Netherlands Love of Two-wheeled Transportation Comes to Rio
RIO DE JANEIRO – The Consulate-General of the Netherlands has launched the third annual campaign to encourage Cariocas to adopt the Dutch tradition of bicycle use. This year’s campaign launched Sunday, with an 11-kilometer ride beginning at the World War II memorial in Aterro do Flamengo. More than 2,000 cyclists participated.
Use of bicycles for transportation and recreation has been increasing in recent years in Rio with the creation of bike-ways so that people can cycle more securely between home, office and school.
The Consulate-General’s campaign, “Bike with Rio”, held its first event today starting at 11 am with more than 2,000 cyclists starting out at Aterro do Flamengo, riding along the bike path to the beach of Botafogo and back.
The number of participants exceeded the organizers expectations. To attract more participants, the Consulate lent more than 100 bicycles to those in need. Dutch participants distinguished themselves by wearing orange t-shirts that the organizers handed out.
The Dutch Consul-General, Paul Comenencia, who participated in the event, said that he hoped that this traditional European habit would be adopted by Cariocas.
“Rio de Janeiro has optimum conditions. The city is rapidly developing the scenery and infrastructure conducive to pedaling. You know that the people of this city love sports,” he said.
Comenencia said that the Netherlands can offer the city its expertise in the area of engineering and technology and “share with Brazil this culture that we already have had for decades.”
For Marcos Fonseca, 46, who comes from Sao Goncalvo in the metropolitan area, the city “needs investment in cycling and greater safety for cyclists. I did not bring my ten-year-old daughter because I did not know if it would be safe for youngsters. I hope to bring her next year so that she can participate with me.”
For student Yasmin Marques Malachi, 11, from Jacarepagua, on the other side of the city, it was the first time participating with her brother and father. “Rio has so many cars and the destroy the planet. We need more space for people to go around, but cars take up so much space,” she said.
The Worldwide Day Without a Car is a movement that began wit some cities in Europe, in the last years of the 20th century, and since then has been spreading around the world, with more events on the five continents. This is a reflection on the problems caused by the use of automobiles as a means of displacement, especially in large urban centers, and an invitation to the use of sustainable modes of transport, including the bike.
Brazilian online news source: terra.com.br