Watch the full video
Spain is far from being a cyclist’s paradise. Only 1.6% of Spaniards claim their main mode of transport is cycling. In the capital of Andalucia, where only about 0.5% of journeys were made by bicycle. Against all the odds Seville managed to turn the city into a haven for cycling enthusiasts. How did they do that?
It happened because no one believed it would
Activists started to speak publicly about the plan in 1992. They had a long wait until the 2003 elections to finally gain enough support of the local politicians. And then they got incredibly lucky.
In Spain, the more ambitious cycling oriented projects usually end up in the bin. Everyone thought this one would meet the same fate meaning no opposition formed against it.
When the workers started building the green bicycle lanes, it was too late for the protesters to block the plan. To the surprise of many, cyclists appeared on the lanes even before they were officially opened. Seville started a new chapter in its long history as a city.
One big step to change everything
“The success recipe was to quickly build the whole network,” says Ricardo Marques Sillero – Sevilla’s cycling activist. First year the city had built a huge seventy kilometre network of separated two-way bicycle lanes. What was the result?
In only four years the number of cyclists increased from almost zero to nine percent. That means 70 000 people were using the bicycle lanes every day. However building the network wasn’t the most challenging part of the process.
It took Seville almost two decades to finally become a bike friendly city, slowly but successfully changing the overall attitudes towards cycling.
Our premier of Bike Friendly Cities: Seville is coming next week so stay tuned to our Facebook page.