For 11-year-old Amalia, cycle lanes mean fun, freedom and safety
For 11-year-old Amalia Morse, Gibraltar’s first stretch of cycle lane has opened up a fun new world. Whereas in the past she would not have been allowed to cycle alone on the roads, now she can safely get from her home to her friend’s house near Eastern Beach, allowing her a degree of freedom she did not have before.
And it’s not just her. She meets up with many of her friends regularly for bike rides and loves to get home from school in the evening and pedal down to meet them.
“I like to go to my friend's house a lot, but she lives in Eastern Beach. It's not that far to walk, but it's fun to go round on my bike. I like doing that instead of walking because while walking is good, when you're on your bike, you feel different,” she said.
“You're faster. And it's much quicker. And it's way more fun.”
Now she has one clear message for those tasked with implementing Gibraltar’s sustainable transport plan: keep the lanes coming.
“I think they're really good, but I think they should definitely carry on building them, so there's more,” she said.
“Because, for now, it goes only to Eastern, then it stops.”
Reflecting on the past, she noted the stark contrast.
"It was not very good before,” she said.
“We couldn't even go on our bikes out safely at all."
She revealed her regular biking routine, typically going out once or twice a week. Sometimes she rides alone, while other times she joins friends, relishing the camaraderie and freedom cycling provides.
“We just like cycling around and it's also good because it’s another thing to do when you're with your friends. We can all just get together and we would just go up and down on our bikes and just talk,” she said.
In terms of future cycling lanes, she suggested extending them to places like Morrisons or the Mid Harbour area, identifying areas where social activities and friend gatherings often take place.
"I feel like a lot of stuff goes on there," she added.
Her parents, Faye and Phil, would not allow the 11-year-old out by herself before the cycle lane was built.
“The roads are not safe. But now with the cycle lane, we feel happy to let her go out by herself because there are no dangers from cars and other vehicles,” her mum said.
“It’s great she has that freedom and we don’t have the worry about her safety on the road.”