Santiago: More than 100,000 bicycles are stolen annually in Chile`s capital Santiago, a problem that prompted three university students here to come up with an innovative, theft-proof model.
Andres Roi had had bikes stolen on several occasions and so when his class at Adolfo Ibañez University was assigned the task of enhancing a particular transportation device, he and two other students, Juan Jose Monsalve and Cristobal Cabello, decided to focus on the pedal-driven two-wheeler.
"We worked on a conventional bike frame so it could be taken apart and used as a lock," Jose Monsalve said in an interview with Efe news agency.
"If someone were to try to steal it, he would have to break the bicycle," rendering it useless and thus less attractive to thieves, who would be unable to sell it, Monsalve said.
Their bicycle has been well received on social-networking sites, where people in other countries have inquired about purchasing one.
"We want to try with different types of bikes, which is what they`re asking us online," Cabello said, adding that he expects the bicycle "will go on the market in less than two years" thanks to partnerships they have forged with small businesses.
The number of bicycle commuters in Santiago has doubled since 2006, according to the country`s transport ministry, with the amount of daily bike trips expected to surpass one million by 2015.
That surge in use has led the Chilean government to devise plans for segregated bike lanes and guarded bike parking spaces to give priority to this means of transportation.