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2 septiembre, 2019

The video above is boring. Shot from a foldable bike in one of the busiest avenues in the city, nothing interesting happens. 

Like her, thousands of cyclists go to work, to school, shopping in a city where they have the same rights as car drivers: they can use the full lane, riding in the center and enjoying a wide space on either side. The other users of the street can see them, overtake them or position themselves behind them to turn right: same as the would do with any other vehicle.

That city is Madrid. 3 million inhabitants, around 6 millions live in its metropolitan area. Very intense traffic, with a reputation around the country for being a bit too aggressive.

In the inner ring (the area inside the M-30 highway, around 1 million inhabitants), 1.5% of the vehicle trips are made on a bike. That figure is growing, slowly but continuously.

Cycle traffic in Madrid

Ten-year trend in cycle traffic in inner Madrid. Data source: open data portal, city government of Madrid.

In Madrid Ciclista we make our own countings and get consistently higher numbers (more than 3% of traffic) that also show a growing tendency.

The number of accidents is very low, even when considering the number of bicycle users or the distance traveled, as shown by this comparison with other European cities:

Are we saying that the cycling situation in Madrid is perfect? Of course not! There are plenty of aspects that can be improved: infrastructure (there are far too few parking places for bikes), traffic regulations (traffic lights are timed for cars, so slower vehicles like buses or bicycles have to stop too many times), training (city police, bus and taxi drivers, children and even adults).

But please, do not believe that you are helping us by pushing us away from the streets and onto narrow lanes that will hide us from drivers at crossings, where we need most to be seen. Lanes full of curves and turns that any civil engineering code forbids to build for motor vehicles. 

Let us share the street. It belongs to us.