After a recent bylaw change, police in Malaga city have begun fining those caught riding bicycles and electric scooters outside designated areas. A ten-day grace period following the law coming into force ended on 1 February and those who flout the rules by riding their vehicles in pedestrian areas will now be fined. The local council estimates that, within the first week, up to one hundred people fell foul of the new rules. The regulations have provoked much debate, with many criticising their impracticalities.
The fine issued to cyclists is 60 euros, while those caught using scooters improperly face a 200-euro penalty. The heftier punishment is because of the higher speeds these vehicles can reach. The two places where most offences have taken place are Calle Alcazabilla in the city centre and the Pablo Ruíz Picasso promenade.
At the seafront, as with in several other areas, what has proved controversial is that the 30km/h lanes in which cyclists and scooter riders can travel are considered dangerous by many, as car drivers too often do not adhere to the speed limit. In the city centre, scooter users have complained that they have no option but to cross through pedestrian areas, particularly as they are not permitted to travel through the Alcazaba tunnel.
The Socialist (PSOE) group on Malaga council, critical of the current regulations, has suggested making the 30km/h lanes exclusively for the use of bikes and electric scooters. Meanwhile, the regional government has committed to creating a specific bike lane on the Picasso promenade. Moreover, local police will use speed detectors to deter motorists from exceeding the limit in 30km/h lanes.
These changes, however, have not satisfied Ruedas Redondas, a group which promotes bicycle usage in the city. The organisation is fighting to change the law and to create more cycle-only paths. They will hold a protest ride against the current situation this Sunday, 14 February. This will take place starting from the port at 11am.
The group has also created a petition - currently with more than 6,400 signatures - but spokesperson Kay Farrell said they hoped "to get many more".