bicycles and scooters, explains Víctor Alvarado, coordinator of Mobility and Climate Change in Power of the Consumer

"We are going to see if what the private one really wants is to offer an alternative of mobility, because we have been observing that these companies beyond selling an alternative mobility system are simply selling a business scheme that ends up being beneficial for them and not really they are giving mobility solutions, "says Alvarado.

The specialist says that the government must be more severe by requiring companies to generate mechanisms to encourage culture and socialization programs so that the system self-regulates and bikes without anchors and skates are at strategic points that do not generate road impacts.

The original text of this article was published by the Reporte Indigo at the following address.

Recommended stories