While neighbouring Spain reduces its bicycle safety discussion to helmet use and increases the speed limit to 130km/h on motorways, Portugal is engaging with bicycles in a completely different manner.
With the new Road Code focusing on traffic calming, street environment, the promotion of bicycle use and the advantages of urban cycling and multimodality is gaining ground politically to the detriment of the car. Curiously the helmet issue was discussed in Parliament and no justifiable reasons were found by specialists or political decision makers to include it in the new Road Code, quite on the contrary.
Not surprisingly, the adventure of Luís – a 6 year old who crossed Lisbon on a bicycle last week (helmet free by the way) – was published on Lisbon’s public transportation blog Menos Um Carro (i.e. “one less car”). As bicycle modal share – while still lower than desired in many places – is increasing exponentially1, cyclist fatalities fell by almost 1/3 nationwide last year2.
The article is in Portuguese and there are some great pictures to enjoy. Obrigado, Luís.
1 – Rosa Felix. Gestão da Mobilidade em Bicicleta (Bicycle Mobility Management). 2012: In Lisbon, bicycle use for mobility purposes increased 100% from 2002 to 2012, and 5 fold from 2004/2005 to 2011.
2 – ANSR (National Road Safety Authority) in the bicycle publication Pedais http://pedais.pt/numero-de-ciclistas-mortos-em-acidentes-baixou-quase-um-terco-em-2012/
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