THE streets of Malaga were taken over by pedal powered protestors yesterday in response to a new mobility law introduced to the provincial capital.
Almost 4,000 cyclists gathered on the Paseo Maritimo to protest against new measures introduced by the City Council of Malaga to take bikes and scooters away from pedestrian areas.
Dubbed the ‘Renewed Mobility Ordinance’ the new law has introduced fines to any cyclist or scooter rider found travelling on pavements or pedestrian areas.
To encourage cyclists away from the pavements, the council has introduced a ’30 Only’ lane on the popular coastal paseo, designed for bikes and electric scooters.
The initiative has been introduced to help prevent accidents and injuries of pedestrians caused by irresponsible riding.
However cycling groups and Malaga residents took to the streets in an act of defiance yesterday, claiming that the new rulings will far from improve safety, but put cyclists directly into the same area as high speed traffic.
The Round Wheels Association, the group that organised the protest, claim that it is unsafe to expect people who traverse the city by bike for work or leisure to share the road with cars that travel up to 80kph.
The group also denounce that the council’s proposed network of ‘safe’cycle lanes are currently incomplete and require entry onto pavements to properly navigate the city anyway.
“We seek to make riding the bike safe and we believe that the City Council’s proposal for 30 lanes, without being separated from the rest of the cars, is not,” said one protestor to Malaga Hoy.
Many cyclists that attended the rally explained that far from making cycling safer, they have now ditched two wheels as they don’t want to assume the risk of travelling on public highways.
“We are encouraged to be healthy and exercise. but the health of pedestrians have been placed before ours without proper infrastructure in place,” said another attendee.
Councillor for Mobility in Malaga, Jose del Rio, explained that the law, introduced last month, will undeniably take time to properly implement, and the local police have been instructed to use initiative before fining in the first weeks.