A bumpy ride: structural inequalities, quality standards, and institutional limitations affecting cycling infrastructure
Structural socio-economic and institutional limitations can affect the implementation of cycling infrastructure. More stringent cycling infrastructure standards aiming to solve deficiencies might exacerbate disparities, especially in poor districts with fragmentary governance. Using an audit and quantitative and spatial analysis of cycleways, this paper examines to what extent structural inequalities and governance issues affect the availability and quality of cycling infrastructure, considering new indicative and normative standards aiming at improving cycling infrastructure in Santiago, Chile. Our results show that the distribution of cycleways is unequal and only partially complies with national quality standards. All districts in the city have both high and low standard bicycle lanes, but since district finances have huge differences, this can lead to inequalities in cycle coverage and districts’ capabilities to address current standard problems. This raises relevant challenges regarding governance and how to ensure an equitable distribution of cycling infrastructure in Global South cities.