(20-4-2022). Reaching a quota of 10% of daily journeys in large Spanish cities by bicycle is the objective set by the members of the Network of Cities for Bicycles and the political establishments in a debate that takes place in the Senate.
The Network of Cities for Bicycles (RCxB) and the Senate have held today Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in the Senate, the conference “Bicycle, city and strategy” on the urban bicycle, with the aim of putting it at the center mobility policies of all public administrations and institutions and promote it, in a coordinated manner, as a regular means of travel in the different Spanish cities and metropolises.
Among the objectives of this conference are to increase the use of this means of transport, which continues to gain popularity year after year, and to reach 2030 with a modal share of 10%, on average, in the main metropolises and cities of Spain.
The session was opened by the President of the Senate, Ander Gil, the General Secretary of Transport and Mobility of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (Mitma), María José Rallo, and the president of the Network of Cities for Bicycles, Antoni Poveda . The RCxB is currently chaired and led by the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB), the administration that manages the mobility of the Barcelona metropolis and has become a benchmark for sustainable mobility in Spain and Europe.
As stated by the president of the Network of Cities for Bicycles, senator and vice-president for Mobility, Transport and Sustainability of the AMB, Antoni Poveda, “one of the main challenges that lies ahead now is to continue increasing the share of daily trips in bicycle in urban and metropolitan areas. It would be necessary to reach the year 2030 with an average modal share of the bicycle of 10%. In other words, in Spain one out of every 10 habitual journeys is made by bicycle”. Currently this figure is below 2% on average in the Spanish State.
For his part, the president of the Senate, Ander Gil, stressed that sustainable mobility is possible as long as it is transversal. “The impulse must come from the whole of society, from bicycle groups, from their institutions, and from the different levels of government”, said the president of the Upper House during his speech, later highlighting the “great work” that, in this sense, have carried out and continue to carry out the Network of Cities for Bicycles, ComBic, AMBE, the Spanish Bicycle Board, Adif, RENFE and the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, among others.
The general secretary of Transport and Mobility of the MITMA, María José Rallo, has explained that the bicycle is very present in the priorities of the Ministry. “Already on June 8, 2021, the Council of Ministers approved the State Strategy for Bicycles, which has important actions in the field of cycling mobility”, he said, to which he added that “in order to adapt to the challenges of our time, in the Ministry we have three public policy instruments in which the bicycle has acquired a leading role: the Strategy for Safe, Sustainable and Connected Mobility 2030; the future Sustainable Mobility Law and the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan”.
NOTORIOUS ECONOMIC ENDOWMENT
Rallo has also pointed out that the bicycle is very present in Mitma’s investments: “In the field of urban mobility, included in component 1 of the Recovery Plan, the line of promotion for the creation of ZBEs and the transformation of transport stands out urban and metropolitan. This program is endowed with some 2,900 million euros, with 1,500 million euros allocated to municipalities, in addition to 900 million euros to Autonomous Communities, another 400 million euros for the transformation of passenger and freight transport fleets of companies, and 105 million of euros to projects of humanization and traffic calming on crossings, including the construction of segregated bike lanes”, he commented during his speech.
To conclude, Rallo has highlighted the results of the recent provisional resolution of aid included in the program of aid to municipalities. “This is a call for 1,000 million euros in 2021 and it will be complemented by a second call for 500 million euros in the coming months. Of this call, 40% of the budget has been allocated to actions to develop active mobility, and 224 million will go to investments related to bicycles, an unprecedented amount”, he stated.
During the morning, at the table “Daily mobility: the bicycle in the city”, several representatives of the main cities of Spain also participated: Logroño, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Madrid, Elche, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Santander and Valladolid.
To achieve this challenge, infrastructures are a key element. In this sense, Poveda also highlights the success of the large-capacity bicycle parking model of the Barcelona metropolis located in railway stations and has advanced the expansion horizon of this system, created by the AMB and integrated into the Bicibox metropolitan service. “From the AMB, we are in talks with Renfe and Adif to ensure that all the main Renfe stations in the Barcelona metropolis, also the large ones such as Sants Estació and La Sagrera, have this type of solution to park the bike safely. Also with the 2030 horizon”, explains Poveda.
Currently, with almost a hundred places each, Gavà and Badalona have been the two pioneering metropolitan municipalities in implementing this system, thanks to the AMB, which follows in the footsteps of other European countries and cities, such as the Netherlands or Stockholm.
Taking this reference into account, to promote intermodality between bike and train in the rest of the Spanish metropolises and cities, Poveda considers that “this large-capacity car park model that we have developed from the AMB in the Barcelona metropolis could be a replicable reference in the rest of the cities and metropolises of Spain, always taking into account the particularities of each place”.
The act has also had, throughout the day, the highest representatives of institutions, public administrations and the bicycle industry. Apart from Mitma, the European Cyclist Federation has participated and, before the midday break, representatives from seven cities in Spain (Logroño, La Laguna, Madrid, Seville, Elche, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Santander and Valladolid) have presented their models and good practices.
CYCLING MARKET ON THE RISE
It has also had the main representative of the bicycle industry in Spain, the Association of Brands and Bicycles of Spain (AMBE), and representatives of various brands.
For his part, the president of the AMBE, Javier López, presented in the afternoon the main data of the Report on the bicycle sector published annually by the AMBE and which has just been released.
According to the new annual report, the bicycle industry in Spain invoiced 10.76% more in 2021 than in 2020, reaching a record figure of 2,887.89 million euros. Among the data provided, the growth in the number of manufacturers (7.14%) and an increase in employment (almost 3%) also stand out.
Likewise, the points of sale, repair and rental have increased, reaching 3,028 establishments.
Finally, the president of the AMBE, Javier López, recalled that the production of bicycles in Spain increased by 75.1% in 2021 and exports were close to a 50% increase.