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Bikes have a right to the road, MOPT reminds

March 1, 2021

The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) is reminding drivers that cyclists have a right to the road.

In a Facebook post from mid-February, the MOPT indicated the following:

  • Cyclists can travel in the center of the lane.
  • Drivers must give at least 1.5 meters of separation, at least, when passing them. This may mean waiting until a designated passing area.
  • Bicyclists must respect all aspects of the Traffic Law, such as not driving against traffic or on the sidewalks.
  • Bicyclists must use a light at night.

“We must understand that the use of the roads must be shared among all road users,” MOPT said. “It is not a fight of sides, of pedestrians against cyclists, of cyclists against drivers, of drivers against pedestrians. We are all pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers at different times, even on the same day.

“Let’s stop seeing other road actors as enemies; living on the road does not mean that others accommodate my demands, it is sharing the road with tolerance.”

Cycling in Costa Rica had steadily grown in popularity over recent years, but the pandemic has skyrocketed interest in the sport. A report from La Nación describes how bicycle sales doubled in mid-2020 as people sought outdoor exercise and a means of transportation that avoided public transit.

The coexistence of cyclists and drivers in Costa Rica is a tenuous one, as recent events indicate. On Saturday, the Costa Rican Cycling Federation (Fecoci) shared a video showing a driver appearing to intentionally run over a group of cyclists:

“We ask the general population for more RESPECT,” Fecoci said in response to the incident.

Last week, a 38-year-old cyclist died after being struck by an alleged drunk driver; in response, some 500 bikers took to the streets of Cartago in his honor.

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