The bicycle, with more than 12 million units sold in Spain in the last 10 years and where at least 7 out of 10 homes have one, stands as a dynamic instrument to mitigate climate change and guarantee more sustainable, safe cities and healthy in electoral periods.
A few days before the regional and municipal elections in Spain, Laura Vergara, manager of ConBici -coordinator in defense of the bicycle and representative of users-, explained that the bicycle will have its own electoral space as it is "a tool for attracting of European funds".
It is also aligned with 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations and prioritizes the recovery of public space as the axis of public policies, has influenced Vergara, who highlights an "unprecedented" boom after the pandemic, with more than 700,000 new users, in addition to a progressive reduction of the gender gap.
We are facing a sector with "a lot of potential", in the process of professionalization, because the bicycle is an emerging element of urban mobility, but its emergence, as a standardized form of displacement in the country as a whole, requires a "considerable and lasting effort of alignment of public policies", pointed out Vergara.
Vergara has valued with "optimism" that, in general, all the parties have sustainable mobility as one of their challenges, at the same time that the city councils -of any political persuasion- are making strong investments in cycling and incorporating into their technical teams offices of the bicycle or governance systems.
On this point, he has highlighted the great efforts and investments in many cities in Spain in terms of infrastructure, such as Rivas (Madrid) and of course, without forgetting large cities such as Vitoria, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Valladolid or Donosti.
Likewise, he specified that the bike will also serve to reinforce measures such as low-emission zones, improve air quality and redistribute public space, so "I don't think there is any council, or any candidacy that can look to another side when talking about them", asserted the expert.
In his opinion, the municipalities need specialized technicians in active mobility, both pedestrian and cyclist to "develop and execute projects always in collaboration with local groups and with the experience of bicycle users."
To these measures should be added services that promote cyclability, such as a cycling infrastructure network, but also secure parking spaces for public bicycle services in those cities where there may be a high demand, without leaving behind training programs in educational centers .
The expert has emphasized that the use of the bicycle provides more advantages: a lower cost in its purchase and maintenance compared to automobiles, reduces noise pollution by replacing motorized displacements and mitigates climate change with greenhouse gas emissions ( GHG) much lower than motorized vehicles.
In terms of health, Vergara explained that the use of the bike is directly linked to what public health policies understand as "a healthier and smoke-free life", by contributing to a lower burden of diseases derived from a sedentary lifestyle and avoiding hundreds of premature deaths a year due to the physical activity associated with pedaling.
The effects would also be notable in the case of many diseases, by avoiding them or reducing their intensity, such as the case of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases as well as stress, depression and anxiety, among others.
The bicycle is, therefore, a sector with a great future in which there is still "a great margin for improvement in its use", he concluded.