After much public debate in Málaga regarding the coexistence of bicycles and pedestrians, especially in traffic-free zones, a formal document has been prepared which will be included in the new PGOU (all hail and genuflect).
The Bicycle Master Plan (Plan Director de Bicicletas) lays down the rules and regulations for what is, and what is not, permissible, including changes to existing rules as well as the introduction of a few new ones.
The plan suggests the following:
- Bicycles can pass through pedestrian areas provided they do not exceed 10kph. The current limit is 5kph, gauged to be the average walking speed of a foot person. Pedestrians, however, will always have preference.
- Bicycles to have the right to move freely on public roads with no other vehicles, except for Emergency Services, to have precedence.
- Bicycles would be allowed to be wheeled, not ridden, on pavements, something which is not currently allowed.
- Bicycles to be allowed to freely use the bus lanes.
- Where specifically authorised cycle lanes or routes are in place, these must be used by the cyclist. In this instance, cyclists would take preference over pedestrians.
- Parking of bicycles would be first and foremost (mandatory) in specified, and specially constructed, spaces, provided such spaces are within a reasonable distance of where the cyclist wanted to reach. Otherwise, parking would be allowed on the pavement providing such action does not hinder pedestrian movement. Car drivers would be fined if they park in an area reserved for bicycles.
- It is proposed that in the construction of any new residential building of more than two floors, covered and secure bicycle parking must be provided. In the case of educational facilities, the report suggests that the number of reserved bicycle parking spaces should correspond to 20% of the total number of students attending that institution.
- On the subject of crash helmets for cyclists, this may surprise a few people. The Bicycle Mater Plan proposes that the wearing of crash helmets be a voluntary and personal choice of the individual. The reasons behind this proposal are apparently twofold. Firstly that the benefits of wearing a helmet have not been sufficiently proven, and secondly, they don’t want to put people off taking up cycling.
All this is, of course, just a ‘plan’ or a set of ‘proposals’, and whether or not it actually comes to realisation, in full or in part, is anyone’s guess. In any event, it is more than likely a few years down the line, and even a day is a long time in politics!