Mad-ride

Can’t get rid of the feeling that the last raise of subway single ticket price is only the start and that in the very near future it will actually be a lot more sensible to buy a bicycle instead of forking out for monthly metro passes? Here is a short guide on Madrid inner city traffic rules for guiri cyclists.

Bicycle, Malasaña | BROCCO LEE

You must

1. Put on some lights at night: most bikes you buy in Spain come without, so get a pair.
2. Use the carril-bici if there is one (and leave a comment here to tell us where you actually found one, because we are curious as well)

You may

3. Use the sidewalks if there is enough space, if you cycle slowly and traffic allows for it, but come on, you know how irritating that is for both the pedestrian and you, so use the street.
4. Choose part of the lane you want to use since no-one seems to agree on that one: the center (better visibility, no risk of parked car doors suddenly opening) according to cyclists, the right (better fluidity of traffic) according to DGT.
5. Take your bicycle with you on the subway during weekends all day and on weekdays between 10:00-12:30 and after 21:00. If you still want to.

You may not

6. Use the lane for buses and taxis. It is for buses and taxis.
7. Drink and ride your bike. Sorry.

You better

8. Avoid the big avenidas: too much traffic there, the speed is too high and you will be slowing everything down. That is not illegal, of course, but will produce a number of stuck up middle fingers. Besides, the streets on the side are a lot more beautiful anyway.
9. Wear a helmet: it is not an obligation, just a good idea.
10. Remember every minute that the typical Madrileño driver will rather die than look left or right to check for poor cyclists before taking a turn. So you will have to make sure to steer clear of possible collisions all by yourself. There is no such thing as anticipating too much.

Prefer to get some practice first? Every last Thursday of the month at 20:00 an ever growing group of
cyclists await you and your bicycle in Cibeles
to show Madrid that life on a bike is worth living.

4 comentarios en “Mad-ride

  1. Correcciones:
    You must
    2. Use the carril-bici if there is one (and leave a comment here to tell us where you actually found one, because we are curious as well).
    Que yo sepa no hay normativa que obligue a usar el carril bici.

    You may
    4. Choose [s]part[/s] of the lane you want to use since no-one seems to agree on that one: the center (better visibility, no risk of parked car doors suddenly opening) according to cyclists, the right (better fluidity of traffic) according to DGT.
    De acuerdo a la normativa de tráfico tienes que circular por el carril de la derecha, pero por el centro del mismo.

    Como recomendación añadiría, colócate delante o detrás de los coches, incluso parado, nunca en un lado. Los conductores podrían no verte y arrollarte en un giro.

    Podríais recordar los biciemjambres, los biciviernes y bicifindes además de la bicicrítica 😉

  2. About the bike lanes: there’s the plan with ‘quiet streets’ (including bike lanes) – http://www.enbicipormadrid.es/p/calles-tranquilas.html. So it’s better to recommend to plan in advance the streets and paths chosen.

    Azrael, there’s something I found about rules when riding the bike in Madrid: “En primer lugar los ciclistas no podrán utilizar las aceras y zonas peatonales, por lo que los ciclistas sólo podrán utilizar la calzada para desplazarse o aquellos tramos específicamente diseñados para ellos. En este caso, si nos encontramos en una acera-bici los peatones podrán cruzarlos por donde quieran transversalmente, mientras que en los carriles bici sería al contrario, teniendo que cruzar los peatones por aquellos pasos habilitados para ellos. Por otra parte, en las áreas de prioridad peatonal en el caso en que con la bici no podamos guardar una distancia mínima de un metro con los peatones deberemos bajarnos y continuar nuestro camino a pie”.

    So, don’t use the sidewalks… also, it’s more dangerous for the pedestrians, who are the weakest in the streets. Also, you can’t see if there’s anybody going out of a shop or a house, so it’s better to avoid sidewalks. And if using it anyway, behave like a pedestrian. As well as using the pavement, behave like a car/motorbike: respect the signals and so on, and occupy the centre of the lane, so everybody sees you and you don’t have to deal with doors opening and so on.

  3. good post! i second using the awesome “plano de calles tranquilas” referenced above–especially in conjunction with google maps, and, if you’re really serious about commuting by bike, give the bicifindes a try (http://www.enbicipormadrid.es/p/bicifindes.html). they’ll help you plan your route and go with you on a weekend to try it out–out of the good of their cyclist hearts (it’s totally free).

    and another recommendation: invest in a good lock (i.e. not a cable)!

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