From our correspondent in Uruguay

This article was published in 2009, in Newsletter 84.

Tim Burford visited Uruguay last December and discovered that there’s quite a lot of relatively short-distance cycling there, as well as a few lycra-clad cycling clubs occasionally glimpsed in the distance. But few facilities are provided for cyclists and where they are they’re usually not thought through very well (sound familiar?).

There’s a lot of new cycle parking all over Melo, especially outside schools – nice try, but it’s all wheelbenders and they’re too close together.
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Unusual shelters over the cycle track beside Ruta 3 just west of Trinidad.
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No consideration for cyclists at this road closure in Punta del Este.
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Montevideo’s ramblas or waterfront highway stretch for 22km; there’s a segregated cycle track only on the busiest sections (very popular on a sunny Sunday afternoon).
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Builders in Uruguay are no different to those in Cambridge – blocking the cycle track because it would just never occur to them to do anything else.
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Cycle and scooter parking at PaysandĂș hospital – the attendant places cardboard on scooter (not cycle) seats to stop them cooking in the sun (Boxing Day, and it’s in the mid- to high thirties Celsius).
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‘If they don’t see you, you don’t exist’ – poster on a bus stop opposite Montevideo city hall. In two months I didn’t once seen a bike with lights. It doesn’t seem to matter.
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There’s a remarkable amount of cycling in Montevideo, although there’s almost no cycle parking. Drivers are pretty mellow (especially compared to Argentina!) and the roads are safe.
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