Five thousand cyclists call for safer bike lanes in Malaga city

Cyclists on the protest ride on Sunday in Malaga city centre.
Cyclists on the protest ride on Sunday in Malaga city centre. / ÑITO SALAS
  • The protest ride, organised on Sunday by the Ruedas Redondas association, prompted the city hall to announce that it would study the creation of more lanes reserved for bikes where viable

Around 5,000 cyclists joined protest ride on Sunday in Malaga city to promote sustainable means of transport and call for a better network of segregated cycle lanes.

Dubbed a 'bicifestación' - a combination of 'bici' (bike) and 'manifestación' (demonstration) - the event was organised by the association Ruedas Redondas in response to the recently introduced city bylaw to ban cyclists from pedestrianised areas and pavements.

Sixty-four-year-old Carmen Robles was one participant in Sunday's rally who confessed that now she "felt scared" about cycling in the city, as she had to ride among the traffic where there are no cycle lanes.

"This will put a lot of people off cycling," she said, when asked about the new regulation.

The bylaw also affects riders of electric scooters. Regular user Juan Antonio Martín said that since he had to ride on the road he was scared because "our bodies are our only protection".

Safety and parking

The long line of cyclists was headed by José Luis Marín, president of Ruedas Redonadas, who explained the triple objective of the protest, which set off from the port at 11am: to achieve a safe network of segregated cycle lanes, an adequate network of bicycle parking racks and protection for children and the most vulnerable.

The manifesto read by the association criticised the city hall for forcing cyclists onto "urban motorways, among motor vehicles, with no network of cycle lanes that is flexible, safe and connected".

The association believes that the new 30km/h lanes where cyclists have priority are not the solution, as users are not professional sports cyclists but ordinary citizens with their limitations.

"We want to use our bikes for our everyday needs, because they are not aggressive, don't cause atmospheric or noise pollution and are healthy," said the association.

Council reaction

The protest, whose large turnout surprised even the Local Police, prompted an immediate reaction from the city hall.

On Sunday afternoon it announced that it had called a meeting of its special "bicycle committee" to study the creation of more lanes exclusively for cyclists

The council responsible for mobility, José del Río, said he had heard the message from the people of Malaga and that his team would take note and respond as quickly as possible "to provide spaces for use by bicycles and personal mobility vehicles where technically viable".