Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Coming Soon To Madrid....My Bici

Never a city to take the lead when it comes to promoting alternative forms of transport, it seems that Madrid has now finally decided to follow the example of several other Spanish cities and set up a public bicycle hire scheme for journeys within the city. Don't rush out too quickly, the project is just going out to tender and will not be up and running before 2011. The plan was originally announced on the "day without traffic" last year, an event which is now only marked in Madrid by the mayor getting out of his official car just to be photographed on a bicycle before getting back into the car again.

Madrid's bicycle scheme is to be called My Bici, yet another of these awful combinations of Spanish and English that seem to be so common; although those behind the idea claim that it is an abbreviated form of Madrid y Bici. It's said that it will cost an annual subscription of €25 plus a flat fee to be charged on a credit card for each journey. There's a lot of work to be done in advance if the start of the new scheme is not to be marked with mass summary executions of cyclists by Madrid's drivers.

Let's finish with something truly frightening. Inspired by the FBI's demonstration that anyone can mess around with Photoshop, El Mundo has decided to present us with a genuinely scary image of what Esperanza Aguirre and Alberto Ruiz Gallardón might look like in 10 years time.

I can't see Aguirre ordering many prints of that one. However, I'm more worried about what the rest of us will look like after 10 more years of the Espe and Alberto show.


santcugat said...

I guess they'll have to take away points for running over Bicis.

Graeme said...

Could be difficult to implement in a city where traditionally points have been awarded for such activities.

Katie said...

hard to believe that they're actually going to carry through with this as madrid must be the least cyclist-friendly city in the country. that's not to say that there aren't plenty of bici riders around already, it's just funny how unaccommodating the government and drivers are. there are more bicycle parking areas daily, but nowhere for us to ride.

Graeme said...

They've already made it clear that the scheme wil not be as ambitious as in other cities, but they intend to start it in the centre. Which means either cyclists at risk, or they have to take space either from pedestrians or motorists to create safe lanes. Given that some streets hardly have space for pedestrians anyway that doesn't leave a lot of scope.

Troy said...

Though I hate to admit it, the PP and Madrid aren't the only ones guilty of half-assing the promotion of bikes as a means of transport (love the lema "no solo es un deporte pero me TRANSporte.)

Out here in the little city of Caceres, the Junta of Extremadura and the Town Hall have decided to copy the plan that works rather well down in Seville.

The problem being that, as in Madrid, there is very little space on many preautomobile-era roads. The choice? Pedestrianize and make bike lane friendly or the city's brilliantly idiotic solution. On several streets they have simply painted a little cyclist on the side. Small comfort to the cyclist as a mad lorry driver grinds him into the pavement.

I'm afraid that until the majority of Spaniards get used to the idea of people sans-lycra riding bikes, its just another example of the greenwash that is being painted everywhere these days.

Graeme said...

It's really quite a simple system Troy. Each time a cyclist gets flattened they have to paint a cross through the old cyclist symbol and then put a new one.