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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bikes and Anti-Bike Policies

Just when it seems that Valencia has taken some major strides forward in becoming a bike-friendly city it seems to want to take a couple of steps backward.  A new bike ordinance prohibits chaining bikes to lamp posts and “mobiliario urbano,”* whatever the fuck that means. I know what it means but it’s so vague that it could mean damn near anything. I had a cop tell me that I couldn’t chain my bike to a railing in front of the town hall in Burjassot. There isn’t a single bike rack in the square in front of the town hall so basically what they are saying is that you can’t ride a bike in Burjassot. Well, you can ride a bike there but you can’t stop. Just where the hell am I supposed to chain my bike would be my question to Valencia’s civic leaders (none of whom have ever ridden I bike I would presume).

Cops also seem to have a special hard-on for cyclists riding on the sidewalk. I have been told on several occasions that it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk.  I was nowhere near a pedestrian at these times. I realize that bikes on the sidewalk can sometimes present a problem but nothing on the scale of, let’s say, a car running a traffic light at over 80 kph, something that you see almost every time a light changes in this city. I wish that cops here were half as worried about motorcycles driving on the sidewalk as they are about bikes.

According to a snarky little pamphlet I found cyclists are required to have a bell on their bike. A bell? How about this, how about if I just use my God-given voice to get someone’s attention?  It’s not as if drivers here will respect a cyclist just because he has a twinky little bell.  I just think that if the city wants people to ride bikes they should be bending over backwards to accommodate them instead of writing silly new rules for two-wheelers. 

*Street Fixtures or Furniture

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