Life on the bike lane: few women, 50% electric mobility and fear of theft

In 2022 they are fulfilled 15 years since the Bicing premierethe public bike that broke the ‘status quo‘ between everything that moves on the street. The minority cycling activism went to the thousands of anonymous people from Barcelona who unknowingly started a urban revolution that has been the seed of many of the things that have happened since, of many of the political decisions that have been taken since. Urban planning and mobility tend to sail in favor of the changing habits of citizenship. you know it well amsterdamwhich in the 1960s even demolished residential buildings to make room for huge avenues of cars, and then, starting in the 1980s, thanks to the social mobilization, the city changed its skin again. The Catalan capital wanders in this transit towards a new public roadthat is why it is important to know all the uses of the auca. cars and motorcycles They are more than identified, but it is necessary to shed some light regarding bikes and scooters. The Bicycle Club of Catalonia (Bacc) has gone out into the street to observe life in the cycle lanes, a very varied and distributed fauna that throws up several headlines: the gender gap also goes to pedals, the electric mobility stomps, the Assisted bicing needs more oomph and the fear of theft conditions everything.

It is not so much counting bikes and scooters as establishing a sociological profile of lane users. The Bacc chose nine locations and shot during the morning and evening rush hours. Writing down, subsequently, everything that could be the object of analysis, from the gender to the type of bike. That more and more people are betting on the sustainable mobility It is something that was already known thanks to the 260 meters installed in the corridors intended for cyclists and Bicing data, which has multiplied by three the number of kilometers tours in the last two years. During the pandemic, the bike and the scooter grew by 20% while the public transport sank and he private vehicle He was going through tough times. But here the thing is not so much about growth, but also about profiles, going into detail about the characteristics that, after all, are the ones that can mark future decisions.

far from parity

In the same way that there is more and more talk of feminist urban planning, mobility also seems to falter when it comes to the point of view of women. This is demonstrated by the fact that they only represent 35.6% of the total number of people sighted by the authors of this comprehensive report, Oier Martínez, Laura Chaves and Adrià Arenas. The smallest gender gap is between users of the folding bike and among Bicing subscribers. Instead, the most ‘masculinised’ vehicle is the city ​​bike and electric scooter. Curiously, in the morning there is a greater tendency towards parity than in the afternoon, with a difference of four percentage points.

That almost half of what moves along the bike lanes has a battery is already a sign in itself. 50.6% of the users sighted bet on the mechanical bicyclewhile 18.6% wear a electrical and 30.8% are assisted scooters. The percentage of personal mobility vehicles has remained stable in the last two years (bikes continue to rule with almost 70%), but it is striking that in just five years they are already one in three within the bike lane narrowness. That there are vehicles running at such different speeds is a first point of reflection for managers of public affairs. If the solution is that share space with buses in the road reserved for public transport, as in Creu Coberta and it will happen in Via Laietana or Pi i Margallthe Bacc already gave weeks ago its answer to the city council on this possibility: in no way.

More electrification

If only Bicing is observed, the demand for mechanical and assisted bicycles is quite on par, which would indicate the need to gradually increase the transition from one model to anothersomething that can be done with the same frame, to which you only have to add the battery and make some adjustments. In August 2021 it was announced that a thousand more would be electrified before the end of the year, and according to a spokesperson for BSM, the public company that manages the system, we are nearly 3,000 electrical and 4,000 mechanical. According to data from the concession company, the electric bike accounts for 36% of total trips.

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The type of bike also makes it clear that there is still a lot of fear of theft in this city. Bicing users, folding bicycles and the scooters, all the typologies with which you you avoid parking on the street, add up to 65.8% of the modal share observed by the Bacc report. Would Barcelona still be the city with the most Brompton in the world if leaving the bike on the street wasn’t so risky? The Bicibox, for example, present in much of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, still without screwing up in the Catalan capital. The bikebus, deployed in half of the 10 districts, is a good example of the lack of confidence that parking on the street inspires: if you can’t leave inside the school or in a closed place, the thing does not progress properly. In fact, as all the surveys, the fear of friends of others is usually one of the main barriers when it comes to switching to the bicycle. And considering that the middle floor of Barcelona It has an area of ​​about 70 square meters, it is not always easy to find a place for it at home.

In its conclusions section, the Bacc recommends stopping talking about personal mobility vehicles. “Let’s talk about electric scooters, since they represent 99% of the PMVs observed in the study.” There is another thing to solve it has to do with language: If someone who rides a bike is a cyclist, is the one who rides a scooter a skater?

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