The bicycle, the fastest and most efficient means of transportation for traveling up to 5 kilometres
Madrid, September 15, 2016. PONS Seguridad Vial, a leading company in strategic public and private mobility consulting, has presented in Madrid along with the Coordinator in Defence of the Bike (ConBici) “Cities and Bikes: the role of municipal ordinances”, a publication that collects the economic, environmental and health benefits of bicycle use and proposes a series of key norms to municipalities for the promotion of this sustainable means of transportation. The event coincided with the European Mobility Week 2016, and also served to present the ConBici campaign “Train every day, anyone” with the aim of raising awareness about the ease of bicycle use to improve people’s quality of life.
Among the most relevant data extracted from the book what stands out is the fact that the bicycle is up to 25 times more efficient in financial terms than cars when it comes to transforming energy into movement and about 10 times more efficient than public transportation, depending on the values of efficiency of the explosion engines, the occupancy rates and the driving regime considered. In terms of the amount of space used for travel, it is noted that a bicycle is 7 times more efficient than a car taking into account a space of 3.5 meters per lane, since during an hour the potential for bike passengers reaches 14,000 travellers compared to 2,000 cars, which could present as a medium-term solution for many of the mobility and pollution problems in large cities.
Shara Martín Palma, manager of PONS Seguridad Vial, was in charge of welcoming the attendees and recalled the importance that cities invest in sustained coexistence between pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles, betting on intermodality, the adaptation of urban standards, investment in infrastructure, the regulatory adaptation of each type of vehicle and training and information.
In reference to the publication, the person responsible for publishing the book stressed that it aims to serve as a basic tool for our municipalities to take the example of cities such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam or Utrecht, which are a benchmark for all in promoting bicycles: “If we get a person to get out of his/her motor vehicle and get on a bicycle, we all win: less air pollution, less space occupied for benefit of pedestrians, less noise, less stress… In its latest study, the city of Copenhagen determined that a kilometre travelled during rush hour on a bicycle saves the city 0.21€. And that same kilometre travelled by car, costs 0.70€.”
In addition, Shara recalled the data from the latest Air Quality Report from 2015, which indicates that 98.5% of the Spanish population breathe contaminated air, according to the WHO recommended values. “Let’s not forget that the main source of air pollution in urban areas comes from road traffic, which causes more than 25,000 deaths per year in Spain,” she pointed out.
After the presentation, a moderated debate was held by Ramón Ledesma, a PONS Seguridad Vial advisor, together with the main people responsible for the book’s writing team and members of the Bike Safety Coordinator (ConBici): Juan Merallo, Award Winner of the Sustainable Mobility of the Community of Madrid 2014, Ignacio Uribelarrea, ConBici coordinator, Manuel Martín Fernández, technical manager of ConBici and Ricardo Marqués text coordinator, professor of the University of Seville and member of the ConBici secretariat. The debate was also attended by urban ecology and sustainable mobility specialist, Manuel Calvo Salazar, who joined the debate as an expert and book collaborator.
Ignacio Uribelarrea, states that with this publication “we intend to offer answers and practical solutions to the current urban and legislative situation, and to focus on the measures that affect bicycles, without this supposing that ConBici complies with these rules of play and that it refuses to propose other more global, avant-garde and ambitious approach a city model that is very different to the one that we now know to all the people, and not only to the users of the bicycle.”
For its part, the publication coordinator, Ricardo Marqués, said that bicycles “in addition to being ecological, chic, healthy and efficient, is important, and that is why it should be promoted.” Uribelarrea added about this, “the lack of cycling tradition of our cities and the resistance of much of the citizens and political class to leave the car is what makes it difficult to find the road to developing effective mobility policies in our country.”
On his part, Manuel Martin pointed out that this book “has the virtue that it is written by the users themselves, who often know their needs, thanks to their experience and they can detect when an infrastructure is well made or not. With this publication we claim that the users’ opinion is important, especially in terms of bicycles, because it is necessary to frequently modify, or see projects fail that had they previously asked the cyclists’ opinion, they would have avoided important recurring errors. There is still a lot of training missing in the sector,” concludes the ConBici technical manager.
The new publication, which is already available at the online store of PONS Seguridad Vial (www.ponseditorial.com) and on Amazon, is the second instalment of the “Responsible Mobility” Collection that was born in 2015 with the publication of a book dedicated to the Pontevedra phenomenon as an example of urban transformation. The goal of the collection is to collect and disseminate experiences, proposals, public policies and realities related to responsible mobility, focusing on the main protagonists of mobility.