Bolivia Celebrates First Annual "Day of the Pedestrian"

pedestrian light photo
Photo: Crystian Cruz / cc

It's been a good 4 million years since our earliest ancestors rose up on two feet and began walking bipedally, but it was just yesterday that its practitioners got a holiday of their very own. As a nod to the most eco-friendly form of transportation, the Bolivian government held the first annual "National Day of the Pedestrian" on Sunday, which not only encouraged residents to get out a walk around, it kind of forced them to -- by banning cars, trucks, and buses for just one day.

Bolivia under its first indigenous-born president, Evo Morales, has made steps towards raising awareness about environmental issues, even outlining the rights of Mother Nature in its constitution -- so christening the first Sunday in September as the Day of the Pedestrian is yet just another attempt to get people connected to a more eco-friendly way of life, though they'd have little choice. Rueters reports that a day-long ban on automobiles (including public transportation) took some 2 million vehicles off the streets across nine cities.

In their absence, Bolivians took to the streets. A report from the BBC describes the scene in the nation's capital city:

In Bolivia's main city, La Paz, the BBC's Mattia Cabitza was engulfed by a sea of young people taking part in a marathon, and the usually congested streets were instead occupied by street artists and other performers. Exercise instructors taught tai-chi to passers-by while some Bolivians were seen dressed up as zebras, playing hopscotch in the road, Reuters reports.

President Evo Morales, an avid sportsman, was up early, jogging, and joked that his vice-president could not keep up with him.

"Children and young people should take over the streets to do sports. But I'm sorry that our vice-president was left behind," he said.

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