- Title: PERU: Rocker David Byrne promotes cycling in Peru.
- Date: 22nd July 2011
- Summary: LIMA, PERU (JULY 19, 2011) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PERUVIAN BIKER, MANUEL ROJAS, SAYING: "As a biker in Lima, I suffer constantly from drivers' lack of control and care towards us. They just don't respect us, they don't care and they put their cars in the way. Many times I have been scraped, I've been hit and I have fallen off my bike." BIKER CROSSES BRIDGE CARRYING HIS BIKE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LATIN AMERICAN DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE FOR TRANSPORTATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY, BERNARDO BARANDAS, SAYING: "We are following David Byrne through many different cities in Latin America to make presentations about the future of mobility in cities and we have been asking transportation authorities to allocate at least five percent of their budgets to enlarge cycling infrastructure, carry out promotion campaigns and create regulations to recognize the bicycle as something that brings many benefits to urban mobility."
- Embargoed: 6th August 2011 13:00
- Location: Peru, Peru
- Country: Peru
- Topics: Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA7Q7CB34LI0P5Q0HV6XS6BWL2W
- Story Text: Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne arrives in Lima to promote the bicycle as a clean and healthy transport alternative.
Rock star David Byrne put his guitar aside and hopped on his bike on Tuesday (July 19) to promote cycling as an alternative transportation in Peru.
The former Talking Heads frontman arrived in Lima to attend a forum on urban mobility organized by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).
Byrne rode around the Miraflores district of Lima and gathered with cycling activists and authorities to discuss ways of promoting and making cycling a safer option in the future.
Byrne said it was important to move away from traditional car culture that prevailed for decades.
"The decision in our cities was always to make more room for cars instead of more room for people or for other forms of transportation. The car always came first for maybe 100 years now. I think we realize now that that was probably not the best idea for our cities and for our health, just for our lives. So now the idea is maybe not to make the car go away but to make a balance," he said.
Byrne, who also presented his 2009 book "Bicycle Diaries" in the event, said that riding a bike in large cities was not always easy.
"It was this way in New York, when I started it was really difficult, and it is difficult when you see drivers from New Jersey or people outside New York where they are not used to seeing bicycles, they are not used to sharing the road with a bicycle, then they can be very aggressive," he said.
Byrne has adopted the two-wheel vehicle as his main means of transportation for over 30 years and said it gave him more autonomy.
"With the bike you are really powered by yourself so you are not reliant on anything, not on an oil company, a car company, on the transportation of the city, anything, you do everything yourself so you are in charge of yourself," he said.
The rocker who always travels around the world with a bike in his luggage added that he was living a privileged moment in his career where he could dedicate his time to experimenting with music and to causes such as promoting cycling.
"At this time in my life I have the... I am very lucky, I have the opportunity to try new things musically that I have never done before, and if it fails, ok we try something else. And I can do this, I don't get paid for this, I have three weeks and I thought 'ok, let's do it'," he said.
Peruvian cyclists have often rallied to demand improvements in the public transportation system, such as more bike lanes. In March, hundreds of naked or partially-clothed cyclists rode around the capital protesting against car culture.
Cyclist Manuel Rojas complained that riding bicycles in Lima was not very safe.
"As a biker in Lima, I suffer constantly from drivers' lack of control and care towards us. They just don't respect us, they don't care and they put their cars in the way. Many times I have been scraped, I've been hit and I have fallen off my bike," he said.
ITDP's director for Latin America, Bernardo Barandas, and organizer of the "Cities, Bicycles and the Future of Mobility" tour, said the initiative was aimed at persuading officials to stimulate and regulate the use of bikes.
"We are following David Byrne through many different cities in Latin America to make presentations about the future of mobility in cities and we have been asking transportation authorities to allocate at least five percent of their budgets to enlarge cycling infrastructure, carry out promotion campaigns and create regulations to recognize the bicycle as something that brings many benefits to urban mobility," he said.
The Peruvian capital was the fourth stop of Byrne's tour around Latin America, which has already taken him to Brazil, Argentina and Chile.
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