The Ciclovía-Recreativa: A mass-recreational program with public health potential

J Phys Act Health. 2010 Jul;7 Suppl 2:S163-80. doi: 10.1123/jpah.7.s2.s163.


Background: The Ciclovía-Recreativa is a free, community-based program in which streets are closed temporarily to motorized transport, allowing access to walkers, runners, rollerbladers, and cyclists only. We assessed existing information about the Ciclovía as a public health strategy and proposed next steps for research and public health practice.

Methods: We conducted a systematic search of peer-reviewed and other literature, which was complemented by expert interviews and consultation.

Results: We reviewed 38 Ciclovías from 11 countries. Most programs (84.2%) take place in urban settings. The programs range from 18-64 events per year (54 + or - 24.6; 52 [mean + or - standard deviation; median]) with events lasting from 2-12 hours (6 + or - 2.4; 6). The length of the streets ranges from 1-121 km (14.6 + or - 22.1; 7), and the estimated number of participants per event ranges from 60-1,000,000 persons (61,203 + or - 186,668; 3810). Seventy-one percent of the programs include physical activity classes and in 89% of the Ciclovías, the streets are connected with parks.

Conclusions: Ciclovías have potential for positive public health outcomes, but evidence on their effectiveness is limited. The different stages of new and established programs offer a unique opportunity for transnational studies aimed at assessing their public health impact.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Environment Design
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity*
  • Public Facilities
  • Public Health Practice*
  • Quality of Life
  • Recreation*
  • Social Environment