It is no secret that Mallorca has long been known as a cyclist’s paradise. Whether you’re training professionally or simply enjoying a scenic day out, the island offers endless experiences for all levels of fitness and motive. Moreover, cycling has unfailingly been the most popular physical activity on the island. Certainly is now progressing as a favoured mode of transportation for residents in the city of Palma.
With over 14 million tourists a year, Mallorca increasingly thrives off tourism, accounting for over 80% of the island’s economy. As each new year welcomes more tourists than the last, Mallorca has flourished in economic status and social influence. However tourist numbers have posed a monumental threat to the environment. Summer 2016 recorded air pollution levels to be higher than recommended by the World Health Organization. In addition, more than 150,000 people were living in areas with exceeded pollution limits legally authorised in Spain.
City Cycling its good for the environment
A fundamental reason for this is the tropospheric ozone, often termed the ‘bad’ ozone. It is a result of air pollution commonly caused by vehicle emissions, airports, shipping, and power stations. This ultimately affects Mallorca’s climate, wildlife, vegetation, and wellbeing of citizens. With the number of tourists rising every year, demand for flights and rented vehicles continue to escalate. Consequently, it’s leading to accumulated road and air traffic, increased ozone pollution, and consequently a higher threat to the island.
A great way to cycle around Palma is with Bicipalma,
the public bicycle system for both residents and tourists
Cycling as the alternative
Therefore, this brings us back to the growing movement of city cycling as a sustainable alternative to driving. Joan Ferrer, from the Palma council mobility department says they have a project in motion to “little by little park the car and use more sustainable alternatives like the train, bus and even more walk or bike”. A great way to cycle around Palma is with Bicipalma, the public bicycle system for both residents and tourists.
This system is encouraged for everyday recreational use, with more than 290 bicycles, 385 parking spaces, and a network of bike lanes exceeding 81 km around the city. These lanes are separate from roads and thus offer an enjoyable amount of cycling through Palma’s parks and open spaces. By 2020, “we are planning to double the amount of bike lanes and envisage an increase from 2 to 5% in bike use. On the other hand, we forecast a decrease from 38.5 to 32% in car use.”
For more congested areas, cycle tracks have been located to avoid any collision with motor vehicles or pedestrians. Bicipalma is the perfect system for small cities such as Palma, with well-thought-out infrastructure allowing for easy connections between different areas of the city. Furthermore, registered Bicipalma users can now access the Mobipalma mobile application to receive alerts when 5 minutes remain from their bicycle session.
City Cycling in Europe
Many European cities have embraced cycling as their most popular mode of transport. Copenhagen and Amsterdam are ranked the two most bicycle-friendly cities in the world, where cyclists and drivers have accustomed to coexist on the same road to incite cyclists to circulate more freely. Mallorca attempts to initiate this motion within the narrower streets of Palma, in areas such as Santa Catalina. Accordingly, speed for motor vehicles will be reduced to 30 km per hour to increase safety and adaptability.
- Copenhagen is developing a “Bicycle Super Highway” network of 26 bikes paths
that will cover 300,000 km, connecting the city to the Greater Copenhage.
- Amsterdam covers 800,000 km of cycles paths,
and reckons more bikes than people in the city.
- Students in Seville are provided with bikes throughout their academic year,
and bus tickets can be used to borrow rental bikes for free.
- Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana, was recognized as the European green capital in 2016,
and is ranked the 5th bicycle-friendly city worldwide.
Inspired by ecological cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen,
the community in Mallorca can achieve a greener and brighter future
Palma lies on a promising path to becoming the next city cycling hub. Through enhanced infrastructure and strengthened safety, we can foresee a highly efficient and earth-friendly transportation network. Inspired by developed eco-cities around us, we as a community can achieve sustainable tourism, environmental preservation, and look forward to a greener and brighter future ahead for Mallorca!
What if I told you there was a way to simultaneously save money,
get in shape, and help the environment?!
Ways that cycling helps the enviroment
- Soundless. Tackles noise pollution, saving wild animals and reducing roadkill.
- Eco-friendly. Less rubber and metal is required to manufacture them, thus reducing deforestation and landscape devastation.
- Polution free. Cuts fuel emissions entirely, therefore doesn’t contribute to air pollution.
- Time. Reduces road traffic
- Healthy. It keeps you active.
- Economy. Don’t pay petrol or parking again.
Electric & vintage bikes from
Photos by Pernilla Danielsson