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¿What is Ciclovía Recreativa*?


The Ciclovía Recreativa consists of the temporary opening of streets to residents so they may enjoy as a safe and pleasant  space for walking, jogging, skating or riding a bike. During Ciclovía Recreativa It differs from permanent bike routes because it is a temporary space whose principal use is not transport, but recreation.  In general,  Ciclovía Recreativa occurs on a fixed day of the week (usually Sundays and in some cases on holidays) and has an average duration of six hours.


*In this manual we use the term Ciclovía Recreativa, as adopted by the Network of United Ciclovias of the Americas ( Red de Ciclovías Unidas de las Américas - CUA).


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What benefits are brought by implementing a Ciclovía Recreativa?

Among the benefits of Ciclovía Recreativa you will find:

  • Social Inclusion: the program has no restrictions based on cost, social class, age, or recreation preference.
  • Promotion of healthy living: at the population level and in some cities, it provides 5% of weekly physical activity as recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Social Interaction.
  • Recovery and revitalization of public space.
  • The generation of new jobs created to meet the needs of the users.
  • Potential contribution to the improvement of air quality and protection of the environment by diminishing the number of vehicles on streets and noise levels.

What objectives should I consider when implementing a Ciclovía Recreativa?

Needs vary according to the particularities of where you will implement your project, so it´s necessary to consider specific objectives for each case.  Some general objectives that you can use as a starting point for implementing a Ciclovía Recreativa are:

  • To offer a free space where residents can take advantage of leisure time with activities such as physical activity, art and culture, and science and technology.
  • To create a human-scale city.
  • To reclaim streets for interaction among citizens.
  • To promote the adoption of healthy lifestyles and habits.
  • To contribute to the fight against chronic disease through the promotion of physical activity.
  • To help reduce inequality.
  • To generate values of citizenship including democratic values, such as tolerance, respect, and peace.
  • To diminish environmental contamination and noise pollution. 

What experience do others have in implementing Ciclovías Recreativas?

The first Ciclovías Recreativas for which there is record appeared in the 1960s.  Since then, the initiative has gradually spread across the continent, especially in Latin American cities, with the greatest growth taking place after 2000.  Bogotá's Ciclovía Recreativa, begun in 1974 and called Ciclovía, is considered a pioneering program in the Americas and has served as an inspiration for other cities and municipalities that now enjoy this community good. 

The First International Seminar of the United Ciclovías of the Americas, held in Bogotá in 2005, resulted in the creation of the Network of the United Ciclovías Recreativas of the Americas.  This network, known by its Spanish acronym CUA, is made up of different organizations and government entities from various countries.  The CUA gives the necessary support for the implementation of Ciclovía Recreativa programs across the Americas. 


Figure 1. Frequency and Accumulated Frequency of the Appearance of Ciclovías Recreativas Programs.


Source: The Ciclovía-recreativa: a mass recreational program with public health potential. Olga L. Sarmiento, Andrea Torres, Enrique Jacoby, Michael Pratt, Thomas Schmid, Gonzalo Stierling. (Article in the process of being published).

clip download (Español, English, Português)


Figure 2. History of Bogotá's Ciclovía. (download)



What is the current status of Ciclovías Recreativas in the Americas?

Currently, there are programs in 16 countries in the Americas. 98 cities and/or municipalities have programs that occur at least twice a month.


Figure 3. Location of Ciclovías Recreativas in the Americas (download)

Source: The Ciclovía-recreativa: a mass recreational program with public health potential. Olga L. Sarmiento, Andrea Torres, Enrique Jacoby, Michael Pratt, Thomas Schmid, Gonzalo Stierling (download)
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