Bogotá hosts first No Car Day on Thursday with Galán as Mayor

Bogotá's Ciclovía turns 50 in 2024, and hallmark of the city's No Car Days. Photo: Richard Emblin

In a move to promote sustainable urban mobility, Bogotá, the Colombian capital, is gearing up to host its inaugural No Car Day and No Motorcycle Day of 2024. This event takes on added importance as the city commemorates the 50th anniversary of the globally acclaimed Ciclovía – the dedicated all-bicycle lanes for Sunday cyclists. Having completed his first month as Mayor, Carlos Fernando Galán is upholding Bogotá’s commitment to sustainable mobility and eco-friendly transportation.

On Thursday, February 1, No Car and No Motorcycle Day will temporarily rid the city’s streets of over 1.8 million vehicles and approximately 460,000 motorcycles. Known locally as Día sin Carro y sin Moto, this vehicle-free day will run from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm.

The decision to host a No Car Day comes at a critical time for Bogotá, with the city grappling with unseasonably warm temperatures attributed to the El Niño weather pattern. Additionally, the capital has also faced bad air quality caused by extensive forest fires in the Eastern hills, or Cerros Orientales.

Bogotá’s Secretary of Mobility, Claudia Díaz, emphasized the broader significance of the No Car Day, stating: “It’s an opportunity to try and discover sustainable means of transportation such as walking, cycling, or public transport, and the advantages that their use offers both to the individual and the city.”

TransMilenio, Bogotá’s articulated mass transit system, will play a crucial role in facilitating alternative transportation during the No Car Day. The system is set to operate at full capacity during peak hours and will bolster its services during off-peak hours – 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Sitp bus network has been given authorization to use all available stops from 4:00 am to 11:00 pm, ensuring seamless mobility for citizens throughout the day.

The Ciclovía, a hallmark of Bogotá’s commitment to cycling infrastructure, will be a focal point during the No Car Day. The Mayor’s Office announced the opening of 101 kilometers of bike lanes, allowing cyclists to navigate the city between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm. Daniel García, director of the District Institute of Recreation and Sport (Idrd), encourages citizens to embrace the ciclovia, stating, “I invite everyone to use the 101 km of Ciclovía. This is a very important day for Bogotá; as we’ll have 349 district workers accompanying citizens during this day.”

For those looking to partake in the No Car Day, the city will have a total of 630 kilometers of ciclo-routes available across different sectors, including Carrera Séptima, Avenida Boyacá, Calle 26, and Calle 116. The city’s Shared Bike System – Tembici – has allocated 3,300 bicycles, accessible to all from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. To utilize this service, citizens are encouraged to download the Tembici App.

To ensure a smooth experience for cyclists, the Mayoralty also announced the availability of some 70,000 bike parking spaces throughout the city, and more than 6,000 slots located at 26 points along the TransMilenio network.

These measures highlight Bogotá as bicycle-friendly city, and one aligned with a broader strategy to reduce traffic congestion. “Infrastructure alone does not modify the habits of residents; but No Car Day does serve for people to discover that there are other ways to move around besides sitting inside a car,” stated Mayor Galán.