How Madrid Is Learning to Love the Bicycle
A bicycle on the street in Madrid. Jafsegal / Flickr
Spain already has a relatively high quality if life. Throwing a bit of Copenhagen-style cycling in the mix can only improve matters.
Excerpt from NPR
For the first time on record, bicycles have outsold cars in Spain.
Higher taxes on fuel and on new cars have prompted cash-strapped Spaniards to opt for two wheels instead of four. Last year, 780,000 bicycles were sold in the country — compared to 700,000 cars. That’s due to a 4 percent jump in bike sales, and a 30 percent drop in sales of new cars.
But unlike countries in northern Europe like the Netherlands or Belgium, Spain doesn’t have a long-standing bicycle tradition. Spaniards cheer on their countrymen in the Tour de France or Vuelta a España bike races on TV each summer. But that hasn’t trickled down to real people commuting to work on bikes. In fact, Spain has one of the highest fatality rates for road cyclists in Europe.