Barcelona’s bike boom
Barcelona City Council is pushing ahead with its ambitious 2013/ 2018 Urban Mobility Plan. It is a large 5 year framework which focuses on smart, healthy and fair transportation in Barcelona. It is also, according to the City Council, very important for the quality of life of Barcelona’s residents. So what does the Urban Mobility Plan (UMP) mean exactly? That Barcelona is forgetting driving cars and instead, focusing on cycling.
The UMP, launched in 2013, was, among other things, the City Council’s response to complaints about Barcelona’s bicycle path network. It used to be, well, a little like Swiss cheese – lovely, but with lots of holes. So, one by one, and with an investment of over 30 million euros, gaps were bridged and new paths were added. The plan here is that by UMP’s completion in 2018, Barcelona will have tripled the added length of its bike paths – from 116km (72m) to 308km(91m)! It doesn’t all end there, because Barcelona now also has special traffic lights for cyclists and bike pictograms printed on pedestrian crossings. Smart alright. And safe. Check out the benefits of the new infrastructure on our City Tour.
Cycling as a movement towards a healthier lifestyle is gaining popularity everywhere in the world, and they know it in Barcelona. The City Council’s website promotes regular bike- riding as one of the healthiest exercises there is. A recent campaign entitled „Bike- the best idea in the world!” featured, among many others, a large bright poster of a giggling man with grey hair, cycling amongst palm trees.The caption read „Lowering my cholesterol in a sitting position.”
Cycling is caring. No, really. Bicycles moving around the streets of Barcelona take up to five times less space than cars would, the City Council proudly announce on their website. Bikes create no air pollution, no noise pollution and, when you think about it, they provide opportunities for much kinder interactions with pedestrians than cars do. Cycle as means of transportation, cycle as a tourist. Cycle and really become part of Barcelona.