US government donates $3.3m to increase global bike use

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the cash award last week. It will be funnelled through the Institute for Transportation Development and Policy (ITDP), the New York-based organisation that promotes sustainable transit in third-world cities.
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Millions of dollars in matching aid is expected from a variety of private and public sources, said a statement from ITDP.

One of ITDP's directors is Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogotá, Columbia. In just three years he and colleagues transformed the city into one of the most bike-friendly places in the world.

Since 1997, bike use in Bogotá increased 900 percent. On Sundays and public holidays, cars are banned from 75 miles of the city's main roads.

185 miles of bike-paths were built in and around the city.

And bike shops benefitted. Sales of top-end bikes from Bici Ruta, a Bogotá IBD, have increased 80 percent since Peñalosa's reforms.

It's transformations such as these that impressed the United States Agency for International Development. The cash award is only a small one but it's a first step and could lead to great advances for the bike trades in Asian and African countries.

US companies Trek and SRAM "helped unlock the funding", said a statement from the ITDP.

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