“If it continues like that with gasoline, I’d better buy a bicycle,” Alejandro warned a few months ago. And now he’s followed through.
After spending more than 400 pesos on gasoline a week, the young man has been commuting to work by bicycle, which is not only beneficial for health, but also for the environment.
Alejandro still uses his old sedan, but not as often as before and only when necessary.
Bicycles venders in Mérida indicate that the demand for this means of transport has increased in the last few months, even after a 60 percent annual increase in sales since 2015.
Fuel prices are the catalyst. Residents are keeping their cars in “park” and relying more on public transportation or pedal power.
Guillermo Alonso Puga, who runs a bicycle shop in the Centro, confirmed that Yucatecans have found the bicycle to be an economical option.
“It has been selling a lot in these three years,” said Puga.
And the trend is likely to continue as long as gas prices rise.
“Yes, people buy more bicycles because they are cheaper,” said the salesman.
The type of bicycle that is sold the most is the Urban, which is good for errands and costs about 1,600 pesos; followed by Ruta, Montaña and Deportiva, whose prices range between 3,500 and 6,000 pesos.
Men are more likely to buy bikes than women, he said.
Before the three-year trend, bikes stores were busiest on Día del Niño, Christmas and Three Kings Day, but now purchases are more steady all year long.
A risky option
Sharing the road while on a bike is not the safest option, however. Collisions are commonplace, and are often fatal.
On Thursday, an unidentified bicyclist — possibly a student — was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Col. Melchor Ocampo. A neighbor on social media complained that drivers of buses and cars are often reckless and drive without regard for others’ safety.
Another commenter said he bought a bike and used it just once after battling the traffic in the city’s narrow, often poorly maintained streets.
With information from Diario de Yucatán