Cycling through Madrid: advantages and disadvantages

One of Madrid's big headaches is pollution, especially at specific times. To avoid it, measures are taken such as the punctual prohibition of accessing the center with certain vehicles. However, a good solution would be to go cycling in Madrid. But to what extent is it possible?

Cycling to work, university or running errands has many advantages. For example, you should not waste time looking for parking, and the much feared traffic jams in the capital disappear for cyclists.

Even so, there are some inconveniences for those who choose to go cycling in Madrid. That is why we wonder if the Spanish capital is a city suitable for cycling.

Problems cycling in Madrid

Bike lane in Madrid

The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) conducted a survey in which they asked people from different cities for an assessment of the conditions of the bicycle lanes, bike rental services, the ease of access to public transport or the speed of traffic, among other issues.

The results showed a bad score for Madrid. It stood at the tail, behind nine other cities such as Seville (the one with the best score), Palma de Mallorca or Malaga.

Especially bad was the assessment of citizens about kilometers and the quality of the roads enabled for the transit of cyclists. The plans of the City Council were to build more than 500 kilometers of cycle paths before 2016, but at that time (2017), there were barely 280.

Several kilometers have been built throughout 2018, and plans to expand the number of bike lanes will continue in 2019. However, for many groups it is still not enough.

Another of the big problems that citizens see is the aggressiveness of the traffic. At this point, the Spanish capital was also the worst valued. And this is probably the reason why so many cyclists refuse to ride a bike through Madrid.

Points in favor of bikes in Madrid

Bicycle station

But despite these bad results, The good perception that Madrid people have about public bicycle service is relevant, BikeMad. Since the City Council assumed its management, the service improved, which has been especially well valued by citizens.

Today BiciMad offers more than 1500 bicycles and it has 165 stations scattered throughout the city center, one every 300 meters. In addition, prices are very affordable. So this would be an important point in favor of using the bicycle in Madrid.

5 tips to travel around Madrid by bike

Cibeles Square - Prashanth Raghavan /

The municipality of Madrid offers on its website some tips for cycling around the city. As the website itself says, going on two wheels through the capital is not dangerous, as long as minimum standards are respected.

  1. Drive through the center of the lane: The reason for this advice is to make the cars not risk overtaking without the minimum distance or prevent a car from opening the door and taking the cyclist ahead.
  2. Driving straight and being predictable: recommend indicating the maneuvers with the arms to avoid that the drivers get confused with the movements or the changes of direction.
  3. Ride at an adequate speed: the cyclist must adapt to the speed of the street on which he is driving. If, for example, you are in a street with high pedestrian density, it is best to get off the bike and walk next door.
  4. Search the safest route: It is best to find the quietest itinerary. It increases, and much, the security when using bike lanes or less traveled streets, both by cars and by pedestrians.
  5. Keep the bike in good condition: Like a car, it is necessary to check the brakes, changes or wheels every so often to keep them ready at all times. This provides much more safety while driving.

Although there are negative aspects of cycling in Madrid, there are also advantages. Your pocket, your heart (let's not forget the physical exercise) and your city will thank you. Maybe not now, but without a doubt, Madrid will be a city for bikes.

Video: Transportation Instructions in Madrid Spain. What To Do In Madrid (November 2019).