Biking in Barcelona – A thrill or a risk?

Barcelona is a city that has everything: the beach, the pulse, the people. Being able to easily get around this bustling city is another great quality the city possesses, with public transport rarely letting down its travelers. However, if you are a person who prefers traveling independently and without keeping the times of buses and metros, bicycling might just be the option for you.

Over the past few years, the streets of the Catalan city have filled up with more and more bicycles. Not only do these include tourists on bicycle tour guides, but also Barcelona’s local residents due to its great availability and accessibility. Although, with more bicycles on the streets, this also means an enhanced risk for accidents.

During 2016, Barcelona’s streets faced a total of 812 bicycle accidents, increasing the accidents from the past year by 20%. The European Parliament suggests implementing a road-safety-campaign in Barcelona for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists in order to reduce the accidents and raise peoples’ awareness. Barcelona’s mediator, Maria Assumpció Vila, has asked the town council of Barcelona to identify the city’s bicycles. This will require mandatory insurance for bicycle owners to decrease the number of accidents.

”Commitment from all parties to enhance the safety on the roads is required to regain the respect of the common areas in which we travel”, Vila states. She further points out that last year the city experienced 9,330 accidents (2,48% more than 2015) with multiple deaths. The deaths were 28 more than in 2015, of which 16 were pedestrians. The growing trend of increased bicycle accidents is proved simply by looking at facts: in 2011 there were 523 accidents, and in 2016, 812 of them.

One of the suggestions on how to improve the safety on the road is by moving the cycle paths to the road, and at the same time improving safety for bicycles against other vehicles. Another suggestion is to increase the amount of parking spots for bicycles, along with introducing the need to sign an insurance for bicycling and reintroducing plates for bicycles.

Barcelona truly is amazing in a lot of ways. However, if we talk about safety when bicycling, for sure we can say that this aspect should definitely be improved. With a growing phenomenon of more accidents, there is a need of taking action. As a result, politicians have come up with various suggestions to overcome the issue. Although, it will take some time before these ideas become reality.

Before Barcelona can become the perfect city to travel around safely in, there are some things we can do:

  • wear a helmet,
  • look twice when crossing the street,
  • simply be careful.

Together we can make a difference!

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