Spanish anti-cycling law

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We normally restrict ourselves to what happens in the UK, but the Spanish government’s proposed anti-cycling law is significant for Europeans, and many of our readers are potential cycling visitors to Spain. So check up on what is proposed here and if you want to support the excellent Spanish cyclists of Conbici do write in as suggested to the Tourism Ministry. You can do this in English, but below we present you with our letter to the Traffic Directorate in Madrid with a Spanish version provided by the RDRF translation service.

Ms María Seguí Gómez, Director, Traffic Directorate, Madrid

Email: prensa@dgt.es   1 April 2013

Dear Ms Seguí Gómez

The Road Danger Reduction Forum would like to express concern regarding the proposed new traffic regulations and their impact on cyclists.

Cycling initiatives adopted in cities such as Bilbao, Seville and Barcelona provide sound examples of urban planning for cycling which deserve the attention of other European cities.  However, the new traffic proposals appear to be influenced by prejudice against cycling, despite its status as non-polluting and good for health.

We are particularly concerned about the introduction of obligatory helmet use, the intention to ban children from riding unaccompanied by an adult, and the instruction to ride as closely as possible to the pavement, as if the bike were an unwanted obstacle on the road.

Measures should be introduced to protect cyclists and reduce speed, rather than banning children from cycling.  This would improve safety for all road users, improve public health, and help to address the dominance of motor traffic in many of Spain’s cities.

There is clear evidence from Australia, New Zealand and the United States that forcing people to wear helmets by law reduces the numbers of people choosing to cycle.

Countries with high cycle use, such as the Netherlands, Germany and those in Scandinavia have addressed road danger issues not through anti-cycling legislation, but by facilitating it, protecting cyclists and reducing road speeds, eg 30kmph default in urban areas.

As well as making life difficult for Spanish cyclists, the DGT’s proposals risk negative impacts on cycling tourism from Germany, the UK, Holland and Scandinavia.  Many cycling organisations are already warning their members of these damaging proposals.

We urge you to reconsider these anti-cycling proposals, which are unparalleled in the European Union.

Kind regards

Dr Robert Davis

Chair, Road Danger Reduction Forum

Sra María Seguí Gómez, Directora General, Dirección General de Tráfico, Madrid

Email: prensa@dgt.es

Estimada Sra María Seguí Gómez

En nombre del Road Danger Reduction Forum (Inglaterra) debemos expresar nuestra preocupación por las nuevas medidas propuestas para la reforma del reglamento de circulación, que prepara la Dirección General de Tráfico, en lo que se refiere a los ciclistas.

Las iniciativas bici de ciudades como Bilbao, Sevilla y Barcelona son ejemplos de planificación urbana para otras ciudades europeas.  Pero las prepuestas nuevas de la Dirección General de Trafico parecen estar influenciadas por prejuicios contra el ciclismo un medio de transporte que no contamina y es recomendable para la salud.

Particularmente nos preocupa la introducción del uso obligatorio del casco, la penalización del uso de la bicicleta por parte de niños y las medidas relativas a circular lo más cerca posible de la acera, como si la bicicleta fuera un obstaculo.

En vez de ilegalizar el uso de la bici por parte de los menores de edad, deberían de introducirse medidas para incrementar la seguridad de este medio, que tendría como resultado una mejora en la salud de los ciudadanos y una reducción a los problemas de tráfico urbano que registran muchas ciudades españolas.

Existe evidencia clara de países como Australia, Nueva Zelanda u Estados Unidos, que las medidas para hacer el uso del casco obligatorio tienen como resultado un descenso en el uso de la bicicleta.

Países con un uso elevado de la bicicleta como Holanda, Alemania y Dinamarca no introducen este tipo de medidas, sino otras para facilitar y proteger el ciclismo, como por ejemplo el descenso de la velocidad para reducir el peligro de colisiones.

Además de actuar de obstáculo en el uso de la bici para los españoles, estas medidas tendrán un efecto negativo sobre el turismo procedente de Alemania, Inglaterra, Holanda y países escandinavos. Muchas organizaciones de ciclistas se están haciendo eco de las propuestas y empiezan a advertir de estas medidas.

Por todo ello le urgimos a reconsiderar estas medidas, que no encuentran paralelo en legislacion reciente de ningun país de la Union Europea.

Atentamente,

Dr Robert Davis

Presidente, Road Danger Reduction Forum

and – don’t forget to copy Conbici into any letters you write, at  copia@conbici.org

2 thoughts on “Spanish anti-cycling law

  1. John Rawlins

    On behalf of ConBici and all Spanish cyclists I would like to thank the Road Danger Reduction Forum for their support in opposing plans by the Spanish government to ban cycling without helmets. With your help we are winning the argument in the media, but government has not yet shown any indication that it will change its plans.

    Some 20 city councils (including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, and Bilbao) have publicly called for the proposals to be scrapped, so even if the government does ban cycling without helmets, it will probably be unable to enforce the law as the local councils control the city police forces. However, even this very pragmatic consideration leaves the government unmoved. If you wish to follow events, the CTC and the European Cycling Federation are covering the story as it unfolds on their websites.

    Reply

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