Biking in Mexico City? No, it's not an extreme sport for thrill-seekers. It's a weekend pastime for families thanks to a program called Muevete en Bici program, or Get on Your Bicycle. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard's initiative, launched one year ago, closes approximate 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) of major thoroughfares to car traffic, temporarily transforming the traffic-clogged streets into a public park and cycling route, called the cicloton. The program was honored this month by the World Health Organization in the 2008 Active Cities, Healthy Cities contest.
The contest was designed to recognize the efforts of government, communities, and the private sector in Latin American cities to develop initiatives that promote healthier lifestyles. Between 40 percent and 60 percent of Latin American adults do not exercise, increasing their risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. We also like the program, of course, because it encourages residents not to drive."We hope that celebrating the achievements of these projects will inspire other cities in Latin America to begin to address the growing prevalence of physical inactivity, obesity, and chronic disease within their citizenries," said WHO expert and head of the contest jury, Dr. Carlos Dora, during the event in Mexico City.
Other contest winners included a walking and biking path project in Tulancingo, Mexico and a handicap-accessible sidewalks project in Londrina, Brazil. Check out the slideshow on the EMBARQ web site. : Via World Resources Institute
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Bike-Sharing Goes Global: 5 Programs You Should Know About
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